Wednesday, December 30, 2015

"Making a Murderer": A Study in Propaganda

The documentary, "Making a Murderer" currently on Netflix and available at You Tube, is of great value to those of you interested in Statement Analysis, and discernment of deception.  

It is a great example of "emotion versus science" as its portrayal contains much truth, hard facts, missing information, deception, wrong doing, personal leakage, and "good guys" versus "bad guys" where the good guys have black hats and the bad guy has a white hat.  

It is a strong example of propaganda and is useful for those interested in discerning propaganda techniques.  

In short, it is one of the best documentaries I have seen to help those wishing to learn lie detection.  Almost everyone in the documentary is indicated for deception or wrong doing, from the sketch artist to the accused to the accusers, to the attorneys.  I found one defense attorney 

The truth?

A very bad man spent 18 years in prison for a specific crime he did not commit.  

He is hated by police. 

Upon release, he is a media darling, including the Innocence Project and is set to gain millions of dollars in suit. 

He is then charged with murder. 

Police not only show misconduct, but deception, under oath, including their new faulty memories. 

The prosecutor uses language that suggests sexual issues of a personal nature, who's voice inflection goes to high pitch while employing words associated with water.  "Swimming upstream" and "perspiration" and even his description of the rape, which we have no reliable linguistic connection due to both the editing of the documentary and the leading questions of investigators.  

I wrote that the nephew did not get an appropriate defense.  I believe he was involved, in some degree, with the assault, murder and disposing of the remains, but his defense attorney was both deceptive and grossly negligent.  

It is a treasure chest for Statement Analysis and if you do not think that emotions are powerful enough to influence decisions, look at 

a.  How many tens of thousands are signing petitions on behalf of Steven Avery
b.  How the Innocence Project did not want him as a client any longer. 

I watched the entire documentary, but did so with much typing and distraction, and did all analysis on the fly, while just listening.  After it, someone posted the transcripts, which is very useful.  

Here is my challenge to you:

Not using what I have mentioned already, how many elements of propaganda can you label?

How many forms of deception can you identify, specifically?

Use entire situations (such as editing) or simply using small words, such as "little girl", by the prosecutor, for commentary.  

Hint:  "Jodi" is a good example of documentary bias, or propaganda, in order to leave the viewer with a distinct impression that does not represent reality.  


ima.grandma said...

 Do you think your two brothers could've had anything to do with this?

 No. No. Not at all. Look, anybody can go down the road at nighttime, you know, when everybody's sleeping. You know, just drive in. My brother ain't gonna hear nothing. 
Seeking 'moral high ground' with phrases like "Look, anybody can go down the road" and "No. No. Not at all". Avery implies that opposition or failure to see something so "obvious" should be defined as ignorant or stupid.

Avery increases the frequency of pushing for the possibility of false or planted evidence throughout the interview. It is a systematic repetition of a message intended for persuasion and acceptance. Avery uses progressive diversionary tactics responding and repeating negative accusations toward LE.  He wants the listener to believe the real criminal is LE. 

At the same time, the reporter introduces victim mentality and guides the conversation.

female reporter: The entire Avery family is holed up in their Marinette County cabin right now, being told after three days they still cannot go home. Yet they say investigators won't tell them what's going on. Avery says he once again feels like a suspect and fears that any moment, police could arrest him. 

Avery:   "It all comes back. All these memories and everything else, and they're... just sketching me out again. And deep down, it hurts."

 You know, we're all victims. You know, and they just won't leave us alone. They just keep it up, keep it up. You know, it's... You know, a person only can take so much. You know? Right now, I got enough of 'em. You know? They can go somewhere else and... and just leave us alone. Let us do our life and live normal.
Avery plays into this role well. He just wants his rights. 'Take care of me first and then you can find the truth' as he persuades. 'People should listen, leave me alone go after the real target - LE.'

Note: I am not familiar with this case or most covered conversations the last six weeks. Forgive if I repeat what has been posted. I took these thoughts solely from Peter's previous article. Are there links to all transcripts? This particular topic ~ propaganda ~ is complex. It flows naturally with Peter's principle of the 'narrative' influencing public opinion and MSM.

Sus said...

I know you asked this on the last post, but I'm writing about it here.
Re: Jodi
She "got put" in jail, which makes it sound as if she did nothing to get there.
In the next sentence SA tells us (with no pronoun) drink ... drive.
Jodi must have drunk a lot because SA had to "holler" at her about it, plus she had jail time.
But hallelujah! She listened to him and is now a changed person. (I know what you're thinking, but really, it has nothing to do with the fact that jails do not serve alcohol.)

