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Vince Vitrano: Not For Broadcast


A Reasonable Explanation for the Split Verdict

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We did a story on how people in Steven Avery's home town of Mishicot were confused by the verdict in his murder trial.

My favorite line was from a guy at the restaurant who said there must have been some, "benefit of the doubt." I think he was searching for "reasonable doubt," but anyway.

The point was, people were confused. How can you say Steven Avery killed Teresa Halbach, but then not say he's responsible for the mutilation of a corpse charge?

Mick Trevy, our reporter who covered the trial from beginning to end did a great job of explaining the split verdict this morning on Live at Daybreak. It probably came down to the physical evidence. There was a bullet with Teresa Halbach's DNA. It was fired from Steven Avery's gun that was found in Steven Avery's trailer. That's overwhelming evidence that he committed the murder.

The State made the case that Teresa Halbach's remains were indeed recovered in the burn pit on the Avery property. Here's the problem... there wasn't the same level of physical evidence directly linking Avery to the burning. No one could say for sure that Steven Avery was the one who put the remains in the pit and burned them. The testimony from his nephew that placed him at the burn pit on the night of the fire, was later recanted.

A logical person says, "well if he didn't do it... who did?" That's not exactly the criminal burden of proof. It's the State's job to prove he did it, not Avery's job to prove he didn't.

So the jury says we're comfortable saying you killed her, but there's reasonable doubt with the other charge. I suspect jurors thought he did that too, but just didn't feel the State made the case. We may never know for sure, because so far jurors have said they do not want to share their thoughts with the media.

Stand by for appeals anyway.

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