Kim Kardashian‘s support for ‘Making a Murderer’ convict Brendan Dassey will not affect his latest bid for clemency, the Wisconsin governor has reportedly said.
Dassey submitted a fresh appeal last week directly to the Democrat governor, who was elected at the start of this year.
The Keeping Up With The Kardashians star then begged Gov Tony Evers to read Dassey’s handwritten letter, in a tweet to her millions of followers.
After his latest appeal was not considered by the US Supreme Court, Dassey’s legal team launched a move outside the court system by going directly to the governor.
But the chances of getting a pardon from Gov Evers appear remote because he says pardons cannot be issued to inmates still serving their sentences.
Now aged 29, Dassey was convicted of the 2005 rape and murder of Teresa Halbach at the family auto salvage yard in Manitowoc County, Wisconsin, despite retracting his earlier confession.
He told detectives at the time that he joined his uncle, Steven Avery, in the killing, before burning the photographer’s body in a metal drum.
Brendan Dassey (right) has been in prison for the last 13 years after he confessed, then retracted his statement, admitting to the rape and murder of photographer Teresa Halbach in Manitowoc County in 2005. Kim Kardashian (seen left visiting the Armenian Genocide Memorial in Yerevan yesterday) tweeted her support for his appeal to the Wisconsin governor
Wisconsin Gov Tony Evers speaking with the media last month. His rules for pardons forbid anyone still serving their prison sentence from being considered for clemency and he is also not issuing any commutations
But even though he told his trial he ‘made up’ the confession after being coerced by two detectives, a jury still convicted the then 17-year-old and he was jailed for life, with the earliest possibility of parole in 2048.
Avery and Dassey’s bid to have their convictions overturned gained worldwide notoriety during the ‘Making a Murderer’ Netflix documentary, which began in 2015.
Earlier this month lawyers lodged an appeal for clemency with Gov Evers, accompanied by a two-page note handwritten by Dassey where he added, ‘I am innocent and want to go home’.
In the note Dassey congratulated Evers, who took office in January, on becoming governor and listed things he enjoys including Pokemon and hamburgers as well as drawing a pair of hearts with the word ‘hugs’ in one and ‘love’ in the other.
Two days later Kardashian’s tweeted her support for the appeal to her 62 million followers.
The 38-year-old tagged Gov Tony Evers in the tweet that read, ‘please… read this letter’, and was liked over 5,400 times.
On Monday Evers issued Wisconsin’s first pardons in nine years, invoking his constitutional power to grant clemency to four convicts – the first since re-starting the pardons board in June.
Steven Avery (left), 57, and his nephew Brendan Dassey (right), 29, were convicted of killing Halbach and were both given life sentences. Avery’s without parole, Dassey’s with parole to be consider in 2048
Halbach’s (pictured) body was burned in a bonfire. Dassey’s attorneys say he’s intellectually impaired and claim he was manipulated by police officers into accepting their story of how Halbach’s murder happened
But Evers’ rules for a pardon forbid anyone still serving their prison sentence from being considered and he is also not issuing any commutations.
His predecessor, Republican Scott Walker, never issued a single pardon during his eight years as governor.
The governor also reportedly said the reality TV star’s interest in the case will not affect the appeal.
A representative of the governor’s office told TMZ Evers is ‘aware’ of Kim Kardashian’s interest but added Dassey’s appeal will be given ‘the same thoughtful review and consideration as any other case’.
Kardashian has reportedly helped free as many as 17 inmates by secretly funding a criminal justice campaign.
She began by petitioning President Donald Trump over the release of Tennessee grandmother Alice Marie Johnson in June last year and joined attorney Brittany K Barnett to secretly fund the Buried Alive Project.
Some of her more well-publicized campaigns included calling for former sex slave Cyntoia Brown, who served 12 years in prison for killing a man who paid her for sex when she was just 16, to be released.
Avery (above) in November 2005, on his family’s cabin property in Wisconsin before he was arrested for Halbach’s murder. Prosecutors during his trail claimed the killing was committed at the family’s auto salvage yard
Dassey asked for a pardon ‘because I am innocent and want to go home’. The letter included two hearts – one with the word ‘hugs’ and one with ‘love’
The two-page handwritten note (above) included details about Dassey’s interests, including Pokemon, his favorite wrestler and also that he hoped to be a father one day
The Keeping Up With The Kardashians star also called for Jeffrey Stringer, who was locked up for more than two decades for a low-level drug case, to be freed.
In May she spent two hours at the notorious San Quentin prison with quadruple murderer Kevin Cooper, who is bidding to be freed claiming he was framed and has launched a bid to use DNA testing to prove his case.
The pardon request by Dassey’s lawyers argues he was the victim of a ‘uniquely and profoundly flawed legal process’ and is says seeking clemency from the governor is ‘one of the last remaining legal options’ available.
‘By his prison conduct and his gentle, patient insistence of his own innocence, Brendan has shown himself to be the rare person who is worthy of clemency,’ the application said.
Evers has no public rules for commuting a prison sentence, but his spokeswoman Melissa Baldauff said in June that he is not considering doing that ‘at this time’.
Commutations in Wisconsin are rare and no governor since Tommy Thompson, who left office in 2001, has issued a one.
Dassey will be eligible for parole in 2048. He is currently imprisoned at Columbia Correctional Institution (pictured) and has been jailed for the last 13 years
Dassey’s attorneys say he’s intellectually impaired and that he was manipulated by experienced police officers into accepting their story of how Halbach’s murder happened. They wanted his confession thrown out and a new trial.
Avery and Dassey are serving life sentences. The US Supreme Court last year, without comment, said they would not consider Dassey’s appeal of his conviction.
In August 2016, a federal magistrate judge ruled Dassey’s confession had been coerced, overturned his conviction and ordered him released.
But this was delayed during appeal by Manitowoc County and he remained in prison.
In June 2017, a divided panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit affirmed the magistrate’s order overturning Dassey’s conviction.
But later that year in n December, the full Seventh Circuit upheld Dassey’s conviction by a vote of four to three, with the majority finding that the police had properly obtained Dassey’s confession using recognized interrogation techniques.
Avery spent 18 years in prison for a different rape in 1995 before DNA testing exonerated him.
After his release, he filed a multimillion-dollar lawsuit over his conviction that could have bankrupted Manitowoc County.
But he was arrested in 2005 just days before the lawsuit was about to be lodged and later convicted of Halbach’s murder. Avery maintains he was framed.