Jodi is in the film to counteract Steven Avery as a violent sex criminal. Look, he has a fiancé who has made him able to love again. They can't wait to get married and start a family. Though Jodi does not seem quite so interested in marrying, nor getting her son back.

The reality of Steven Avery and Jodi and the film's portrayal of Steven Avery and Jodi are not the same.

Anonymous said...

This is the first time in six years I've followed Peters blog that I disagree with his conclusion. Though I cant say with certainty Steve Avery is innocent, I can't say without a doubt he is guilty

Sus said...

Another. You could begin listening to this and think SA is a caring uncle. But I wonder how many viewers listened to the end. And heard what SA was really concerned about.

Steven on phone:
I feel sorry for him. He's only 16 years old, he's only a kid yet. They pressed him so much... he probably don't know which way to go. BUT IT STILL MAKES ME LOOK BAD , THOUGH. IF I WAS OUT THERE AND ALL OF THAT WAS HAPPENING...I DONT KNOW, WHICH SIDE WOULD YOU WANT TO BELIEVE? There ain't nothing good coming out of this.

Anonymous said...

The press conference of Kratz and his detail to the crime was downright creepy and unnecessary detail, saying Avery came out sweaty etc. It was like a sick fantasy he was telling, not a real count of events, so weird.

Then calling Teresa, a 25 year old woman a little girl, really set of the creep meter.

ima.grandma said...

I've found a wealth of applicable document and transcript PDFs.

Anonymous said...

Holbach had been scared of him before (oct 10th) and told her employer she wasn't going back. He then, on Oct 31st, called on behalf of his sister (using her name)and made an appt. with the victim. He called twice using *67 to mask his #-then after 4:30 revealing his # (he knew by that time she was gone).

He already made it clear he was violent by running a woman off the road and pulling a gun on her. Perhaps not as violent as burning a cat alive in some people's minds, but still the dangerous side shone through his demure nature. He had robbed a bar when he was younger, demonstrating his course in life. Who knows what he did in grade school, but I'm guessing the cat burning wasn't his first.

His girlfriend, Jodi, was an alcoholic. She would have depended upon him for her own existence and ignored any warning signs.

If only fragments of Hobachs bones were found in the fire, I'd believe another could have done it. It's unlikely his homemade fire could have destroyed all her bones.

The tampered DNA vial tells more about the media running the police dept. than the police planting evidence.

The boyfriend hacking into the cell phone may have destroyed evidence. She had more than one problem working against her at the time just like all other women in the area seeking help that would never come-thus the DA.

SA incarceration, though wrongly, may have been a blessing and saved others 18 years of misery and death. Sure, there are other suspects, but how many called the victim to the property, the victim's vehicle and parts of body found on same property, and already made it clear they were terrified of him?

Perhaps students of the Innocence Project are involved in some of this.?

Anonymous said...

Here's what the next one looks like that will be on trial for a similar crime. If you choose to read, take note of the comments and how people view the preliminary activity leading up to such a tragedy turned entertainment such as the fate Halbach met on Oct. 31st.

Statement Analysis Blog said...

What do you make of Jodi's length of sentence for OUI and how this was reported by the documentary?


rjb said...

Jodi's sentence was minimized in terms of what a sentence that long means when it comes to OUIs. I had a boyfriend who was an alcoholic, and have seen how the whole getting arrested and sentenced for operating under the influence process operates. A sentence that spans months indicates that this was not her first offense, but in my viewing of the documentary, I felt that the way they made her timeline "feel" created an implication of a much shorter sentence than they actually stated it was.

rjb said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Peter, as anon 4:40 (don't know which commenter you addressed) I only read SOME of what was posted online. It appeared she had a lengthy battle with alcohol-which, of course leads to disorderly conduct whether charged with DUI or not. Her 'rap sheet' was rather long and too small for me to read. I would imagine a plethora of petty crimes along with DUI. (Thus is the nature of the beast).

I have not viewed and do not intend to view the the profiteering of a woman's murder at the expense of her family to appease a couple New Yorker teens hoping to change the world with their conspiracies. Heck, I don't even like the southern tin-foil twisted minds. It's band-wagon mental health disease with advertisement, imo.

Sus said...

The film's music and camera angles must be powerful. I can't watch them. I'm reading the transcripts.

Simply reading, I can see the bias for Steven Avery, and in connection...Brendan Dassey.

When film basically began accusing his cousin, who he ran off the road and pointed a gun at. An attorney accused her of, "..immediately went to the sheriff's department and filed a complaint..that minimized her involvement in provoking the incident and maximizing the alleged danger."

From that statement on, my guard was up. I was skeptic of anything the film had to say. I became bias in the other direction and have to work hard to stay in the middle, looking at all.

Anonymous said...

