Judge in Dassey hearing: 'Investigators made my skin crawl'

Posted at 4:36 PM, Sep 26, 2017
and last updated 2017-09-26 19:30:03-04

More federal judges heard arguments Tuesday on whether Brendan Dassey's murder confession was coerced by investigators.

The hearing took place in the 7th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in Chicago.

Dassey was sentenced to life in prison in 2007 for the murder of Teresa Halbach. He told investigators that he helped his uncle, Steven Avery rape and kill Halbach on Avery's property.

The case was made famous by the Netflix series 'Making a Murderer.'

Both the state and Dassey's attorney, Laura Nirider, had about 30 minutes to make their case on Tuesday, but the judges interrupted them often to ask questions about Dassey's IQ and how police handled that during the interrogation.

Tuesday's hearing comes after a federal judge overturned Dassey's conviction last year, ruling that investigators made false promises to Dassey and ultimately that made his confession involuntary.

Then a three judge panel with the 7th Circuit affirmed that decision in June, but the state then asked for the entire panel to hear the case.

The state argued on Tuesday that Dassey was told multiple times by investigators that he was free to leave at any time and anything he said could be used against him. The investigators also asked if he wanted his mother with him, and he said no.

The state also admitted that there was minor deception involved but Dassey provided information about the murder that only someone there would know.

"Everything was made up or fed to him," said Jerry Buting, Steven Avery's former attorney. He is not involved in Dassey's case but says he studied the interrogation videos closely.

"I was so offended by it before the rest of the world got to see what really went on," Buting said. "How as Judge Wood said today, when she saw that video, it made her skin crawl."

Wisconsin Attorney General Brad Schmiel also attended Tuesday's hearing and said they are focused on justice for Teresa Halbach and her family.

"I’ve seen the videos and what makes my skin crawl is knowing the things that happened to Teresa Halbach," he said. "Not that this young man is uncomfortable talking about reliving it, Teresa’s family relives this every day."

It could take weeks, even months before the court makes a decision. No matter how they rule, the state or Dassey's attorney could appeal the decision with the U.S. Supreme Court.