Ugh! You have no idea how bummed I was to learn this was a two-parter. Now add that to a very skewed and “one-sided” look at the possible guilt of Steven Avery by Dr. Phil and his staff, and this show left me frustrated beyond belief. Because this miscarriage of justice is “captivating the Nation,” Dr. Phil apparently feels the need to jump in and give his opinions. To his credit, he does have a Ph.D in forensic psychiatry. He poses this question to his audience: Is Steven Avery a monster or the unluckiest man ever?
I will spare you the background on Steven Avery and Brendan Dassey and make the assumption that if you’re reading this, you already know all about it. Dr. Phil promises interviews from people who are speaking for the first time since the release of the documentary. We don’t hear anything incriminated either way, but a carrot is dangled for next Monday. There’s a suggestion that Retired Sheriff Kenneth Peterson makes some kind of surprising statement to Dr. Phil. I’m sure it’s nothing like, “Avery was set up from the get go” more like, “We just don’t like the guy.” But this is pure speculation on my part.
Bring on Nancy Grace! In the effort of full disclosure, I must tell you I do not care for this woman, but will try and keep my repulsion to myself. Nancy has nine reasons she believes Avery is guilty, but for some reason Dr. Phil only shows five. Here they are: Steven Avery 1) Burned a cat when young 2) Asked for Teresa Halbach to be sent out to take pic 3) Halbach’s phone, camera, and PDA found 20 ft from his front door 4) Avery spoke of building a “torcher chamber” to an inmate, and 5) Halbach’s bones were found in Avery’s fire pit were “intertwined” with steel from her tires.
With obvious disdain, Nancy refers to the writers/directors of “Making a Murderer” as two film school students who sold their movie to Netflix. Additionally, Nancy claims Dassey’s confession matches the evidence perfectly. Umm, which version is that, Nancy? There were so many improper interrogations I’m afraid you’ll have to be more specific. She also offers as evidence that Halbach told a friend Avery answered the door wearing only a towel. Remember the girl who won the Publisher’s Clearing House a few years back and answered the door in a towel? Is she a murderer, too? The lack of excessive blood and the lack of gashes in the bed from shackles are not mentioned by either Dr. Phil or Nancy.
Several times Nancy tries to take control of the show and Dr. Phil tries his best to reign her in, but falls short of matching her level of aggression passion. Dr. Phil’s list of the “Top Fifteen” pieces of evidence that were not mentioned in the documentary were placed on his massive screen. You be the judge – but I think he’s wrong on some.
- Avery greeted Halbach in a towel
- Avery requested Halbach by name to take pics
- Avery gave his sister’s info to the magazine
- Avery used *67 twice to block his ID when calling Halbach
- DNA evidence from sweat, not just blood, was found
- Avery’s sweat DNA found under Halbach’s vehicle hood
- Halbach’s phone, purse, camera found on Avery property
- Two people saw Avery put things in a barrel
- Halbach’s tooth was in Avery’s fire pit
- Bullet w/ Halbach’s DNA matched Avery’s rifle
- Leg irons were purchased before crime and matched Dassey description
- “Torture chamber” not mentioned in court to jurors
- Avery said the best way to get rid of body, burn it
- Dassey’s mom saw bleach on Avery’s jeans on night crime was committed
As for some of these, the documentarians have clarified that when trying to narrow the footage to ten hours they could not include everything. Any evidence the judge ruled against – like the torture chamber – was not included. Nancy blabbed on about what a large conspiracy this would have to be and practically everyone had to be in on it from the police department from two counties, the phone company, and several witnesses.
Dr. Phil explains a little thing called “high standards” that must be met in a criminal court of law. One is that a unanimous decision beyond a reasonable doubt must be reached by 12 people in order to lock someone in a cage. Nancy agrees. He then explains that law enforcement must avoid impropriety orthe appearance of impropriety. Dr. Phil asks Nancy if she believes this took place. She says, “I don’t know.” Dr. Phil says this case is all about reasonable doubt, but Nancy believes the science, however she won’t personally vouch for the integrity of every police officer or prosecutor. The lack of integrity of ex-DA, Ken Kratz is not mentioned.
Nancy yacks on again about the conspiracy theory being ridiculous because by now, someone would have cracked. There is no mention of the juror who reached out to the “student filmmakers” about how he felt bullied during the deliberations. Nancy then cries out that she doesn’t have a dog in the fight, which is not true because her reputation as a credible expert is on the line, and her dog is a rabid Pitbull. (So much for my veiled repulsion.)
Although Dr. Phil is on the fence if Avery committed this horrible murder, he seems to feel sorry for Brendan Dassey. Clips are shown of several interrogations where Dassey is questioed without his useless, good for nothing, public defender. His lawyers admitted to working with the prosecution to secure a conviction against Avery. Dr. Phil says he has a problem with how this was handled and tells Nancy that no matter what she has to say about “evidence” these weren’t fair trials.
Nancy questions if they were watching the same clips. Dassey was not mistreated by investigators and his lawyer and mom both knew he was being questioned – all three times. And this is when Nancy’s panties really get in a bunch. She thought she was coming on the Dr. Phil show to discuss Avery’s guilt and can’t believe Dr. Phil doesn’t agree with her. Dr. Phil argues that due to Dassey’s intellectual limitations he could have gotten him to confess to the Irish potato famine. The audience laughs and this is an insult to Nancy because she’s probably incapable of laughter. She gets choked up over being the only voice for Teresa Halbach, a woman who can’t speak from the grave, so Nancy is her self-appointed mouthpiece.
Finally Dr. Phil says goodbye to Nancy and moves on to Kenneth Peterson. He was the arresting officer of Steven Avery back in 1985 and the Sheriff of Manitowoc when Avery was arrested for the Halbach murder twenty years later. Peterson says he never felt bad for arresting Avery, has never apologized, and never will, even though the real rapist went on to attack other women. Peterson says if Avery gets out again he’ll rape and murder again. Apparently he has a crystal ball because it’s not based on anything in Avery’s criminal history. Peterson admits to saying it’s easier to kill someone than to frame them.
And that’s if folks. Part 2 is Monday and hopefully we will see more fair and balanced reporting because I didn’t see much of it today. But let’s face it, Dr. Phil’s show is filed under: Entertainment.