Steven Avery’s ex-fiancee, Jodi Stachowski, is definitely not one of the growing number of people who believe that the convicted murderer — and subject of hit Netflix mini-series “Making A Murderer” — should be pardoned or, at the very least, be retried. But it is a different story she tells than the one shown in the mini-series, where she appears supportive of Avery. In a recanting, she made her sentiments known on HLN’s “Nancy Grace” this week and was quite adamant in her insistence that Avery was “not innocent.”
Jodi Stachowski told “Nancy Grace” producer Natasha Lance in a segment that aired January 13 on HLN that she believed that Steven Avery killed photographer Teresa Halbach in October 2005. She said she believed Avery could have committed the crime because “he threatened to kill me and my family and a friend of mine.” His history of alleged abusiveness toward her led her to believe that he was more than capable of murder.
According to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Steven Avery was convicted of murdering of 25-year-old Teresa Halbach in 2007 and being a felon in possession of a firearm. Police had found evidence of Halbach’s remains in a burn pit on property owned by Avery after a cousin of the then missing woman had found her (Halbach’s) SUV among the vehicles in the junkyard, which Avery maintained as a business.
GM Today reported a few weeks after Avery’s conviction that his nephew, then 17-year-old Brendan Dassey, was convicted in a separate trial of being party to first-degree intentional homicide, mutilation of a corpse and second-degree sexual assault. Avery had been found not guilty of a similar mutilation charge at his trial.
ABC News reported that an appeal failed to overturn the verdict in 2011. Both Steven Avery and Brendan Dassey were sentenced to mandatory terms of life in prison.
Jodi Stachowski, who was living with Avery at the time of the Halbach murder, said she harbored guilt for the young woman’s death for months following the murder, thinking that if she had been at the family junkyard where Avery lived and worked, the photographer wouldn’t have been killed. She told Lance that, after the release of Netflix’s “Making A Murderer,” she had to come forward to tell the truth, because the documentary was “all lies.”
Stachowski told “Nancy Grace” that she had been threatened by Avery and that her fear for what he would do to her had driven her cooperation with the documentary makers until she made a clean break, telling the filmmakers she wanted nothing to do with the documentary, didn’t even want to be part of it. She said Avery continued threatening her even from jail, writing letters that directed everything she did and said. He also allegedly called her from prison prior to an interview with the filmmakers, telling her if she didn’t make him look good, she’d would “pay.”
At one point Stachowski described Avery as “a monster.” She said he beat her “all the time” when she lived with him.
“Making A Murderer” has brought up issues of regarding the U. S. judicial system, including the possibility of a miscarriage of justice in the case against Avery (and his nephew, Brendan Dassey). The mini-series has become one of the most popular programs for the Netflix network. A couple of popular petitions to pardon Avery have been posted online.