What Making a Murderer lawyer Kathleen Zellner's "big announcement" actually means

Laura Jane Turner
Photo credit: Netflix

From Digital Spy

It's been almost a year since Making a Murderer's second season dropped on Netflix, but crusading lawyer Kathleen Zellner hasn't stopped in her efforts to win Steven Avery his appeal.

Avery, the subject of the true-crime documentary, is currently serving life in prison following his 2007 conviction for the murder of Teresa Halbach. Part one of the docu-series followed his original trial, and part two introduced his post-conviction lawyer and documented the appeals process. Avery has always maintained his innocence.

Most recently, case updates have been coming in dribs and drabs. The last big legal move came in August, when it was revealed that a judge had ruled against Steven Avery's previous motion.

Photo credit: Netflix

Related: An important Making a Murderer detail is revisited in a new documentary

Kathleen Zellner wasn't perturbed by the decision though, saying she was "thrilled" to be returning to the appellate court where the appeal process would continue.

Since then there's been no legal update but those following the Making a Murderer case were excited to see Zellner recently tweeting about an impending reveal.

At the weekend (September 7) she wrote that a "big announcement" was due relating to the "Steven Avery case", also telling her followers to "stay tuned."

Naturally, the replies were filled with fans speculating over what the news might be.

Photo credit: Netflix

Related: Making a Murderer's Dean Strang and Jerry Buting respond to one big question raised in the series

Some were expecting a big legal development, particularly as it seems Zellner has been pushing for a new trial for her client. In one of her previous motions, filed in March, she asked the circuit court to reverse Avery's conviction and sentence as well as requesting a new trial. The basis for this centred upon Zellner's recent theory, generated in light of previously undisclosed information being discovered by the defence in 2019, which could offer Avery's defence attorneys the opportunity to refute the state's narrative of what happened to Halbach.

It's worth noting that any legal decisions would have presumably been available via court documentation, so this was always unlikely to be part of Zellner's big Twitter announcement.

A few days later (September 9), Zellner shared the details by posting a press release.

"We are pleased to announce that a reward of $100,000 is being offered, by a concerned citizen, for the arrest and conviction of the real killer of Teresa Halbach," it read, alongside a telephone number.

Where has this donation come from?

Photo credit: Netflix

Kathleen Zellner has wanted to make it very clear that the monetary reward is not being funded by the law firm, but has instead been put forward by a "private individual".

With the widespread interest that the Netflix hit has brought to the case, it really could be anybody. The person has remained anonymous.

How does this impact Steven Avery's case?

Photo credit: Netflix

The driving force behind this move is undoubtedly to uncover new information regarding Teresa Halbach's murder. Kathleen Zellner often uses the hashtag #TruthWins, showing that first and foremost she is interested in finding out what actually happened.

"Numerous cases have been solved by reward offers," Zellner said.

What's more, the post-conviction attorney has been keen to underline that this new reward offer "has nothing to do with the merits of Avery's appeal", also confirming that there will be a filing on October 10.

Justice for Teresa Halbach

Photo credit: Netflix

Despite Avery's conviction, Zellner believes in his innocence and has brought in her own experts to re-test the evidence as part of her own investigation. Many of her findings were laid out in Making a Murderer's second season, and further developments have been shared since.

Zellner has previously made it clear, following her past experience representing serial killer Larry Eyler, that she now only wishes to represent those that she believes have been wrongfully convicted. She now has a growing number of exonerations to her name.

She has also previously argued that she believes "the Halbach family are victims of this grave miscarriage of justice" as well as her client. It makes absolute sense that she will be trying to provide some answers to the victim's family, while also trying to uncover information that will help Avery's appeal.

What could this mean for Making a Murderer season 3?

Photo credit: Netflix

The Netflix series has, so far, documented all of the major moments in the case. While plans for a third season haven't officially been announced, filmmakers Laura Ricciardi and Moira Demos have been open to the idea.

Of course, as it's an ongoing legal case, any talk of making new episodes would be secondary – particularly for the likes of Zellner, whose number-one priority is working her client's case.

Related: What could we expect from Making a Murderer season 3?

However, should any new groundbreaking information be discovered as a result of this reward announcement, we'd imagine that a third season might become even more likely.

Particularly if it happens to lead to a new trial.

Making a Murderer seasons one and two are available now on Netflix.

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