I Agree with Ken Kratz

Key on lanyard on top of Ken Kratz's book
  • The blood in Teresa Halbach’s 1999 Toyota RAV4 that was matched, via DNA analysis, to Steven Avery was a major piece of evidence that led to his conviction
  • The prosecution argued that the source of the blood found in the RAV4 came from a gash on Steven Avery’s right hand
  • By November 6th, 2005 it was definitively known that Steven Avery did, in fact, have a gash on his right middle finger.
  • The photographs of the interior of Teresa’s RAV4 that show would later proved to be Steven Avery’s blood around the ignition switch were taken on November 6th, 2005
  • The prosecution relied on Brendan Dassey’s testimony for their theory as to when and how the gash to Steven Avery’s right middle finger occurred.
  • Brendan, in his confession to Thomas Fassbender and Mark Wiegert, stated stated that Steven Avery sustained the cut to his right middle finger while he was using a knife to stab Teresa Halbach in the stomach
  • In a jailhouse interview with Milwaukee Magazine, Avery “skillfully explained away each piece of incriminating evidence. The blood in his bathroom came from a work accident, he claimed, when he loaded a flatbed truck with tin roofing and cut his finger. “Then every time I broke it open, it bled like a stuffed pig.”
  • Avery was “At the cabin in Crivitz helping to install a tin roof and butchering chickens on the day Halbach’s car was found,” according to what Kurt Chandler wrote in Milwaukee Magazine, May 1st, 2006
  • In the same Milwaukee Magazine article, Kurt Chandler writes, “Avery returned to Manitowoc County in a friend’s car three days later, a thick bandage conspicuously wrapped around his right hand.”

Timeline:

  • October 31st, 2005 (Monday)—Teresa Halbach was killed sometime after her visit to Avery Salvage.  The exact time of her visit is not known but it is believed to have occurred sometime after 2:30 p.m.
  • November 3, 2005 (Thursday) before 5:00 p.m.—Karen Halbach calls the Calumet County Sheriff’s office to report that her daughter, Teresa Halbach is missing.
  • November 5, 2005 (Saturday) at approximately 6:00 a.m.—The Avery family leave their home adjacent to the salvage yard in Manitowoc, Wisconsin to spend the weekend at their house in Crivitz, Wisconsin some ninety-five miles due north.
  • November 5, 2005 (Saturday) at approximately 10:00 a.m.—Pam Sturm, member of a search party organized to look for Teresa Halbach finds Teresa’s 1999 Toyota RAV4 on a far corner of Avery Salvage Yard.
  • November 6, 2005 (Sunday) Aaron Keller, a reporter from WBAY NBC26 affiliate out of Green Bay, Wisconsin interviews Steven Avery in a residence at the Avery family residence in Crivitz.  Available footage shows the camera zooming in on Steven Avery’s right hand at about the twelve minute mark showing evidence of injury to Steven Avery’s right middle finger.
  • November 9th, 2005 (Wednesday)—Steven Avery is arrested in immediately after he returns to Manitowoc
  • November 9th, 2005—A cut on Steven Avery’s right, middle finger is officially photographed and documented by members of law enforcement

Neither Steven Avery, nor his defense ever tried to pin any significance to the timing of the cut on his right, middle finger.  If Avery did indeed return to Manitowoc County with “a thick bandage conspicuously wrapped around his right hand” there is no evidence to suggest that the reason he appeared this way was to create the impression that the cut on his finger had happened later than it did.  Yet this is what the article by Kurt Chandler seems to be saying.  Of course, since the article appeared before the trial, it would have only been conjecture on Chandler’s part that Steven Avery’s defense was ever prepared to use this as an argument in the first place.

Is it possible that Steven Avery’s team overlooked the significance of the timing of the cut to Steven’s right middle finger, or was it a topic purposely avoided for fear that once raised, the prosecution would easily identify and capitalize on the obvious weaknesses of such a defense?  

