Ken Kratz Weighs In (Updated)

So, the “Making a Murderer” prosecutor sends an email raising points and evidence he says the Netflix show ignored.  Interesting.

As we said, we assumed without deciding that the whole thing was a frame up job.  We’re open minded and not committed.  We have no dog in this particular fight.

But still, let’s take a look at the Kratz rebuttal:

1. Avery’s past incident with a cat was not “goofing around”.  He soaked his cat in gasoline or oil, and put it on a fire to watch it suffer.

Well, animal abuse of this nature is highly disturbing and, we agree, properly associated with homicidal tendencies.  Was this evidence introduced at Avery’s trial?  We don’t know.  What was the evidence that such an incident occurred?  We don’t know that either.

Accordingly, we give no weight to this “reason” one way or the other.

2.  Avery targeted Teresa.  On Oct 31 (8:12 am) he called AutoTrader magazine and asked them to send “that same girl who was here last time.”  On Oct 10, Teresa had been to the Avery property when Steve answered the door just wearing a towel.  She said she would not go back because she was scared of him (obviously).  Avery used a fake name and fake # (his sister’s) giving those to the AutoTrader receptionist, to trick Teresa into coming.

We’ll assume that these facts were established.  On that assumption, we think this is strong evidence in Mr. Kratz’s favor.

3. Teresa’s phone, camera and PDA were found 20 ft from Avery’s door, burned in his barrel.  Why did the documentary not tell the viewers the contents of her purse were in his burn barrel, just north of the front door of his trailer?

One problem that really must be addressed once the prospect of police-planted evidence is in play is that the word “found” cannot be used credibly unless and until the issue of planted evidence has been resolved favorably to the police.  We thus conclude two things from this “reason”:  a) it does not support Kratz’s position in the slightest; and b) it undermines confidence in Mr. Kratz’s reasoning ability and/or intellectual honesty.  Or just his basic honesty.

4.  While in prison, Avery told another inmate of his intent to build a “torture chamber” so he could rape, torture and kill young women when he was released.  He even drew a diagram.  Another  inmate was told by Avery that the way to get rid of a body is to “burn it”…heat destroys DNA.

This is jail house snitch information.  It is worthless, as proof of what it purports to prove; it is valuable in establishing that its propounder has no regard for the quality of evidence upon which he bases his conclusions.  Citing this as a “reason” counts heavily against Mr. Kratz’s contentions.

5. The victim’s bones in the firepit were “intertwined” with the steel belts, left over from the car tires Avery threw on the fire to burn, as described by Dassey.  That WAS where her bones were burned!  Suggesting that some human bones found elsewhere (never identified as Teresa’s) were from this murder was NEVER established.

This is strained conjecture, regardless of whether some “expert” offered this opinion.  Again, this undermines confidence in Mr. Kratz’s reasoning ability, honesty, etc.

6.  Also found in the fire pit was Teresa’s tooth (ID’d through dental records), a rivet from the “Daisy Fuentes” jeans she was wearing that day, and the tools used by Avery to chop up her bones during the fire.

See discussion of the use of the word “found”, above.

7.  Phone records show 3 calls from Avery to Teresa’s cell phone on Oct 31.  One at 2:24, and one at 2:35–both calls Avery uses the *67 feature so Teresa doesn’t know it him…both placed before she arrives.  Then one last call at 4:35 pm, without the *67 feature.  Avery first believes he can simply say she never showed up (his original defense), so tries to establish the alibi call after she’s already been there, hence the 4:35 call.  She will never answer of course, so he doesn’t need the *67 feature for that last call.

We’ll assume these facts were established.  This is extremely incriminating evidence and strongly favors Mr. Kratz’s position, as does #2, above.

8. Avery’s DNA (not blood) was on the victim’s hood latch (under her hood in her hidden SUV).  The SUV was at the crime lab since 11/5…how did his DNA get under the hood if Avery never touched her car?  Do the cops have a vial of Avery’s sweat to “plant” under the hood?

Leaving the word “found” out of the argument doesn’t change the nature of the contention.  Same objection as before.

9. Ballistics said the bullet found in the garage was fired by Avery’s rifle, which was in a police evidence locker since 11/6…if the cops planted the bullet, how did they get one fired from HIS gun?  This rifle, hanging over Aver’s bed, is the source of the bullet found in the garage, with Teresa’s DNA on it.  The bullet had to be fired BEFORE 11/5—did the cops borrow his gun, fire a bullet, recover the bullet before planting the SUV, then hang on to the bullet for 4 months in case they need to plant it 4 months later???

Using 3 question marks suggests poor reasoning and writing skills.  “Found” is the operative word once again.  “Police evidence locker”?  Please.  Same objection.

