The lead prosecutor in the case Netflix’s “Making A Murderer” made famous thinks there was nothing wrong with the circumstances surrounding Brendan Dassey’s conviction — which a federal judge recently overturned.
In an interview with HLN’s Nancy Grace Monday night, former district attorney Ken Kratz said the police didn’t violate then-16-year-old Dassey’s legal rights when they interrogated him alone for hours without his mom present.
“They absolutely did not make any threats,” Kratz said. “Imploring somebody to tell the truth is not the same as making promises, or making inducements, or threatening them. These are things that happen everyday across this country when they take statements from people.”
Maybe Kratz is confused, because the case against Dassey included a confession police extracted over a four-hour period from a teenage boy who is intellectually disabled.
The federal judge who overturned Dassey’s conviction last Friday specifically noted the police’s coercive behavior during the interrogation — including questioning him without a parent present and making him believe they were on his side — clearly violated his constitutional rights.
During parts of the interrogation, Dassey appears to be guessing at what he thinks the police want him to say. Throughout the four-hour period, he appears to be confused and makes statements that don’t quite add up, as the officers ask leading questions and prompt him to continue speaking with promises of friendship.
Dassey’s testimony — which ultimately led to his 2007 conviction of first-degree intentional homicide, second-degree sexual assault, and mutilation of a corpse — was also a key piece of evidence in the case against his uncle, Steven Avery.
“Why did he have you come over there?” an officer asks, referring to Avery, who is serving time for the murder of Teresa Halbach. “Did he need help with something? Remember, we already know, but we need to hear it from you. Why did he have you come over there? He needed help, didn’t he? Why did he need help?”
“I’m your friend right now,” another officer pleads. “Your mom wants you to be honest with us.”
You can watch all 258 minutes of Dassey’s police interrogation here.