What we know is that the explanation that Steven Avery’s defense team had for the blood in Teresa Halbach’s RAV4 had nothing to do with the gash on Steven Avery’s finger.  Instead, it is quite clear that they were all convinced that the blood came from a vial of blood taken from Steven Avery decades before and held in evidence for all those years since the time of his first contretemps with the law over his presumed involvement in the sexual assault of Penny Beerntsen.  Once tests came back to indicate that the blood hadn’t come from the vial, all that was left for the defense to do was question the validity of the test because by that point the defense was locked in and there was no turning back.

Let’s say that the real source of the Steven Avery’s blood in the RAV4 was not the blood in the vial that Jerry Buting was keen to draw attention to, but from Steven Avery’s cut finger.  Imagine how difficult any scenario following from that would be to explain to a jury.  What would it serve, once the original course had been decided upon, to introduce doubts by thinking of a radically different scenario any way?  The point, in any case, is that there were no doubts because the possibility of the blood coming from the vial seemed like such a strong possibility, and in its strength,as a practical matter, blotted out all others.

Because the cut on the finger was never considered as the source of blood in the RAV4, the timing of the cut was not carefully considered either, and that is quite tragic because the source of the blood in the RAV4 DID come from the cut on Steven Avery’s finger, and there is nothing in the world that matters more to this case, then, than the timing of this cut.

You see, the prosecution is also locked into its own explanation for the blood of Steven Avery’s found in the RAV4 because the examination of Steven AVery’s body on the 9th of November showed that the only cut on Steven Avery’s body was the cut on his right middle finger.  Moreover, the blood smear near the ignition switch could really only have come from the fingers of someone’s right hand as they were turning the key. This was the prosecution’s argument anyway.  But there is a fatal flaw in the prosecution’s theory if it is possible to prove that the cut on Steven Avery’s finger came after October 31st.  If this can be proven, the prosecution’s theory becomes considerably more difficult to believe.

Unlike the defense, the prosecution did not fail to overlook the weaknesses in their theory, and the support for this statement comes more in the form of those things which were not done as opposed to those which were.  For example, from all appearances, it looks like the prosecution made a painstaking effort to not create a record of inquiry regarding how Steven Avery himself explained the circumstances surrounding how he sustained the cut to his finger, and they also took pains to avoid trying to falsify his claims.  

Think about that for a moment.  The biggest piece of evidence that the prosecution has is the blood in the RAV4 that came from a cut on Steven Avery’s finger, and no one seems to care about how the cut got there?  I mean, all the prosecution has to do is catch him in a lie, and he’s totally finished!  Such a simple thing to do, yet it is not done!

The prosecution’s odd oversight when it comes to the cut on Avery’s finger is an undeniable fact.  And it is just as undeniable that the prosecution had a very, very strong motive to investigate Steven Avery’s claims that the cut was sustained while he was loading a truck with tin roofing materials.

And isn’t it even more odd that they had every opportunity to do so?  For example, Steven said the cut happened when he was loading Chuck Avery’s flatbed truck.  Well, that truck was actually impounded as evidence, and photographs of it were taken.  But no one ever reported not seeing anything which looked like blood.  There is no record that anyone ever asked Steven Avery if he bled on the truck anywhere.  Or what about the tin roofing itself?  Surely some of the blood from such a nasty gash would have ended up on the roofing material somewhere.  Yet, there is no evidence that anyone ever bothered to ask Steven Avery about whether he bled on any of this material either, and there is no record either anyone ever bothered to look for it there.

Additionally, witnesses were not asked about the cut to Steven Avery’s finger, and there should have been plenty of those.  In fact, we already know of one, and that would be the person who told Kurt Chandler that Steven Avery was wearing a bandage covering his right middle finger on the 9th when he returned from Crivitz.  Another witness would be the person who had been riding with Steven during that long journey.  Surely those around Steven would have asked him about the bandage.  Surely someone would have noticed the bleeding.  Surely Steven Avery told someone about what had happened.  If Chuck Avery owned the flatbed, perhaps he was right there when it all happened?  Were any of these people ever asked about the cut on Steven’s finger?  If so, where is there record of it?  Sometimes it’s not what’s there, but what isn’t there.

