Angenette Levy was one of the reporters that covered the trial of Steven Avery in the case of Teresa Halbach’s murder. In the wake of the Making A Murderer series going completely viral, and now that we’ve all christened ourselves honorary detectives, Angenette has spoken out about what it was like to be involved in it all from the very beginning.
In an interview on Marie Claire, the reporter tells the story from a fresh perspective.
The Netflix episodes documented the media frenzy that surrounded the case, and Levy – as well as the rest of the press room – was always quick to question the information being presented.
She revealed, ‘We had heard about the bullet in a prior court hearing the summer before – the prosecutor had discussed… the fact that there was Teresa Halbach’s DNA found on the bullet fragment – and once the trial started, you know, we had never heard there was an issue of contamination of control samples in the crime lab.
‘So I was really shocked to hear about that, that it was allowed into evidence after the typical protocol of the lab was that it should be ruled inconclusive.’
It could be argued that the media surrounding the case, particularly before the trial began, may have affected the public’s view of the case. Angenette recalls, ‘There was a lot of coverage. It seemed like you couldn’t turn on the television or read a newspaper without seeing something about the case.
‘In the very beginning, when they charged Steven Avery, I think everyone was like, Whoa, this is crazy. This seems insane that somebody who was going to potentially be awarded millions of dollars would murder someone. Why would that happen?’
So it sounds like there was a lot of scepticism after the arrest, which may have brewed support or sympathy for Avery. But Levy says there was moment where this suddenly flipped around, ‘I think what changed was when Brendan Dassey was arrested. The press conference that the prosecutor held, that changed everything. We were all sitting there absolutely stunned.
‘You can imagine what it was like sitting in a room listening to this story that he told, a horror story, it was really shocking. That really changed everything in the case. A lot of people in the general public then thought he was guilty.’
One thing that viewers seemed to struggle to watch was the treatment of Brendan Dassey, who is portrayed in the documentary as having severe learning disabilities. When asked if Lavy feels that this was reported accurately at the time, she says, ‘We did report at the time that Brendan had a learning disability. I interviewed his mother the night he was arrested. She had told me Brendan had a learning disability, saying things like, “He just does what he’s told.”
‘I know we reported it in the media, I just don’t know how much weight people gave to that. I always felt very, very sad about Brendan Dassey’s fate. It wasn’t fair. He didn’t have the money, and neither did his mother to get a really high-powered defense attorney like Steven Avery had. And I think you see that inequity in the documentary. I’ve never heard of a defense investigator coercing a client like that. You see how disturbing it was, what happened to him through this process.’
And so it continues…