Sign in / Join

‘Making A Murderer:’ Tom Fassbender, Ken Kratz Defend Guilty Verdicts On Nancy Grace Podcast

The debate over whether Making a Murderer subject Steven Avery will get a new trial continues, as the lead investigator, Wisconsin Special Agent Tom Fassbender, recently sat down with Nancy Grace to defend his detective work that helped send the now 54-year-old Avery away for life.

Appearing on the podcast, Crime Stories with Nancy Grace, Fassbener and former prosecutor Ken Kratz spent 48 minutes repeating their position that Avery and Brendan Dassey are rightfully sitting in respective prison cells for brutally killing Teresa Halbach in 2005.

Grace, a long-time believer in the State of Wisconsin’s case, chided the Netflix series, claiming the filmmakers “cobbled” hours of footage together to make it appear like Avery and Dassey were innocent. Grace featured Teresa Halbach as a missing person back in 2005 on her HLN show and voiced her opinion that Avery was the killer early on, based on evidence she maintains just kept getting stronger.

Grace began the Crime Stories segment by introducing Fassbender, who laid out his version of how Teresa Halbach was killed on October 31, 2005.

According to the investigator, Halbach had been inside Avery’s trailer before October 31, noting one occasion when Avery allegedly quipped to the photographer about joining a particular group of women.

“He pointed to pictures of females hanging on his wall and says, ‘Someday you are going to be on that wall,’ according to what Teresa told her co-workers at Auto Trader,“ Fassbender said.

Sitting down with Det Tom Fassbender to talk about Steven Avery and Brendan Dassey and #MakingAMurderer @CrimeWatchDaily

Fassbender said the day she was killed, Halbach arrived at Avery’s trailer between 2:30 p.m. and 2:45 p.m. He notes two phone calls Avery made to Halbach before her arrival, calls he blocked by dialing *67. Fassbender said he can’t explain Avery’s motivation for blocking the calls but said Avery had been planning to lure Halbach to the property.

“My theory is that he was so worked up in anticipation about her being there,” Fassbender tells Grace.

Avery continues to stand by his claim that he blocked the calls so Halbach wouldn’t feel the need to call him back.

“I dialed *67 so that if Ms. Halbach did not answer, she would not see my number and feel like she had to return my call. I called at 2:24 p.m. to see when she would get there, but she didn’t answer the call,” Avery wrote in a 2016 affidavit.

Avery said Halbach arrived at 2:31 p.m., took a picture of Barb Janda’s van, then left.

That’s not the way the day unfolded for Teresa Halbach, according to Fassbender. The last time anyone other than Avery and Dassey saw Teresa is when Bobby Dassey prepared for an afternoon of bow hunting, Fassbender said. And Bobby Dassey later testified to seeing Halbach walking toward Avery’s trailer.

“(Bobby Dassey) goes back in the house, gets his hunting stuff on and he leaves,” Fassbender explains. “When he leaves, Teresa’s car is there, but Teresa is not around and Steven Avery is not around. When he comes home later, the car is not there.”

Fassbender’s account follows Kratz’s second crime timeline. Kratz described the state’s first theory in a press conference detailing how Avery and Dassey raped and stabbed Halbach inside Avery’s bedroom. Allegations he brought to trial involved a slightly different order of events backed by evidence from the Wisconsin Crime Lab that showed Halbach had been shot and Dassey’s confession about the killing taking place in the garage.

Kratz maintains that before Halbach was brought into the garage, she had already been sexually assaulted and tortured by Avery and that Dassey was asked to participate.

“It was Brendan Dassey, in his own words, that said it was Steven Avery that said, ‘Why don’t you go ahead and have sex with her,’” Kratz said. “And the most troubling part is, he says, ‘Do it for me.’ Can you imagine an uncle saying that to a 16-year-old boy?”

Kratz and Fassbender also touched on Halbach’s Toyota RAV4 and why it appeared to be parked in plain sight near a car crusher. According to Fassbender, Avery crushed a few cars days before the murder and planned to include Teresa’s SUV in a “car sandwich” in order to further conceal it. But, there was too much commotion. Salvage yard customers, employees, and a police airplane in the sky all prevented Steven from completing the task. When Pam Sturm found the Toyota on November 5, it was too late.

“There’s a chance that if he would have crushed it, we probably would not have found the car,” Kratz said.

“And if we don’t find the car, we don’t get the search warrant. And if we don’t get the search warrant, he gets away with murder. So, that’s how close this case came to us not having it solved.”

WATCH: Ken Kratz from ‘Making a Murderer’ interviewed at CrimeCon

Fassbender became a central figure in Making a Murderer, not because of his work bringing in Steven Avery, but more for his interrogation of Brendan Dassey. He and Calumet County Sgt. Mark Wiegert have long been accused of coercing the confession from the 16-year-old. An appeals court agreed and last year vacated Dassey’s conviction. The Wisconsin Attorney General has challenged that ruling and is awaiting a decision from a higher court.

Fassbender says he will respect the decision of the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals even if it upholds the involuntary confession. He believes the teen willingly laid out his central role in the crime.

Fassbender and Kratz were featured speakers at the 2017 CrimeCon, held June 9-11 in Indianapolis. Two days before the event, Avery’s attorney Kathleen Zellner filed a 1,200-page motion, part of which accuses Kratz of prosecutorial misconduct, an allegation he denies.

[Featured Image by Kirk Wagner/AP Images]