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'Making a Murderer' subject's confession voluntary, accurate: Prosecutors

By Andrew V. Pestano

MANITOWOC, Wis., Dec. 23 (UPI) -- In a court brief, Manitowoc County prosecutors said the confession by Brendan Dassey, a subject in the Making a Murderer documentary, was "entirely voluntary" and accurate.

Prosecutors said Dassey provided graphic details related to the killing of photographer Teresa Halbach through open-ended questions, not leading questions. Though Dassey "had low-average-to-borderline IQ," he was in "mostly regular-track high school classes," prosecutors said in the brief filed in a federal appeals court on Wednesday.

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Dassey, who was sentenced to life in prison, said the confession was coaxed out of him by authorities taking advantage of his limited intellect and youth. Dassey said he received the details he provided on Halbach's rape and murder from a novel he read.

Dassey in early 2006, when he was 16, confessed to the rape and murder of Halbach, whose body was recovered in November 2005. The confession, which he would later recant, was recorded. In 2007, he was convicted on charges including first-degree intentional homicide, mutilation of a corpse and second-degree sexual assault.

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On Aug. 12, Judge William E. Duffin overturned Dassey's conviction, citing that his confession was "involuntary under the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments" because the investigators "repeated false promises" to the young and impressionable Dassey.

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Steven Avery, the main subject in Making a Murderer and Dassey's uncle, was sentenced to life in prison for his alleged role in the killing.

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The 10-episode Making a Murderer documentary brought attention Dassey and Avery -- leading to calls for the men's cases to be reopened. In November, a judge approved new testing of several pieces of evidence used to convict Avery.

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