"...When film basically began accusing his cousin, who he ran off the road and pointed a gun at. An attorney accused her of, "..immediately went to the sheriff's department and filed a complaint..that minimized her involvement in provoking the incident and maximizing the alleged danger."

Come again?!!

Sus said...

I'm not sure I understand what you are asking/saying, anon.

Steven Avery ran his cousin off the road and pointed a gun at her.

His court appointed attorney made the above statement about the incident. It was at the beginning of the film.

That put me on guard for bias in the film.

Anonymous said...

So, let me get this straight:
attorney said,"immediately went to the sheriff's department and filed a complaint"

He also implied she had done something to deserve being assaulted with a deadly weapon twice?

Anonymous said...

After watching the documentary and reading a bunch of articles, I still cannot determine whether Brendan is guilty. Any thoughts?

And why didn't Steven Avery crush the car?

Also, what do people think about the evidence being planted? Was the key planted? Was the blood planted? Was Colborn involved?

Finally, does anyone have any thoughts on the multiple locations of the bones?

Michele said...

Sus brought up: "When film basically began accusing his cousin, who he ran off the road and pointed a gun at. An attorney accused her of, "..immediately went to the sheriff's department and filed a complaint..that minimized her involvement in provoking the incident and maximizing the alleged danger."
I agree the way that statement turned me away from believing SA innocent. It has been very hard to stay neutral, but not the way the film makers wanted.

Sus said...

You've got it. "minimized her role in provoking the incident" = telling he exposed himself as she drove by.

Sus said...

I'm still reading through it a second time, so bear with me. Meaning I may have some facts messed up. Just straighten me out.

Graphic warning
Do I understand the fire was just that evening? I don't think a body burns in that time. The skeletal system does not disconnect, or it should have been lying all together.

I believe SA likes to burn bodies. But did he mutilate the body somehow before putting her in the fire?

Wherever he did it, the blood pattern showed that Teresa was brought back to the trailer and fire in her own car. There was a pattern like she was drug out of the back.

Anonymous said...

Sus, did they say he exposed himself? Wow! She would have had to been driving like a truck, 4-wheel drive or something similar and he in something low to have seen such.

I thought running her off the road and pulling a gun was enough!

YYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYeah, I should watch but I won't. I'll try not to be too annoying.

Sus said...

No, the exposures had been an ongoing thing as she drove by his house. The cousin filed a complaint on that before, then she "spread it around" while in taverns. SA said it made him look bad, like a ...he didn't finish the statement.

So one day as she drove past he chased her down, bumped into her, then got out of his vehicle with the gun. He says it was unloaded.

rjb said...

Anon @ 12:07

In the full length police interviews of Brendan, he tells them that Steven was planning on crushing the car but it was found before he got a chance to.

On one of the other threads there are links to all of Brendan's video recorded interviews, or you can look up user name LakeshoreLady on YouTube, they are all on a playlist there. I have only watched the first hour of his May 13 interview so far, but there is a marked difference between how both his actual statement came out and how the detectives behaved in the full length interview thus far versus the documentary.

rjb said...

Interesting article about burning as a method of hiding evidence.

Anonymous said...

re rjb 5:10pm

I just watched the first video on lakeshorelady and there are parts edited out of the video the end when he is confessing a critical part of the crime...

Sus said...

So what do you all think when you watch the full Brendan interviews? I have read all the transcripts from his interviews.

Anonymous said...

@ Sus

After watching the raw interviews (the ones on 3/1/06 with Brendan), I definitely think he did it (the rape, the cutting of the throat, helping to move the body). I also didn't find the interview techniques that horrible. They weren't the most skillful, but they weren't as coercive as they had seemed from the clips shown in the documentary. What did you think from the transcripts?

klv said...

I don't think it matters one bit if Avery and Dassey are innocent or not:

Law enforcement and prosecutors LIED and probably planted evidence!!!!!

Sus said...

Anon 8:20,
I also think Brendan is involved, but not sure how much. I believe he helped in the cover up and may have raped Teresa.

I wish police had questioned Brendan more about time he spent with Steven Avery before the murder. I got this creepy feeling SA may have groomed him for just such a crime.

Hey Jude said...

Anon @ 8.20, excuse the butting in, but the coercing was in the later May interview videos.


Some Brendan links drawn together from Convoluted Brain, YouTube and Reddit - March and Amy interviews, and conversation in police vehicle, plus other material.

Brendan Dassey Police Interview Videos, Transcripts and Trial Transcripts - links with the accompanying descriptions

Feb 27 2006

Published on 29 Dec 2015 This is the police interview that was done after Brendan Dassey and his mother were put up at a hotel by police and he spoke with police the evening before. This is Brendan Dassey's first known recorded statement

March 1st
Transcript of audio recording while Brendan Dassey was Transported to Manitowoc County.

March 1st, 2006
Part One

Published on 28 Dec 2015 Brendan Dassey Police Interview on March 1. 2006 Part #1.

Part Two

Published on 28 Dec 2015 Brendan Dassey Police Interview on March 1. 2006 Part #2.

Transcript for March 1st, (follows on from transcript of conversation in the police vehicle):


May 13th 2006

Part One

Published on 29 Dec 2015 This is the part 1 of the Brendan Dassey police interview that was done on May 13, 2006. This is the interview that was arranged by Len Kachinsky after Brendan Dassey spoke with Michael O'Kelly and was conducted without Len Kachinsky being present.

Part Two

Published on 29 Dec 2015 This is the part 2 of the Brendan Dassey police interview that was done on May 13, 2006. This is the interview that was arranged by Len Kachinsky after Brendan Dassey spoke with Michael O'Kelly and was conducted without Len Kachinsky being present.

Transcript of Brendan's Confession, May 13th, 2006

Complete Transcripts - Brendan Dassey's Trial

Hey Jude said...

Amy - May

Sus said...

What do you think, Juliet? I've read and watched all those. They went back to Brendan because he told a friend he was involved, right. And his Times didn't match up.

What convinced me of his guilt more than police interviews was his phone conversations with his mother.

Anonymous said...

@ Hey Jude

I haven't watched all of the May interviews. I did watch nearly all of the March footage. When I saw clips from the March footage in the documentary, I thought the investigators were a bit coercive in their language. However, in the full context of the raw footage, the language they used seemed much less coercive because they spent a lot of time encouraging him to tell the truth, to use his own words, and to say he didn't remember when he didn't remember. I'll consider watching the full May interviews at some point. The case is so disturbing that there's only so much I can take at a time, and I think the content of the March videos may have put me over my limit for a bit.

Anonymous said...


I definitely think Avery groomed him, though not necessarily in any intentional way (like for a specific crime). I think Avery just liked having power and control in general and minors are easy targets.

One of the reasons I really believe Brendan's confession in March is because of the things he said Steven said to him, which included telling Brendan that he "trusted" him and "liked" him and was so "proud" of him (I can't remember the exact statements but I think those three quoted words were all used)– classic grooming and mind control.

Hey Jude said...

Anon and Sus - I haven't watched all of the March recordings through yet - I hope to get through them today and will respond later.

mom2many said...

Sus, I identify strongly with your comments. I am more finely attuned to attempts to manipulate than a lot of people, and such attempts make me angry, knowing so many people will not sense it and will be taken in. I commented earlier today on the original post, but I'm sure most won't go back to that to read it. I am local to the area, so I have a lot of background knowledge of this crime and bias. The way the documentary started immediately raised my hackles and it has only gotten worse. I've only gotten through episode 4 so far. Going back in memory, I remember that Avery's original release was quite controversial. The Sheriff's department were not the only ones who were (are) suspicious of his innocence. While there was some local controversy about the actions of LE during the Halbach case early on, it didn't last long. I was quite surprised by the tone of the documentary, trying to reignite the controversy.

I also caught that the bed in the back of the junk yard was tied to good times. I immediately wondered if that was where he first started raping girls/women.

Just going by the statements in the documentary, I confirmed Brendan's guilt in the first episode they bring him in (#2? I think?), from his conversation with his mother. He asks her what if the police statement was different than what happened? She asks him if he was involved. After a little back and forth, he answers, "Not really." I'm a parent. I know exactly what that means. He participated. The next episode it is clear why he wants to deny involvement. He doesn't want his mother to be sad. He continues to deny his actions to please her. He can't bear for her to know what he really did.

I was also interested to read Peter's assessment of sexual deviance and abuse within the Avery clan. I haven't heard rumors of that, but I was so disturbed by the sadness of Avery's children's eyes in the picture posted in the documentary. There was something gravely wrong there, even without Avery actively involved. They seemed to be doing somewhat better in a later picture shown when they were older, after the divorce. Avery's daughter also seemed very young when she was shown going to visit Avery with her own baby. I know that is not statement analysis, just other observations. i have no sympathy for Avery's parents. I believe they were part of the problem, at least to the extent that Avery was never taught personal responsibility for his actions.

Hey Jude said...

This is taking longer to get through than I anticipated. It seems that Brendan just keeps telling lie after lie. I don't know if any of it is from experiential memory or if some of it is, and he just has a really poor memory - in one interview the ropes are blue and white, in another yellow; which vehicle was in the garage, the Avery or Halbach vehicle (I think he was pressured into saying Teresa's vehicle was in the garage, and so can't believe anything he said about events surrounding the vehicle while it was in the garage; Teresa's top was blue, then it was black, then he couldn't remember; the knife came variously from the kitchen, the garage, and Steven's pocket; Brendan slashed Teresa's throat and cut off her hair; Brendan did not slash her throat or cut off her hair, neither did Steven (it was obvious he was guessing there in response to their attempts to make him say she had been shot - he did not seem to know, eventually they told him by asking 'who shot her in the head?' - he also claimed Steven had punched her, and also that he strangled her (after her throat had been slashed) - he offered those as guesses to their demands as to what has happened to her head, later retracting. He said Steven had shot Teresa ten times, but in the later interview it was five times. He was wearing his old blue jacket and red Starters shoes; he was not wearing a jacket and he couldn't remember what shoes; first he had been able to see Teresa on the bed from the hallway; later he saw the dresser from the hallway, and Steven drop his key - when asked how he could see the dresser as it was obscured by the bed, he said Steven had moved the furniture round, so the bed was under the window - that they seemed to know he would not have been able to see what he claimed was glossed over. He 'had sex' for five minutes with Teresa; later, two minutes. At least he was consistent in not having ejaculated - if really he had raped her. I can't see how claiming to have done so, if he had not, might help his case - of all he said, I might believe that, but not that they were in the house when it happened.

Brendan's various acounts are such a mass of contradictions - I don't know if that is because he has no experiential memory, or if he is willfully obfuscating throughout (possibly to hide that actually he does know), and has been told by his family to do that.

What makes me doubt his involvement is how little there is of the sensory in any of his accounts - he described Avery as 'sweaty' when he answered the door, and when asked, but only when asked, he said the bonfire smelled 'bad' - just bad, despite a body. I find difficult that those coming and going to the Dassey house while the fire burned could miss the smell of a burning body, or that it could be masked by the stench of burning tires - it was so close to their home. Who even burns tires under the window? It seems absurd that Avery would burn a body under his window, where anyone in the family, or random callers, could happen across it.

Hey Jude said...


For Brendan's account to be true, there would have been a great deal of blood, and stickiness, and stinking mess, in the Avery house and garage (not supported by forensics), and upon his clothes - yet he went home, and apparently talked to his mom for a little while before turning in, yet all his mother noticed was some bleach stains on his jeans (no mention of the blood he said was on his jeans and sweater), and she seemingly did not enquire as to why he had been cleaning Steven's garage floor with bleach till ten o clock at night on Halloween, rather than out with his friends - perhaps Steven was known for being excessively house proud, or something, even in his garage, but all that seems a t least a bit unlikely.

It seems obvious from his late recollection about Steven dropping Teresa's car key by his dresser, that between interviews he had been told to say it in order to support the late 'discovery' of the key which was not there in the earlier searches. I think he said it, and other things, because he had been told that to do so would help his case.

I have a bit more sympathy towards the interviewers but still think their technique was too leading and misleading; a lot was suggested to him, the kid thought they were 'on his side', the interviews were too long, and they should not have been conducted without the presence of a supportive adult. I can see that they would think he'd be reluctant to say much of what he did had his mother been present, but that also could indicate that they had too much expectation too early on of what they expected him to say.

I think I need to read Steven Avery's interviews next if they are available - it might hep to know what he said about Brendan. Kayla's too, if they are out there.

I wonder does anyone have any thoughts to share as to whether Brendan is telling lie after lie because that's what he does; or if he is maybe trying to tell the truth but has a poor memory; or is he trying to tell the truth whilst also trying to tell the interviewers what they want to hear - or is he deliberately obfuscating throughout? Or, or, or...I don't know.

It's a lot to listen to and read - I'm confused, and tending towards pretty wilful obfuscation, but that would make him brighter than he's meant to be. I noticed he is polite in his 'please' and 'thank you's. He says 'peed off' rather than 'p*ssed off', and he's reluctant to repeat swear words, so there's a certain level of respect - yet in all the interviews there is not a single 'sir', which I would expect for there to be, particularly in view of his age (unless, perhaps, he really doesn't believe or feel himself to be in trouble); he doesn't look at the interviewers unless he is asked repeatedly to look at them. I think maybe he is only as polite as necessary, and am curious as to whether there's contempt not far under the surface - thinking he's been raised to view the police as unjust, twisters of the truth, locking up his uncle for a rape he didn't commit, and as perhaps too vigilant with regards his family. If he was contemptuous that might make him enjoy leading them a merry dance - it's so strange how, at some points, from one sentence to the next, he changes his story without any hint of apology or real attempt to explain - I got their frustration, but I don't get Brendan. Did he really think he would be able to go back to school after he confessed to rape and murder? Is he that impaired, really?

