Judge orders independent testing of evidence in Avery case

Steven Avery prison photo

MANITOWOC, Wis. (WBAY) – Court records show a judge on Wednesday ordered independent scientific testing in Steven Avery’s appeal.

Avery is appealing his conviction and lifetime sentence for the murder of Teresa Halbach in 2005.

In August, Avery’s new attorney Kathleen Zellner filed a motion asking to delay his appeal, saying she found a test that may determine the age of blood found at the crime scene.

She says she hopes to prove Avery’s blood from an earlier case was planted at the scene.

The Department of Justice provided Action 2 News with a copy of the order.

Evidence that will be tested are blood stains or flakes from Halbach’s driver’s seat, passenger seat, a rear passenger door, center console, the ignition area, hood latch, a car key and a CD case, and a sample of Avery’s blood taken in 1996.

Online court records show the judge submitted stipulations and orders for the testing, which includes radiocarbon testing and DNA source testing.

The evidence will be transported by a Calumet County sheriff’s lieutenant to the Wisconsin State Crime Lab in Madison, where samples will be divided in half by a forensic scientist from the crime lab and one chosen by the defense. The state has agreed the defense can have all of the blood flakes taken from the floor by the center console, if reducing them by half wouldn’t give them a sufficient sample to test.

The judge also stipulated:

  • The lab chosen by the defense will deliver results simultaneously to the state and the defense, including bench notes and photographs
  • The defense will pay for packaging, transporting and testing the samples
  • The remaining halves of the samples will be preserved by the Wisconsin State Crime Lab

The order was agreed to by two special prosecutors and two defense attorneys, including Zellner.

Zellner tweeted:

Avery’s former attorney, Jerome Buting, also celebrated the news on Twitter: