Documentaries Making A Murderer

“Making A Murderer” Theories

I’m doing a little self plagiarism with this one. I originally posted this on my personal blog/website about a year ago. I thought it was appropriate for A Murder Most Foul.

It’s been a little over a year since many of us binged Making A Murder on Netflix. Since then, it has become a phenomena. This documentary is important because not only does it show the scope of corruption in the United State’s justice system, but it also explores small town corruption and class which is something we need to talk about more. I’m not here to say all cops and small towns are bad, just that things like what happened in Making a Murderer probably happen all the time, but we don’t hear about it until this documentary took over our Netflix queues.

Don’t continue reading if you haven’t seen the series/don’t like spoilers. 

The thing that I found the most shocking about this series wasn’t the horrific crimes committed, but rather how the conspiracy against Steven Avery even happened in the first place. How can so many people work together to be so terrible and lie and not a single one of them slip up? It’s obvious Steven Avery is innocent and did not kill Teresa Halbach. I do agree with what one of Avery’s attorneys Dean Strang said. Not sure what the exact quote was but he said something like “I hope Steven is guilty because I hate to think an innocent man is sitting behind bars for something he didn’t do.”


Since we know what happened to Steven Avery and his nephew Brendan Dassey, everyone wants to know what exactly happened to Teresa Halbach?

As a person who has an M.S. in Criminal Justice and has written a murder mystery, my qualifications and experience have failed me when it comes to this. I have no idea who killed Teresa Halbach. Maybe no one else does either.

Teresa Halbach

One of the most interesting parts of watching this series is looking into the various theories. As someone who loves fan and conspiracy theories, this post is something I’ve been looking forward to.

After some extended Internet research, I have compiled several MAM theories. Here they are listed from least to most likely.

5. Teresa Halbach isn’t dead. 

This is by far the most unlikely and far-fetched theory courtesy of Steven Avery’s own mother, Dolores. It makes sense she would convince herself of something like this considering everything that has happened to her son and family. Even though the criminal justice officials involved in this case are terrible people, it seems unlikely they would plant random bones to frame someone when there is more evidence in the case.

Halbach’s car as it was found at the Avery Salvage Yard

4. Ryan Hillegas with help from her brother Mike Halbach

Halbach’s ex-boyfriend appeared sketchy on the stand. It doesn’t take a seasoned homicide detective to know those closest to the victim should be questioned first and are usually guilty. Neither Hillegas or Mike Halbach were treated as suspects or were questioned. The fact Hillegas was able to get into Teresa’s voicemail is majorly incriminating. Reports state Hillegas had stalker tendencies and another theory suggests he might have left threatening voicemails on her phone which is why he deleted her voicemails.   Mike Halbach is connected to Hillegas because the two were friends. The big case against Mike is that he mentioned “grieving” for Teresa before her body had even been recovered. Perhaps he was the one who slipped up?  The thing that doesn’t make sense to me is that neither one of them lived near the Avery property, which means they (or one of them) had to follow Teresa. These two rubbed me the wrong way from the start. The video below only reinforces my belief. Even with their odd behavior, I’m still not 100% convinced they killed Teresa, but they should have been further investigated and questioned.

3. Bobby Dassey and Scott Tadych

These two also seemed suspicious. Tadych is Bobby and Brendan’s stepfather. This theory claims Bobby Dassey and Tadych are the real murderers and Ryan Hillegas and Mike Halbach discovered Teresa’s car at the Avery Salvage Yard, called the police, and James Lenk and Andrew Colburn answered the call and proceeded to frame Steven Avery. The other part of the theory is that Mike and Ryan also were framing Avery for the crime. They knew Teresa was seen on the Avery property which is why they went snooping there in the first place. What this theory boils down to is that there were two Steven Avery frame jobs happening simultaneously.  The thought is pretty insane fills in some of the holes in the story, like who Lenk knew about Halbach’s car. Head over to this Reddit post for a better explanation. It’s a crazy theory. Then again, this whole situation is batshit so the original poster might be onto something.

The big thing that gives this theory credit is it goes along with what Steven Avery thinks happened. In 2009, Avery claimed he believed Bobby Dassey and Tadych were responsible for the murder. Tadych has a history of violence against women and was on the property the same time Teresa was murdered as was Bobby. The two men went hunting together that day and were each other’s alibis (huge red flag) as no one else knew where they were the afternoon of October 31 (when Teresa was murdered). Bobby said he showered before they went hunting and had scratches on his back which he blamed on a puppy. From what I’ve gathered hunting is hard and sweaty work so taking a shower before doesn’t seem logical. Teresa was also shot with a .22 rifle which Tadych and Bobby had that day.

Pretty much.