Anonymous said...

Canada here.

Yes I think he's that impaired. I teach cognitively impaired teenagers and he absolutely could be among my students. He strikes me as a kid who has been traumatized, possibly sexually abused himself. There is a dis associative vibe about him.

Anonymous said...

I think some or a lot of his impairment comes from trauma. I cannot imagine how traumatizing it would be to grow up in a family like that. That said, I still think he was involved from his statements. I would be interested to hear from Peter whether statement analysis is as effective when applied to statements made by individuals with lower IQs.

Sus said...

This is my pet peave! 70 is an average IQ. Low average, but average.

With a 70 IQ, Brendan would not qualify as MD. In his interviews he talked about mainstreamed classes and I believe he mentioned some pull out special ed classes. That points toward LD in some area.

It was the the film which painted Brendan as not able to function. With a 70 IQ he certainly should have been able to function in daily life just fine.

Sus said...

Brendan was worried about telling his mother what "Steven and I did to her."....his words to his mother in a jailhouse phone conversation.

Also, in phone conversations to his mother...
•Steven pretended to "pump" Brendan and his brothers. His mother said Steven was just horsing around.
•Steven kept touching one of the brother's girlfriends in inappropriate front of the boys.
•Hints , but not established, Steven "shared" his girlfriend, Jodi, with Brendan and his brothers.

Anonymous said...

I agree that Brendan is severely limited, cognitively, emotionally, and socially, and likely has been sexually abused. Brendan wouldn't be "a reliable historian" in any interview, but the stress of the situation likely exacerbated his weaknesses, and the aggressive interrogating was not effective for a kid like him. He withdrew and struggled to give a chronological sequence of his actions on Oct 31.

I was struck by his assumption that he would return to school that day, his lack of eye contact, and his replying affirmatively when asked periodically if he understood something or other. I believe the level of his impairment warranted an "interpreter," if you will, to ensure his comprehension. The investigator who assessed Brendan's behavior & demeanor as a teenager troubled about undisclosed involvement in the crime, obviously didn't understand the degree to which Brendan was limited.

However, the docuseries left out the "first" interview, in which he does provide some details which don't appear to have been suggested to him. In this interview, I was struck by Brendan's lack of reaction to hearing Teresa's cries for help. He reported hearing her pleas, then returning home to watch TV. I believe it's possible that he BOTH lacked empathy AND didn't understand the seriousness of her distress, AND/ OR was desensitized to trauma & suffering, at least in part by his uncle.


Anonymous said...

Peter and SA are right about the prosecutor - KM

Anonymous said...

I completely agree with Jo's statement: "I believe it's possible that he BOTH lacked empathy AND didn't understand the seriousness of her distress, AND/ OR was desensitized to trauma & suffering, at least in part by his uncle."

I do think the investigators could've been less coercive, but I actually think they did a pretty good job in the March interview. There are parts where Brendan is lying by omission and they pick up on this and ask him to expound upon statements and periods of times that he glosses over.

I actually don't think it's that weird that he assumes he will go back to school. He seems profoundly out of it, and I don't think he has connected what happened that day with his present day reality. I also doubt he knows much about the criminal justice system and process.

Sus said...

I also agree with Jo. To add some to being desensitized by his uncle: Steven Avery said the handcuffs were for use with his girlfriend, Jodi. There was at least one call to police of DV between Steven and Jodi. Steven was ordered to stay away from Jodi for three days. Is it possible Brendan was used to hearing screams and fighting from Steven's trailer? And even women in handcuffs?

Hey Jude said...

I agree, the first interviews were better, and even the later ones do not appear so bad when viewed in light of the earlier interviews.

Sus, would you know if there are transcripts of Brendan's phone calls with his mother? I don't have the will to listen through all the documentaries again. It sounds from what you say as if inappropriate sexual behaviour towards her young sons was excused and minimised by the mother; in the later interview Brendan conceded, after some encouragement, that Avery had tried to grab him, etc - I wondered if he was minimising that out of embarrassment.

That type of behaviour must have been accepted within the family, as they all continued to interact and no-one reported it. Considering Avery had only been in the kids' lives since his release from prison, and his sister could not know really, what he was like as a result of being in that environment for so long, it's surprising she let him live right next door, would expose her boys to his influence, and allow that type 'horseplay'. Brendan even described a beating from Avery, when he would not co-operate in attending a family birthday party. The mother just told Avery to stop, but Brendan doesn't say she called the police, or even threatened to do that - probably she was fearful of him, too. Maybe it's not surprising she didn't protect her sons from him, or maybe that was their 'normal' and she saw no need. I'd think Brendan would have been scared of Avery and want to keep in with him, so was more easily induced to do what his uncle wanted.

If Jodi was 'shared' with the Dassey boys, there's no assuming there was any moral education at home, or maybe even the wider family, so I agree it's quite possible the boys grew up in a sexually abusive environment, did not have much by way of moral character or ability to resist Avery's influence, also that Brendan was already traumatised. Just don't watch as the defective cats are shot - no thought to not tell the kids what's going to happen to the cats, or to not shoot cats, and especially not in front of the children. So, well - it would take some getting inside Brendan's head, and that of his mother.

Anonymous said...


Sadly, I too believe it might've been normal for him to hear screaming. I'd also be interested to learn more about what Brendan's home life was like.

Anonymous said...

@ Hey Jude

phone transcript:

Hey Jude said...

Thanks, Anon.:)

Poor Brendan - in that call his mother is turning back on him, and blaming him for her failure to protect him. She had turned a blind eye to the 'horseplay' - he already knew she would similarly dismiss any complaints of touching, and his embarrassment in telling her would be a waste of his embarrassment, IMO.

Anonymous said...

@Hey Jude

You're most welcome! :-)

I agree that she would not have believed/would have dismissed him if he told her about the touching. She might not have even believed him if he told her about Teresa being held in the trailer!

Hey Jude said...

'That's not a woman screaming, Brendan, that's just your dear uncle Steven making a few Halloween decorations out of the cats. Why did you think it was a woman?'
"Because I'm stupid.'
'You're not stupid to me, Brendan. What's that red stuff on your jeans?'
'It's bleach, mom. Just bleach, like, ya know.'
'Oh, yes... Goodnight, Brendan.'


Sorry. :-/

If Brendan was always regarded as stupid (in her favour, not by his mother, it would seem) that could have become an excuse to him, which he used to get out of trouble - he may have found advantages to it, 'He can't help it...he didn't mean it....he doesn't understand...etc - because he's stupid.' Maybe he thought if he acted really 'stupid' he would be less likely to end up in trouble for whatever part he played, or might have played, in Teresa's rape and murder.

It's just a thought, not saying I think that is the case. It's concerning that those with low and lower IQs, statistically, make the highest number of false confessions, and there's no disputing that the interviews were all wrong from the get go, as there was no adult there for him. I agree with whoever said he should have had someone to act as an 'interpreter', to be sure that when he said he understood, that really, he did, and to stop him getting himself into deeper and deeper trouble. I wonder, did he really feel and understand that he could just go home, and not be interviewed at all, or that he could decline to answer, or leave at any time? I'm not sure, really, that he did - at that age, he would still think he should do as he was told, which seemed more that he was expected to stay there and answer all the questions, than that he could just say no, He wanted to go back to class and not sit there saying stuff until he was arrested for some of the most heinous crimes. If he knew really, that he had that choice, then would he have 'co-operated'? Would there ever have been enough cause to arrest him, had he not agreed to be interviewed?

I wish there was more about Brendan, what he was like, his home and school and social life. There's nothing against which to compare his attitude, behaviour and demeanour in the interviews. I'd also like to know what he is like now, what his IQ is, if he was able to complete his education, and most of all, what he would say now about Teresa's murder. It may well be out there, I haven't found time to look at much beyond the documentary and Brendan interviews so far.

Anonymous said...

Peter, I have a question. How does mental retardation affect statement analysis? It was said that SA had an IQ of 70 (70 something?) in the first episode. The mother mentions that Brendon is a "slow learner".

I have a sister that is mentally challenged and I could see her being feed information and agreeing to it, just because she thought that's what they wanted her to do.

Anonymous said...

@Hey Jude

Sadly, your faux dialogue is all too believable!

I do believe Brendan uses "I'm stupid" as an excuse sometimes. It's very hard to discern what is what with him because I believe he has suffered trauma and has cognitive impairments. That said, I also think he knows right from wrong and I think he knows how to lie and manipulate.

Hey Jude said...

Anon - I agree.

Hey Jude said...

Also, I said 'Teresa's rape and murder' as though it were fact - Brendan's story-telling must be getting to me - I don't think there is evidence to support rape - there is only Brendan's questionable confession. Why he would make up such a terrible thing I don't know, so I do tend towards that being true.

DanH said...

I`ve watched all of the video taped confessions and read all of the accompanying transcripts as well as the "jailhouse" phone conversations. Although I am NOT an expert or lawyer, I do work in a very famous level 4 prison.