So is all lost?  Luckily, no.  As yet, (as it is my understanding), there are hours and hours and hours of phone calls between various members of law enforcement which have yet to be listened to.  If all of their communications were recorded, I have a suspicion that someone called the Avery’s on November 5th, and asked them some questions about bloody material found at the salvage yard.  I also have a strong suspicion that Steven Avery or someone in his family reported on that day that he cut his finger right before leaving for Crivitz that day.

But even if such communications do not exist, and even if they will never be forthcoming if they do, there is still the drops of blood found in Steven Avery’s Grand Am.  How did those drops get there?  Would the passenger in Steven Avery’s vehicle that Kurt Chandler reported (but didn’t mention by name) know?  Whatever the case, the blood in the Grand Am does go a long way in backing up Steven Avery’s story about how he cut his finger.

Last but not least there is the cut itself.  Remember that the prosecution got its theory from Brendan Dassey who said Steven Avery cut himself while stabbing Teresa Halbach (actually, he first said it was from coming into contact with broken glass, but we’ll just leave that be for now).  I actually tested this claim by grabbing a butter knife to see whether it would be possible to cut the outside surface of my right middle finger, just at the level of my first knuckle and going backward, diagonally about an inch in the event that my hand slipped on the blade.  Holding the butter knife in your right hand, try the same, quick, simple test yourself and see what results you get.

I agree with Kratz and the prosecution: the blood in the RAV4 did come from Steven Avery’s right middle finger, but it was put in Teresa Halbach’s 1999 Toyota RAV4 after Steven had left for Crivitz on November 5th, 2005.  By whom?  Who do you think I think it was?  Ken Kratz?  YES!

 

3 comments

  • “It looks like the prosecution made a painstaking effort to not create a record of inquiry regarding how Steven Avery himself explained the circumstances surrounding how he sustained the cut to his finger” – Digging too deep for persecution would have been like OJ trying on the glove. They had what they needed, and if the persecution pushed to prove the timing of the cut and other details, it could have strengthened their case, but also any uncovered details could have introduced serious doubt. So I would understand why they wouldn’t take the chance from logical perspective as they already had strong evidence, but of course I do agree with you it was for other reasons they didn’t investigate and I do think had it been investigated it would have turned the case upside down.

  • There is a topic posted on the Reddit TTM sub talking about the first tech at the WCL that entered the Rav4. The one that testified the drivers door was UNLOCKED when he got there. He was called in to photograph the Rav4 as that is his job. But he decided to do a presumptive blood tests inside the Rav4. This is never been explained. The gull wing photo near the ignition was taken by his AFTER he swabbed it he says.

    He didn’t take any photos BEFORE he tampered with evidence.. WHY would he do that? Was the planted blood stain so bad he had to alter the appearance? Is HE the one that planted Avery’s blood? Remember, someone dabbed some blood on the rear cargo door AFTER it was brought into the lab. Also, remember how RED the blood looked in those photos?

    I strongly suspect some nefarious bullshit happened at the Wisconsin Crime Lab.

    • I don’t think it was Groffe. I think it was Ken Kratz who did all this. I have reason to believe he was at the WCL in the early morning hours of 11/06/2005. On the Avery Salvage Yard sign out sheet, Kratz leaves on 11/05/2005 at the exact same time that the guys from DCI, Ertle and Zhang Guang leave. The guy who actually drove the truck to the WCL was a guy named Nick Mirsberger. I called him one day (he still works in the area) and asked him whether he remembered whether Ken Kratz showed up in Madison that early morning. He said he couldn’t talk about it.

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