Ryan Hillegas: Did You Kill Teresa Halbach?
Time zips by when your mind is on murder, doesn’t it? Seems like just yesterday that the molten, red-hot meteoroid Netflix series, Making a Murderer, impacted the small screen of our laptops and television sets and left quite an indelible impression. The initial hubbub has cooled down considerably from it’s peak, but most who follow the Brendan Dassey and Steven Avery case even casually suspect there’s plenty more in store, and tomorrow is set to be a watershed day as many in the news media and elsewhere expect Zellner to file her long-awaited brief.
While we, the humble supplicants tarry on the Delphic oracle from Downer’s Grove (by way of Midland, Texas), I thought I’d take a look back, and do a final examination of all the reasons I don’t think it was Steven Avery who killed Teresa Halbach. Of course, once Steven Avery is eliminated, one is left with who did kill her, and, as everyone knows, I have not changed my view about that from day one, so Ill also go over why I still think Ryan Hillegas is still the most likely culprit.
The crusher was not used. If Avery had been the killer, wouldn’t he have done that? Even a person with a low IQ would know that parking the vehicle on the edge of the salvage yard wouldn’t prevent detection for very long. If the killer was someone else besides Avery, he probably wouldn’t have known how to use the crusher, or, if he did, wouldn’t have known how to use the forklift to carry the vehicle off to some nondescript location. Additionally, the killer, if it wasn’t Avery, would have wanted the car found on Avery’s property.
The car was found on the Avery property in plain view. If Avery had been the killer, it doesn’t make sense to me that he would have left Teresa’s car on the property at all. Murderers generally take great pains to dispose of evidence and that often means moving it as far away as possible from anywhere that they are known to inhabit, and that would certainly include their home and property. Avery had plenty of access to vehicles, money and time. There is absolutely no reason for Teresa’s RAV4 to not have been found ten, twenty, a hundred miles away at the bottom of a ravine, or at the bottom of a body of water.
Not clear how Teresa would have ended up in Avery’s trailer. The van being photographed, and the place that Teresa parked her car were maybe a hundred feet or more from the front door of Steven Avery’s trailer. Below is the prosecutions own reconstruction that give you a better visual idea of the distances between various objects:
Next, look at this Auto Trader document that Avery must have taken from Teresa Halbach on October 31st, 2005:
The reason why this is interesting to me is that it looks like a piece of paper that someone walked in the door with and set down somewhere. Crucially, it doesn’t even look like it was put in Steven Avery’s pocket since it looks never to have been folded. Unless Teresa Halbach voluntarily entered Steven Avery’s trailer (and if she did, that fact would certainly undermine Ken Kratz’s claim that she was afraid of Steven Avery), it is extremely difficult to imagine how me might have forced her into the trailer while at the same time preserving the relatively pristine state this document was found in. Now, one might say he simply forced her in at gunpoint, thereby avoiding the struggle that might have taken place, but if that were so, why would he have let Teresa Halbach hand him anything? It’s possible that Avery might have obtained this document some other way besides getting it from Teresa on the day she went missing, and it’s also possible that Teresa had given it to Avery on an earlier occasion. But it would seem to me that most likely explanation is that Teresa gave it to Avery on the day she went there on the 31st of October. Oh, and by the way, was the Autotrader bill ever tested for Teresa Halbach’s fingerprints?
You never find Steven Avery’s fingerprints with his DNA — Ken Kratz mad a big deal about Steven Avery’s DNA being found on the hood latch of Teresa’s RAV4, but if it makes no sense that a fingerprint or even a partial fingerprint wouldn’t also have been found. I mean, you put your fingers right on a hood latch to open the hood of a car as everyone knows. And since that hood latch is protected by the hood and the grill of the car, any transfer of biological material could only be from the tips of ones fingers (point being is that the hood latch is not a surface that is likely to come into contact with DNA any other way than by someone using their fingers to open up the hood). I’m sure there are flukes that cannot be fully explained often enough with evidence is being examined, but when there is a repeating pattern, I believe there is cause for suspicion. For example, the key to the RAV4 that was found in Avery’s bedroom–as if the fact that the key was found at all wasn’t enough, once again, we have Avery’s DNA, but not his fingerprint. And Teresa’s DNA wasn’t found on the key at all. Lastly, you find plenty of Steven Avery’s DNA in Teresa Halbach’s RAV4, but strangely, no fingerprints!
He doesn’t act out of the ordinary — Steven fully cooperates with law enforcement. He lets them in his trailer. He answers questions without a lawyer even though he’s fully aware he doesn’t have to. He does not seem nervous or shifty. He has explanations, he doesn’t contradict himself, and his answers flow in a natural way. When attention sought him, he dealt with it, but he never sought attention. Steven Avery never offered to lead a search party! In my experience in studying and thinking about crime, it is impossible for the real killer to get each of these factors right.
The blood smear on the dash of Teresa’s RAV4 could not have been made by the cut on Avery’s hand. Below is a picture of the cut on Avery’s right middle finger:
Next is a photograph that shows an area of Teresa Halbach’s RAV4 where this wound was supposed to deposited blood:
Finally, a close up of the blood smear:
A few months back, I had a post up (no longer available now, alas) that went over these strange blood smears found in Teresa’s vehicle. I had the same pictures up for months, and I asked everyone who still believed in Steven Avery’s guilt to please explain. There wasn’t a single taker.
To be honest, there is a lot, lot more than all of this, and much of it I’ve tried to painstakingly document within the pages of this blog over the last eight months or so. I should also like to say that I am not completely convinced of Steven Avery’s guilt, but I am convinced well beyond a reasonable doubt which is already a pretty high standard.
If tomorrow Zellner fingers someone else besides Hillegas, I will very carefully consider what she has to say. If it is at odds with anything that I’ve supposed, namely that it was not Ryan Hillegas who killed Teresa, and I find her arguments compelling enough, I will be the first one, I promise, to offer Ryan a sincere apology. That said, I will say that he is responsible for bringing some of it upon himself by not offering an alibi, something that I find highly troubling to this day. At the end of the day, if it wasn’t Steven Avery who killed Teresa Halbach, someone should put forth the necessary effort to find out who it was.