This is where I think Brendan Dassey comes in. I do not think he is responsible but I feel like he knew or saw something. Brendan claims he was at home around the time of Teresa’s murder. It’s possible Brendan witnessed Teresa’s death or saw the aftermath. If this is true, then the statment his cousin Kayla Avery gave would not be a lie (as she confessed it was in court). Kayla originally told her school counselor she was worried about Brendan’s weight loss and that he told her he saw body parts in a fire. Brendan’s low I.Q. caused him to be easily manipulated by officials. Although I don’t think he is low functioning enough not to defend himself. Maybe he felt guilty because of whatever reason and didn’t have the mental capacity to fight back, or felt like he shouldn’t.

Considering Tadych, Bobby Dassey and everyone else in the Avery family were on the property that day, any of them could have seen (or been responsible for) Teresa’s murder.

2. Steven Avery

He did it and was framed. The police screwed up and here we are today. We don’t want to think Steven is guilty, but he could be. It’s simple, obvious and hopefully not true. This brings me back to Kayla. Check out her frist written statement. The spelling and writing are terrible, FYI. She clearly doesn’t like Steven and mentions she thinks Brendan “did something.” She also mentioned to her school counselor she was afraid because Steven asked one of her cousins to move a body, but never mentioned the cousin by name. Maybe she wasn’t lying after all?

  1. Steven’s brothers Charles and Earl

Steven himself has also said he believes one of his brothers could have killed Teresa. Considering they also lived on the Avery property and both had histories of sexual violence towards women. In 1999, Charles raped and tried to kill his wife. He was also known to make agressive and unwanted advances towards female customers at the Avery Salvage Yard. Charles was also jealous of Steven’s potential settlement he was supposed to get from his first wrongful conviction and of his then-girlfriend Jodi Stachowski. Jodi claimed Charles came into the house she shared with Steven with a shotgun and said she was “terrified of Chuckie”.

Charles Avery

Earl, the youngest of the Avery brothers sexually assaulted his own daughters in 1995. He was also a hunter who would have access to weapons. Earl is only in a brief scene in the series, which makes him all the more suspicious. Steven himself cited “ [Earl] hid from police when they came to take a DNA sample on Nov. 9, 2005. When the investigators went to his home, he hid in an upstairs bedroom under some clothes.”

These theories here are the just the beginning. We might never know what truly happened to Teresa Halbach on October 31, 2005.If you are interested in finding out more theories/ideas, Google is your friend. Be prepared to be taken down a rabbit hole. 


Mass Murder Murder Typologies Serial Killers Spree Killings

Defining Murder: Serial, Mass, And Spree

The precise definitions of serial, mass, and spree murders are a common misconception among those not versed in the technical terminology. Once I mentioned how James Holmes, the Aurora theatre shooter was not a serial killer and got a confused look. I don’t remember who I said this too. Without trying to sound like a know it all, I explained the difference. I probably did come across as a know it all *blushing, embarrassed emoji*.

Here’s a quick breakdown…

Serial Murder

-The FBI defines a serial homicide offender as having committed 3 or more homicides over a period of time.

-Killings occur at separate events and places.

-Experiences a “cooling off” phase between crimes, unlike mass and spree homicides. This phase varies between 3 months to several years.

The “cooling off period” is one of the most important and defining characteristics of serial murders. This is what separates serial killings from spree and mass killings and is potentially what makes serial killings so difficult to solve because of the period of inactivity.

-All crimes have the same or a similar modus operandi. This includes weapons used, type of victim (sex, age, physical characteristics), and similar crime scene.

-Motives include revenge, sexual gratification, power/control, anger, criminal enterprise, and financial gain.

-Potential causes of serial homicide offending: mental illness (sociopathic and antisocial personality disorders), abuse, sexual dysfunction, past criminal behavior, biological, social, and environmental influences.

Mass Murder

Before the term serial killer was coined in the 1970s, they were referred to as mass murderers. Now, the term has a different meaning and sadly something we are all too familiar with.

-Four or more murders at a single event at one time. Can include more than one assailant. Event lasts from a few minutes to several hours.

-Assailant usually commits suicide, is shot by police, or easily surrenders.

-Motivations include anger, frustration, mental illness, religion, gang activity, and cult associations.

-The offender usually commits a mass murder in order to complete a “mission”.

-The “mission” the mass homicide offender is carried out or “completed” based on one of the motives.

-Mass homicide offenders easily surrender due to the fact they view their killings as the completion of their “mission”.

-Victims can be random, family members, or members of a certain group, religion, ethnicity, or sex.

Spree Killings

I explained this in my last post about Charles Manson and how the Manson Murders are actually spree killings instead of serial killings. Spree killings are completed at two or more locations with almost no time in between. However, killings that last for several days, hence the word spree, are still considered spree killings. Those who engage in spree killings are often motivated by rage and revenge. They often tend to target someone who betrayed them such as a former lover, boss, classmate, etc.


Fox, J. A., & Levin, J. (1998). Multiple homicide: Patterns of serial and mass murder. Crime and Justice, 407-455.

