Netflix's Making a Murderer turned the world from normal people slightly obsessed with true crime to a social media army of civilian DNA experts who totally understand appellate jurisdiction way better than you. And that was just in the first weekend of binge-watching!
Sadly, true-crime docuseries aren't like scripted dramas that can pop out new episodes every few months, and it's been nearly three years since we first saw Steven Avery's saga on Netflix. While most fans probably remember the broad strokes of the case (that key was totally planted!), there are so many details and so much evidence that it's hard to keep track of it all.
To help you out before you start binging Making a Murderer Part 2, here's a complete list of facts and evidence you need to remember from Season 1.
1) The lawsuit. In 1985, Avery was convicted of assaulting a woman named Penny Beerntsen after she identified him as her attacker. DNA evidence later exonerated him, and he was released from prison after 18 years of incarceration. Upon his release, Avery filed a $36 million civil lawsuit against Manitowoc County, and an investigation was launched into his original arrest and trial. He ended up settling for $400,000.
2) The disappearance. On Nov. 3, 2005, 25-year-old photographer Teresa Halbach was reported missing. Investigators discovered the last person to see her alive was Steven Avery, when she visited his property to take pictures of one of his vehicles for Auto Trader Magazine. He was accused and found guilty of her murder, despite his claims of innocence.
3) The car. Halbach's car was found on Avery's property by members of a volunteer search party. The license plates were found in another car on the property, and Steven Avery's DNA was found in multiple places in it.
4) The key. Lieut. James Lenk and Sgt. Andrew Colborn were the ones to find Teresa Halbach's car key in Steven Avery's trailer on the sixth search of Avery's residence. They both volunteered to search his residence despite the fact that they were not allowed on Avery's property without supervision due to their involvement in his lawsuit against Manitowoc County. The key had none of Teresa's DNA on it, only Avery's. The officer who was supposed to be serving as the "watchdog" for their search was not instructed to supervise them.
5) The confession. Brendan Dassey, Steven Avery's 16-year-old nephew, confessed to helping his uncle murder Teresa Halbach after hours of interrogation. His confession was not included in Avery's trial because his story was inconsistent and key pieces of evidence were fed to him by interrogators, like the fact that Teresa Halbach's cause of death was a gunshot to the head. Dassey was also convicted of Halbach's murder, though his lawyers have repeatedly tried to get the verdict overturned, arguing that his confession was coerced.
6) The bones. Female teeth and bone fragments were found in a fire pit on Avery's property. Experts found evidence of skull fragments from a bullet wound. Similar bone fragments were found in a second location at the quarry almost a mile away, indicating that some bone fragments may have been moved. The defense used this as evidence that Teresa Halbach's body was burned in a secondary location and the remains were planted on Steven Avery's property.
7) The bullet. A bullet was found in Avery's garage with Teresa Halbach's DNA on it four months after he was arrested. Those DNA results were technically considered inconclusive because the analyst contaminated the sample with her own DNA. That same analyst had written a note describing a call she had with lead investigator Tom Fassbender (the same guy who allegedly coerced Dassey's confession) where she was instructed to "put her in his garage" with her findings. Lieut. Lenk was once again present when the bullet was found.
8) The voicemails. Teresa Halbach's family said her voicemail was full when she went missing, but experts say the amount of voicemails found on her phone would not use up enough capacity to fill it. Her brother claimed to listen to her voicemails but not delete any, and her ex-boyfriend and roommate also had access to her cell phone account via an internet login.
9) The dispatch call. Sgt. Andrew Colborn called in the plates of Teresa Halbach's missing RAV4 to a dispatch operator before it was found on Avery's property, even offering up the year and make of the vehicle on the recorded call. He gave no reason for why he called in the plates on the recording, and during questioning could not remember why or when he'd made the call.
10) The missing DNA. Except for the single bullet found in his garage, Teresa Halbach's DNA was not found anywhere on Avery's property. Avery's lawyers took great issue with this fact given the confession from Brendan Dassey that she was tied to his bed and sexually assaulted, her throat slit, and shot in the head all on Avery's property, which would have left an incredible amount of DNA behind.
11) The blood. The defense claimed that Avery's blood in Teresa Halbach's car was planted and they used a vial of Steven Avery's blood from his 1985 case file to support that theory. When Avery's lawyers looked into the condition of that sample, they found the red tape that sealed the box housing the still liquid blood had been cut and replaced with scotch tape and a small hole had been made in top of the tube's cap. They used this evidence to speculate that an officer had used a syringe to extract Avery's blood and plant it in the RAV4.
Making a Murderer returns for Part 2 Friday, Oct. 19 on Netflix.