A federal appeals panel affirmed on Thursday an earlier ruling that the confession of Brendan Dassey, featured in the Netflix series “Making a Murderer,” was made under coercion and that he should be released from prison, The Associated Press reported.
Dassey confessed to detectives that he had helped his uncle, Steven Avery, rape and kill photographer Teresa Halbach in 2005. Dassey, who was 16 at the time and suffering from cognitive problems, was sentenced to life in prison in 2007.
His uncle was also sentenced to life in a separate trial.
In August, a federal magistrate judge ruled that Dassey’s confession had been coerced by investigators and overturned his conviction, which the state Justice Department then appealed.
Dassey has remained in prison as he awaited the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals decision.
A three-judge panel from the Chicago-based 7th Circuit court ultimately upheld the magistrate’s ruling to overturn Dassey’s conviction, the news wire reported.
The next step for state attorneys would be to appeal the case to the U.S. Supreme Court or seek to re-try Dassey.
Dassey and Avery both say the police framed them for revenge after Avery sued Manitowoc County for wrongfully convicting him in a sexual assault case.
Avery is also going through his own appeal in state court. He had been behind bars for 18 years before DNA tests revealed he was innocent in that case.
The 2015 Netflix series “Making a Murderer” analyzed parts of the case surrounding Halbach’s death and the trials of Avery and Dassey.
The documentary got national attention for the case, leading some people on social media to call for the release of Avery and Dassey, the AP reports.
Police officials who worked on the investigation say the series is biased.