Kathleen Zellner filed her client Steven Avery’s Motion To Stay Appeal & Remand The Cause For New Scientific Testing with the Wisconsin 2nd District Court of Appeals yesterday, Dec. 17th.
Zellner’s latest filing, has addressed suspected human skeletal remains recovered from the Manitowoc County Gravel Pit, located adjacent to the Avery Salvage Yard, where the state claimed Teresa Halbach was cremated by Avery after her disappearance on Oct. 31st, 2005.
With Zellner’s Motion, the clock has stopped on her much anticipated Brief, which was due to be filed Dec. 20th. However, Avery’s attorney—via Twitter—was quick to note that the delay in filing her 35,000 word brief; could indeed, be brief.
Asked how long before the Court of Appeals would respond to Avery’s latest motion, Zellner offered, ‘We would expect to hear a response within a few days,’ potentially abating fears that her clients bid for a new trial, or outright exoneration might be delayed further.
Indeed, if Zellner’s request for testing is granted by the circuit court upon remanding by the COA, Avery’s freedom may be expedited due to the potential of the skeletal remains discovered in the quarry being that of Halbach’s—of which Zellner has stated she is 99% sure they are.
At the time of Avery’s original trial back in 2007, advancements in DNA testing were not at a level where a conclusion could be made as to the origin of the remains found in the quarry. Kratz, during closing arguments at trial ventured that, ‘These bones in the quarry, I’m going to take 20 seconds to talk about, because the best anybody can say is that they are possibly human.’
Fast-forward 11 years; and with the introduction of renowned expert Dr. Richard Selden, things would have appeared to have progressed.
Selden’s success in being able to consistently & positively identify even highly degredated remains by Rapid DNA ID testing in as little as 2 hours, was highlighted in relation to the recent California wild fires that tragically claimed so many lives—where his techniques garnered successful identification in 85% of the remains tested. What’s more, Rapid DNA ID testing has been legitimately approved by the FBI since June of this year: an irony not likely lost on followers of Avery’s past travails.
If testing of the quarry remains, which includes a partial pelvic bone, is granted—a test that the state was willing to allow Zellner to conduct prior to Judge Angela Sutkiewicz’ abrupt denial of her clients appeal—and returns a positive match to that of Halbach, Zellner will be able to directly refute the state’s theory of her murder.
While Zellner adapts her theory as to Halbach’s murder via her ongoing investigation, and duly allows the evidence to shape her findings, the state remains hamstrung by their own theories presented at trial.
If indeed the remains do test positive for Halbach’s DNA, where does the state turn? Suggestions that Avery could have transferred portions of the Auto Trader’s remains to the quarry; no matter how absurd—Halbach’s key & vehicle left in his bedroom and property respectfully—still flies in the face of the state’s theory at trial.
While many would have been eagerly awaiting Zellner’s Brief; which was due this Thursday coming, they should likely take solace that her client has seemingly further avenues open to him. A luxury that the state will likely envy.