A filmmaker says he’s unsure if the confession of a Wisconsin inmate that he murdered Teresa Halbach will hold up.
“I probably lean toward ‘no,’ but I think it’s pretty important that it’s thoroughly investigated,” Shawn Rech, director of the upcoming docuseries “Convicting a Murderer,” told USA TODAY Tuesday.
Rech said the inmate told his film crew that he had killed Halbach, Newsweek reported Monday.
While Rech didn’t identify the inmate in the Newsweek article Monday or in USA TODAY interview Tuesday morning, he did confirm Tuesday afternoon that the inmate is Joseph W. Evans Jr.
Steven Avery, 57, and Brendan Dassey, 29, are serving life sentences for the 2005 murder of Halbach in Manitowoc County. They maintained their innocence in the Netflix documentary series “Making a Murderer.”
Avery’s attorney, Kathleen Zellner, tweeted Tuesday morning that she had received the confession Saturday and tweeted photos of the hand-written letter that included Evans’ name Tuesday afternoon. Zellner questioned the credibility of the confession.
After Zellner’s tweets, Rech told USA TODAY, “Inasmuch as attorney Zellner has released the inmate’s name, I will share it. Joseph W Evans, Jr.”
The Wisconsin Department of Justice issued a statement Tuesday afternoon to USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin: “The Wisconsin Department of Justice has received the new information related to the case. DOJ takes all credible reports seriously, but it’s important to note that this new information directly contradicts information previously provided by the same individual.”
Evans, of Marinette, was convicted in 2009 of first-degree intentional homicide in the shooting death of his wife. He was sentenced to life in prison.
As for whether he’s expecting Evans’ confession to hold up, Rech told USA TODAY, “On the ‘no’ side, he’s a proven liar; he himself has proven he’s a liar. He’s a convicted felon. On the ‘possibly’ side, he’s a convicted murderer in the state of Wisconsin. He was free at the time of Teresa’s murder. So I don’t know. I don’t know if it’ll hold up.”
Rech said production began on the series 20 months ago and the film crew has been in contact with Evans for 18 months. He said the inmate initially spoke to further incriminate Avery.
“We set up a prison call to challenge (the inmate) and try and debunk his statements, and rather than support his statements, he abandoned them and confessed,” Rech said.
“Convicting a Murderer” is a 10-part documentary series that’s expected to come out on a to-be-determined streaming platform next year.
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