CONCLUSION

So, out of 9 reasons there are 2 that we think by themselves, and assuming these are undisputed and established facts, strongly suggest Avery’s guilt.  Beyond a reasonable doubt?  If we were on the jury we think it would be a close call, but from the outside we believe it’s a jury question.

If the defense has some explanation for this evidence – that is, “reasons” 2 and 7 – we’d like to hear it.

UpdateCan you believe this shit?

 

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12 Comments

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12 responses to “Ken Kratz Weighs In (Updated)

  1. GB

    There was plenty of evidence to convict Avery, the question is whetehr it was planted. The body was not just burned, the bones were smashed into small fragments. And it the remains were not all found in the same place. And the victims blood was found in her car. And no blood was found in the garage. And Avery’s blood found in the car was evidently planted there (look at the marks near the ignition). All this is inconsistent with the State’s case. Moreover Dassey’s “confession” was clearly nonsense, he should have been an alibi for Steven Avery.

    Anyway John Cameron yesterday did a great tadio interview on why it was Ed Edwards, and how he think he did it. See https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jj_amQ0JBww

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    • Hello, George.

      The point I was making with items 2 and 7 is that if they were proven the way such facts are normally proven – with phone company records – that is highly incriminating evidence that would require an explanation. Unusual phone activity with a woman occurring the same day as the woman appears to have been killed? Very damning.

      OTOH, there could be an explanation. Unfortunately, any explanation, in order to be credible, would have to implicate someone else, not only in framing Avery but in murdering the woman.

      Either you go there, or phone records would have to be shown to have been falsified.

      Kratz’s other points are really not worth anything.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Well, George, I listened to the video. Astounding. The Sam Shepard case. The Martha Moxley murder, too. Ugh.

      Too bad Edwards is dead.

      P.S. Jon Benet Ramsey. Of course.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Jessie

    I don’t know much about this case, but I gather that, yes, the animal abuse was introduced at the murder trial because one of the jurors referenced it as a reason for the guilty verdict.

    Honestly, this guy sounds guilty as hell to me, but, then, I don’t know anything about the case. What disturbs me more is how much the American public is swayed by media coverage. If the press says, “Hang him!” then that’s the way the public goes. If the press comes out with a slanted documentary suggesting innocence, then the public goes that way. All with equal certainty that they KNOW what happened, when of course, there’s no way we could know.

    The jury process in this case was pretty disturbing though too. One juror has come out and said that to avoid hanging, they “traded votes” on the charges. One would agree to go with guilty on one charge in exchange for a not guilty vote on another charge.

    And, of course, we’ve seen what happened with the Jodi Arias juries. The first one had jurors communicating with the victim’s family and almost certainly reading press coverage. The second jury was using crime scene photos to browbeat the lone holdout. Neither jury seemed to understand their instructions.

    Maybe this stuff is rare. Maybe it’s isn’t. But it seems like the jury process requires some oversight. Everyone I’ve known personally who served on a jury was impressed by how seriously the jurors took their duties and how fair and open-minded they were. I hope that’s the norm, but there seems reason to question whether it really is, particularly in cases that get a lot of regional or national press attention. This case was well-known regionally long before it was well-known nationally.

    The whole thing with Steve Avery reminds me a little of Jesse Friedman. Are you familiar with that case? It was a child sex abuse case in Long Island in the ’80s. The dad was busted for ordering child porn and, ultimately, the father and his youngest son were convicted of molesting children during a computer class taught in their home.

    The charges were as implausible as many of the “Satanic sex abuse” cases in the ’80s. They claimed, for example, that the boys in the class would play leapfrog naked and the father and son would jump over them, sodomizing them one after the other. Don’t even try to picture that, because you can’t help but giggle it’s so silly.

    Most of the alleged victims have since recanted and about 10 years ago a documentary came out, “Capturing the Friedmans,” which leaned heavily towards innocence. It was a powerful documentary, very well done. It’s available on YouTube. If you haven’t seen it, it’s well worth watching, even just to appreciate the filmmaker’s skill. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UaatTnsx9-s

    Jesse Friedman, who later claimed to have confessed because the judge said if he didn’t she would sentence him concurrently and he’d spend the rest of his life in prison, got the county to review his case, but the county insisted that their review only further convinced them of Jesse Friedman’s guilt.

    Jesse Friedman’s guilt is a lot more difficult for me to believe than Steve Avery’s guilt, even just on the face of it. Murders happen every day, but naked leapfrog is….well, that’s pretty imaginative. One of the charges against Jesse Friedman would have required that he spend every moment of every computer class molesting one of the boys, leaving little time for him to have molested all the others he was charged with.

    But, again, we don’t really know. All this armchair quarterbacking is just that. Even with cases like Amanda Knox where I have strong opinions, I couldn’t possibly really KNOW. That’s what makes those cases so interesting in the first place.

