Brendan Dassey, one of the subjects of Netflix's popular true crime series Making a Murderer, just reached a huge setback in his fight for an appeal. The Supreme Court of the United States ruled Monday that it will not hear his case, meaning he will continue to serve out his life sentence for the rape and murder of a freelance photographer in 2005, NBC News reports.
Dassey's attorney Laura Nirider responded to the Supreme Court's decision, saying that she and the rest of Dassey's legal team will not give up their fight to get his conviction overturned. "We will continue to fight to free Brendan Dassey," she said in a statement, which also maintained Dassey's innocence. "We would like to extend sincere gratitude to the dozens of former prosecutors, national law enforcement trainers, leading psychological experts, innocence projects, juvenile justice organizations, and law professors who filed amicus briefs in this case and who, along with our legal team, will continue to fight for Brendan and the many other children who have been wrongfully convicted due to the use of coercive interrogation tactics."
Dassey and his uncle Steven Avery were convicted in 2007 for sexually assaulting and then killing Teresa Halbach, whose charred remains were found November 10, 2005 on Avery's property. Making a Murderer chronicled Dassey and Avery's trial and subsequent conviction, raising questions about Dassey's confession to being a co-conspirator since he was 16 years old at the time and considered mentally deficient. The docu-series sparked a massive outcry from supporters who demanded that President Obama pardon him. However, Dassey was convicted by the state so a presidential pardon was out of Obama's jurisdiction.
A Milwaukee federal judge overturned Dassey's conviction in 2016, ruling that Dassey's confession was involuntary due to his age and mental state, the lack of a trusted adult present, and leading questions asked by detectives. "Dassey's borderline to below average intellectual ability likely made him more susceptible to coercive pressures than a peer of higher intellect" and he did not have "the benefit of an adult present to look out for his interests," a court document read.
That ruling was narrowly overturned in 2017 by the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which ruled that Dassey's conviction was voluntary and thus, his conviction stands. "The state courts' finding that Dassey's confession was voluntary was not beyond fair debate, but we conclude it was reasonable," the ruling read.
Dassey, who is now 28, remains in prison and has served 12 years of his life sentence so far. Avery is also currently serving a life sentence without the possibility of parole.
Netflix is currently working on Season 2 of Making a Murderer which will follow Dassey and Avery's investigative and legal teams as they fight to have both their convictions overturned. A premiere date has not yet been announced.