After reading this post from a year and a half ago about the Golden State Killer, three sentences stood out to me:
Lack of public awareness. Lack of accurate information in the public eye. Lack of communication.
This is the exact problem that exists with the Steven Avery/Brendan Dassey case (aka the Making A Murderer Case). While Sacramento County and the State of California detectives thought they were HELPING in the investigation of the Golden State Killer by not releasing sensitive information, investigators and law enforcement in Manitowoc County and Wisconsin withheld or misrepresented facts in order to hide their own misconduct and corruption from the public.
Most people assume that law enforcement officers and elected officials are there to protect and serve the public; it would never occur to any of them that they could be lied to by the very people they have been taught to admire, respect and trust.
When the public heard prosecutor Ken Kratz’s gruesome allegations against Avery and Dassey in the disappearance of Teresa Halbach, they had no reason to disbelieve. Kratz’s warning “that if you are under the age of 15 that you discontinue watching this press conference…” made sure that anyone within hearing distance sat glued to their television and they were properly horrified by the disgusting accusations that followed.
Just as Kratz planned it.
Not to be outdone in the fabrication department, Calumet County Sheriff Jerry Pagel made a HUGE point to “[…] emphasize that the Manitowoc County Sheriffs Department’s role in this investigation was to … provide resources … for us when they were needed […] to conduct searches they provided that piece of equipment, and that’s their role and their only role in this investigation.”
In reality, Lt. James Lenk and Sgt. Andrew Colborn, both employed by the Manitowoc County Sheriff’s Department, were not only active participants in the investigation, but they found a very important piece of “evidence”, the valet key to Halbach’s Toyota RAV.
During Avery’s incarceration for the 1985 rape of Penny Beerntsen, Lenk & Colborn are alleged to have been aware of, and ignoring, evidence that Avery was innocent of the crime thereby causing Avery to remain in prison for eight years before being exonerated. Just three weeks before Teresa Halbach went missing, they were both deposed in connection with Avery’s $36 million lawsuit against Manitowoc County.
The majority of the public knew nothing about that, they “knew” only what they were told.
When the trial was over, with Avery & Dassey tucked safely away from the unsuspecting public, most of the unsuspecting public lost interest. Avery & Dassey had been found and judged guilty by a jury of their peers. There had been no indication of wrongdoing by anybody but Avery & Dassey.
So they believed.
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