Spree Killings

Charles Manson IS NOT A Serial Killer

Oh, Charlie, ol’ buddy ol’ pal. You are by far one of the most notorious criminals of all time. You are probably on more lists and countdowns than any other person ever in the history of Internet lists about criminals and serial killers.

He looks like half the guys I went to college with.


The only problem is he’s not a serial killer. 

Yep, the most famous sociopath in the world is not the thing we often associate sociopath with. True crime aficionados know our buddy Charlie is anything but a serial killer. For some reason, the rest of the world can’t comprehend this. It makes sense to categorize him into the realm of serial killers, which has been a misconception for years.

If he isn’t a serial killer, then what is he?

Manson was charged with conspiracy to commit murder, which legally is just as good as actually committing the murder. What Manson actually did was a murder by proxy a.k.a proxy murder. This is where an individual commits a murder at someone else’s instruction. 

Another important detail is that the Manson Murders were not serial killings either, instead they are technically classified as spree killings. The key difference between serial and spree killings is the “cooling-off period.”

Serial killings have a period of inactivity between killings in order to re-live the crime until they feel the need to do it again. Spree killings take place in two or more locations with almost no time lapsed between murders. It’s like Rumspringa for psychos. The Manson killings take place in a two-day span in two different locations, which does classify them as spree killings.


Serial Killer Typology Serial Killers

Typologies of Serial Killers

The typology of a serial killer is exactly what you think it is. In order to track them, investigators must first have an understanding of how (and later why) they operate.

While there are several different types of serial killers and offenders, which I will get into in a later post, the most basic typology and the most widely used by investigators is the Holmes Typology. This is also known as the Organized/Disorganized Dichotomy and is also attributed to famed FBI Profiler Roy Hazelwood. Once the basic typology is documented, a more detailed subcategory can be assigned.

The HT classifies serial killers into 2 groups:

Organized and Disorganized

Organized serial killers live seemingly stable, normal lives. They are gainfully and skillfully employed, socially aware, highly intelligent, and often have families and regular friendships. These characteristics also spill over into how they commit their crimes. Organized killers plan their crimes well in advance, sometimes years.

They have a specific type of victim such as sex workers or individuals with a certain physical trait. These individuals are more likely to restrain victims, dispose of bodies in a discreet location, and remove a weapon from the crime scene. Their crimes are also usually not committed where they dispose of bodies, but are more likely to move bodies.

Since they are more socially skilled than their disorganized counterpart, these killers often have a social interaction with their victims. Little evidence is left behind at murders committed by organized killers.

Examples include: BTK, John Wayne Gacy

Any time I can post a picture of a creepy clown, I’m down. Rhyme intended. Pogo no longer does parties. Image via.

Disorganized serial killers tend to be drifters with a more spontaneous lifestyle. They are also more likely to commit other crimes along with murder, including drug use and necrophilia. Below average intelligence is a characteristic. They often suffer from some sort of sexual dysfunction and severe mental illness, which are the root causes of their crimes. Victims are random and usually do not fit a certain demographic or description. Disorganized killers will leave evidence behind at crime scenes, including blood, fingerprints, and the murder weapon. Crime scene locations are in close proximity to the killer and murders are committed at the location where the victim is found, hence the evidence left at the crime scene.

Examples include: Ottis Toole, Richard Chase a.k.a The Vampire of Sacramento. 

FYI, if you never want to sleep again, do a search for Richard Chase. Nighty, nighty! 

Then, of course, there’s Ted Bundy. You know you can’t mention serial killers without his name coming up. Teddy boy is actually a mixture of both typologies, even though he tends to lean towards organized more so than disorganized. However, based on his famous Florida murder spree in 1978, Bundy crossed over into disorganized territory with the random killings. Bundy’s affinity for necrophilia also puts him into the disorganized category.

 Probably the creepiest murder ever because he looks like a hipster after a shift at the indie coffee shop and not a serial killer. Image via.


Click to access serialtypology.pdf

Click to access Classific.pdf




Introductory Post

Hi everyone!

This is a new venture for me, and one that I hope is successful and fun for both me and readers.

True crime is one of my favorite topics, as well as a subject that tends to be very popular around the world. So why not have a blog about it?

bloggingThis will also give me the chance to share something I enjoy with the world and provide me with an outlet to use my knowledge from my Masters in Criminal Justice. Unfortunately, my career/life has not panned out the way I wanted it to and I don’t get to use either of my degrees (insert sad Emoji). No, seriously, it sucks.

Instead, I’ve decided to turn to something I’ve always excelled at-writing and writing about murders.

Stick around, follow, and tell your friends. Topical posts will come soon, hopefully, like today.

As you browse through the dark, seedy underbelly of society and the Internet remember:

Whoever fights monsters should see to it that in the process he does not become a monster. And if you gaze long enough into an abyss, the abyss will gaze back into you.-Friedrich Nietzsche

Image via.