Someone Asked Me Why I Went to Wisconsin
The one thing that separates Teresa Halbach’s murderer from almost every other murderer that I’ve ever known about is that not only is the real killer free, there are two other men who are serving life sentences for his deeds. Two.
Every day Steven Avery and Brendan Dassey wake up in their house of perpetual violence, chaos, and humiliation, they stare into the abyss. For, what is prison? What is the vast universe that we compress into this single world? By its utterance can we simultaneously imagine what it feels like to never see our children? To never be intimate with a lover? To never stroll along the beach or hike through the forest? To never wear our own clothing and to be obliged to remove the clothing we are given at a seconds notice to offer our privates for inspection? To never prepare food, or to grow it, or be in the company of animals? This is the life I lived for two years. I cannot imagine what it would be like for the rest of my life. It upsets me tremendously.
I am white-hot, incandescently angry that someone would not only murder an innocent, woman in the full bloom of youth, but that such a person would suffer no consequences, enjoy life as a normal American with all of the blandishments that this would imply, while two others are rotting away in prison for the rest of their lives.
There was a certain part of me which causes me to lash around in bed at night for hours, days on end, thinking about this. I thought of Ryan. I looked at his Facebook profile for hours. He seems to be enjoying his life. He goes fishing a lot. His main hobby seems to be kite boarding (popular here in Hood River Oregon, too). There are so many listed on his page as friends, but only a paltry few ever show up in his posts and pictures. While his peers have married and produced offspring, by all appearances he has done neither. Aside from, (as of this writing, his most recent and thus most visible post), a single picture of Teresa Halbach, there are no pictures of any other women on his page. In several posts, Ryan is feeding animals, as if he’s trying to convince himself and the world that he’s not such a bad guy after all. I don’t write about Ryan nearly any more, really, because I could be wrong, and it’s probably not right (although I do think he owes the world at least his alibi for the night in question), but he is a big part of the reason I initially went to Wisconsin.
And I think about Ken Kratz. He’s a big part of the reason I went back to Wisconsin. It’s not just that this is a creepy guy, which he certainly is. Below are just a few of the texts that he sent to a woman whose boyfriend he was given the responsibility to prosecute. Instead of doing is job, Kratz saw a sexual opportunity..
Sure, Kratz, you’re the prize, alright…
“I’m the atty. I have the $350,000 house. I have the 6-figure career. You may be the tall, young, hot nymph, but I am the prize.”
This is to a woman he barely knows, probably twenty years younger than Kratz. Apparently Kratz is willing to risk his marriage of umpteen years for this..
“I would not expect you to be the other woman,” he wrote. “I would want you to be so hot and treat me so well that you’d be THE woman! R U that good?”
Ah, low self-esteem. What a nice sentiment to express to a victim of domestic violence..
“Hey..Miss Communication, what’s the sticking point? Your low-self esteem and you fear you can’t play in my big sandbox?”
Are you really such an honest guy, Mr. Kratz?
“I know this is wrong. I am such an honest guy, and straight shooter…but I have to know more about you… Are you the kind of girl that likes secret contact with an older married elected DA…the riskier the better?”
All of this came out, and Kratz lost his job over it, but when he was initially confronted, in writing, by someone investigating the matter, this is how Kratz responded to officialdom:
First, other than providing a few compliments to this young lady, it does not appear to be sexual at all, nor does it suggest that course of conduct. No profanity or vulgarity is used. Quite the opposite…on several occasions I remind this young lady that if she does not want to communicate at all in a more personal way with me, all she needs to do is tell me. I even reiterate that I respect her desire to be not contacted further if that is her choice…it remains a series of respectful messages, with responses of a positive or neutral nature.
What I’m trying to say here is that we’re dealing with a man who thinks he can bullshit his way through anything. The least lapse in judgment might have been the sexts, and the greater one what he revealed about his character in the way he attempted to deny the obvious truth. Wouldn’t the normal person, when confronted with overwhelming evidence, simply admit guilt and apologize as humbly as possible, in a hope, however vain, that the predictable course of events might be steered in some other direction? What could possibly be gained by arguing the point?
So we are forced to imagine that the chosen strategy would only have been followed by someone who had a great deal of prior success in his ability to persuade others of his version of events by carefully choosing words to distort and misrepresent what actually happened.
If we look at these texts and respond only with disgust, I believe we are missing something incredibly important because what I think Ken Kratz really revealed in his sexts was a lot more than weak character. I believe that he also revealed his modus operandi as a prosecutor in both the prosecution of Steven Avery and Brendan Dassey.
Ken Kratz wasn’t sexually harassing a vulnerable woman! He was paying her a compliment! Never mind Kratz cheating on his wife! He is an honest man! Steven Avery opened the door in a towel not because he had just emerged from the swimming pool in his back yard, but because he was a lascivious lowlife intent on imposing an awkward, inappropriate, sexualized atmosphere to a young woman! Brendan Dassey wasn’t a harmless, quiet, withdrawn kid with a low IQ, he was an unpredictable, vicious predator, capable at a moment’s notice and with little encouragement from his elder in turpitude, of an incomprehensibly brutal rape and murder despite lacking any history of violent or aberrant behavior!
What I want you to consider is that the man who successfully prosecuted Steven and Brendan lived in his own reality distortion field, or at least invited others to inhabit one of his own creation. The same mind that sent those sexts to the vulnerable woman and then denied that they represented anything untoward is the same mind which actually did persuade a jury of something equally unlikely. There’s a connection there, a thread, if you will, running through the sexts and the prosecution of Steven and Brendan. They’re not just two, separate bad events.
If you want to truly understand why Steven and Brendan are serving out life sentences, you have to deeply peer for extended periods into more than one evil mind: the killer’s, and Ken Kratz’s. The killer may have removed all of his finger prints, but Ken Kratz’s fingerprints are all over this one.