MANITOWOC COUNTY, Wisconsin – “They did a real disservice to the law enforcement of Wisconsin. They should be ashamed of themselves.”
Manitowoc County Sheriff Robert Hermann is addressing lies, rumors and misconceptions about the case of Steven Avery following the release of Netflix hit “Making a Murderer,” a 10-part series that’s made his department target of threats and harassment. Hermann said the damage done to his department is global, and it “affects some members more than others.”
“[Filmmakers] could have put some type of a disclaimer on it saying that this is one side point of view, but they didn’t. They were there for the money.”
Hermann has been with the department since the 80s and witnessed the Avery and Dassey convictions. The Deputy-turned-Sheriff says viewers need to see the full case, complete with the evidence that convicted Avery of murder in 2007.
At the time of Avery’s arrest, he had a pending $36 million lawsuit against Manitowoc County because he’d spent 18 years in prison for a rape that DNA evidence later proved he did not commit. “Making a murderer” suggests Avery was framed for Teresa Halbach’s murder because of that pending lawsuit.
Harassment directed at the department comes in the form of “emails and phone calls, saying that we have a corrupt agency,” said Hermann. “You know, ‘rot in hell.’”
Hermann watched the series closely after he and colleagues were accused to framing Avery and Dassey.
After he watched, Hermann felt more like it was his department that had been framed—by the filmmakers.
Hermann believes evidence was intentionally left out to make Avery appear less guilty; specifically—a big turning point for the case that “played out in court” according to the Sheriff—Avery’s sweat DNA was used to convict him, but the series leads viewers to believe the DNA evidence was from blood that could have been planted by police.
“DNA—which wasn’t from blood—was found under the hood of Teresa Halbach’s vehicle. That matched Steven Avery,” he disputed.
“Everything from the DNA on the key– that was not blood evidence—to the bullet that was shot out of his gun,” he said, “And the DNA on the bullet matched Teresa Halbach. Their theory just doesn’t stand.”
“The series would have you believe police have a bad relationship with the Avery family,” said Hermann, adding that a few days ago a trespasser was on the Avery’s property. “And guess who they called? Manitowoc County Sheriff.”
Hermann believed Calumet County needed help with their investigation into Halbach’s murder, especially after her vehicle was found in Manitowoc County. “They were a smaller department,” he said. “If we could have known that it would be the defense going in– that they’re going to claim we planted evidence– it would’ve been much better for us to not have our people involved at all.”