    Bandwagon-hopping because of “Capturing the Friedmans” or “Making a Murderer” or reading any of the dozens of books written on the Knox case just isn’t the same thing as knowing anything at all about the facts of the case.

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    • Hi Jessie.

      Agnosticism when you have insufficient information is all well and good. I don’t run too far with it, though, when the information seems to be there.

      I guess in one sense you can never really “know” something that happened in a given past moment that you did not observe. Evidence collected after the fact sometimes points very clearly to one thing, but often doesn’t.

      Maybe this is such a difficult thing that human beings just can’t do it very well. The very uncertainty you cite invites agendas, sometimes ego-driven or career driven or fear driven but always some kind of self interest that impairs objectivity and rationality.

      The safeguards we have erected to protect the latter and check the former are the basis for the “system”. They’re failing for lots of reasons, such as that no one believes anymore that if they commit perjury they’re going to hell. Which may be part and parcel of a larger point, that the system we use today was largely designed in a very different time with very different beliefs, practices and so on.

      I’ve heard of the Friedman case, I’ll look at that vid when I get a chance.

      Have you looked at the other comments? There’s a theory that a known serial killer named Edward Edwards was the Sam Shepard’s wife’s killer, the zodiac killer, the Martha Moxley killer, the Jon Benet Ramsey killer, that his modus operandi was to frame others for the killings, and that he died in 2011 at the age of 77. The Steven Avery case would fit this pattern.

      It’s an interesting theory, but I think there would have to be more proof that he was actually in all those places at the relevant time.

      Like

  3. Well, according to a timeline of Edwards’ life here, he did go to prison quite a bit, but not for murder until 2009. He had long periods where he was out and about, and basically traveled the country extensively probably supporting himself with robberies and thefts, although in the early 70’s he was touring the country promoting his book.

    Interestingly, he was from Ohio and would have been released from a stint in an Ohio reformatory in time to murder Sam Sheppard’s wife.

    He was out when Martha Moxley was murdered in 1975.

    He was out when Jon Benet Ramsey was murdered in 1996.

    He was out when Teresa Halbeck was murdered in Wisconsin in 2005.

    Ugh.

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  4. Jessie

    I meant we don’t really know based off of press reports and documentaries and books about these cases. Sure, if you’re a party to the case or if you’re as obsessed as I was with the Knox case and actually read the whole court file, then, yeah, you have a much better sense of where the facts are pointing. But most of us with most cases are reliant on media for information.

    In the Avery case, I haven’t even availed myself of very much of the press coverage. It just sounds like the public turned from “Hang him!” to “Free him!” on nothing more than Nancy Grace and “Making a Murderer.” And that’s not evidence. It seems unlikely either one is even fair representation of the evidence.

    There are probably a lot of reasons the system is broken, one of which is that people are so convinced they can tell when someone is lying. And yet in any controlled study, law enforcement and the general public are no better at detecting liars than if they simply flipped a coin.

    And, yes, I saw what was written above about the serial killer, but with no actual evidence he was even in those places, let alone that he committed those crimes, I don’t see much reason to pay any attention to it.

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    • One thing that intrigues me about it is that, as I think I’ve said to you before, murder is an extremely aberrant human behavior. Outside of war, or death cults like ISIS, only a very small number of people ever kill another human being. I think it would be fair to say that it’s unnatural behavior.

      So, from a confirmation bias perspective (!) the idea that a dizzying number of horrifying murders all across the country were committed by the same deranged (or perhaps demonic) man has a lot of appeal.

      i believe that Cameron guy has compiled significant evidence placing Edwards at all the relevant locations at the relevant times, but to verify that I’m going to have to buy his book. I actually might, but I want to reflect a bit to make sure I’m checking any tendencies to morbid curiosity.

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  5. Jessie

    I’d go with that impulse to check your curiosity. Maybe add a dash of cynical misanthropy. Because murder may be unnatural, but it’s common as hell. Especially if you include “crime of passion” murders and voluntary manslaughter.

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    • Well, Jessie, just looking at Chicago 2014 there were 460 gun homicides (not all murders, I think we can agree) in a city with a population of roughly 2.7 million – which probably isn’t really fair because outlying areas should be included – but in any case that translates to less than 2 100ths of 1% of the population.

      In other words, a gun homicide in the reputedly violent city of Chicago is about as common as encountering someone with an IQ of 175, which I would also characterize as quite an aberration.

      And I think the out and out murders among the 460 gun homicides in Chicago last year would fairly be characterized as less than half, probably considerably less.

      Then throw in that serial murder represents no more than 1% of all homicides according to the FBI.

      Given these statistical realities it becomes plausible to at least speculate that one man could be responsible for many and seemingly unconnected sensational murders.

      But I certainly agree that more must be demonstrated to reach any solid conclusions.

      Like

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