As I sift through the tapes and transcripts it seemed very clear to me that Breden did not want his mother present. It's very common for people in custody to actually request to be interviewed alone. While everyone knows you should never talk to LE at all without a lawyer you`d be surprised to learn the vast majority of people do just that. When questioned they will have statements to the effect of; "I don't need a lawyer, I don't have anything to hide". Lawyers often offer up their clients in the same way, after considerable coaching. This is also an attempt to show their client has nothing to hide. Another shocker; most clients do not tell their legal representation the truth about their involvement in a crime.

I think it's all too obvious in this case that Breden`s story changes more and more AFTER talking with his mother and attorney. In fact in the phone transcripts dated 5-10-06 to 5-13-06. The later, I belive, is one attempt at debunking Breden`s ealiest admissions of involvement. That one conversation is many, many times more leading and coercive than all of the taped interviews combined. The coercion is done by his own mother. They freely talk about the case on the phone until that conversation. During that phone call it is very clear they are aware it is being taped and actually stop each other from saying certain things and person's names.

It's painfully obvious Brenden confessed on 2-27 and again to his mother on 5-10. Just as abvious, he was promised a deal for his confession. "Life WITH the possibility" was his deal. His attorney and mother were both very aware of what was going to happen to him even if he was not. They both knew what he admitted to both in those tapes and on the phone and have clearly been playing the "he's a poor stupid kid" card ever since. Stupidity is not a defence.

I've seen many interagations and this one is mild, very mild. Telling a suspect that you know what happened so you may as well get it off your chest is probing not leading. Pointing out inconsistencies in previous statements is called clarifying not badgering. Asking someone for more details is searching not bullying.

I have 90 inmates that work for me in prison. All 90 are lifers'. All but one say they didn't get a fair trial. All but two are what I would consider below average intelligence. I would never want to run in to any of the 90 outside the prison walls.

I'd be very interested in SA and BD's behavior while in prison.

Anonymous said...

I agree with a comment from a poster on Reddit that in order to try to understand this case somewhat objectively, it is necessary to read the "primary sources" - interrogations, transcripts of phone calls, expanded court testimony of witnesses, as the docuseries is so slanted towards presenting Avery as an average Joe Redneck who has been a victim of widespread corruption. Which is not to say that there appear to be, at the least, some wrongdoing by law enforcement and other aspects of the legal system...

However, after reading some of the "primary sources" re: Branden Dassey, and realizing that the docuseries "creatively edited" what was seen of BD, in order to present him in the worse possible light, as far as his limitations, and leading questions by interrogators, I now feel that in order to understand the case and how the defendants could have been convicted, given the "lack of evidence" shown in the doc, one must seek other sources of information.

I appreciate the other commenters who have provided links to transcripts, and also the views of Dan H, as one who works in a correctional facility.

I LOVE this site.


Unknown said...

It is incredibly helpful to read the show transcripts instead of watching. The show used many tools for persuasion (music, lighting, cut scenes, etc) .I think that the crucial part of the Steven Avery Show is that collect call he made to Barbara Dassey after Brendan's arrest. He is calling to find out what Brendan has told to police. He knows she is emotional and uses her emotional state to manipulate her back to, if not his side, at least to undecided. The telling part is when she states that her son is going to prison for life, the first thing he does is ask "what about me?" I don't even think her used Brendan's name once in that phone call. I suggest checking out that part of the transcripts or listening to that part of the show again. Let me know if I'm off base

Jo said...

Could you provide more info as to where - which episode and where in episode - for this phone call between SA & his sis? Thank you.

Unknown said...

Jo, first I miss-remembered a part of that conversation. My apologies. Avery doesn't ask "what about me: after Barb states Dassey is going to prison for life. My point still stands though because he asks what about me after Barb says Dassey is going down for something according to her, something he would never do. I pasted the episode 3 section I was referencing below and the link to the transcript site.

[phone line ringing]
Barb: Hello?
recorded voice: This is a collect call from an inmate at the Calumet County jail. To accept this call, dial five now.
Steven: Yeah?
Barb: Yeah?
Steven: What?
Barb: You got $100,000 for me?
Steven: Where am I gonna get it from?
Barb: What do you mean?
Steven: What's the $100,000 for?
Barb: An attorney for my son.
Steven: He's got an attorney.
Barb: Well, I just lost him, OK?
Steven: How?
Barb: What do you mean "how"? Because he's second cousins with Halbach.
Steven: How can I help?
Barb: Well, he sure the f*ck didn't do it by himself.
Steven: Well, I certainly didn't do it.
Barb: Where did Brendan get all this sh1t from? He's going down for something that he would've never ever f*cking did.
Steven: Oh, what about me?
Barb: Why would he say this about you then? You tell me. He was over by you that night. Steven: That night he came over, we had the bonfire and he was home by 9:00, 'cause Jodi called me at 9:00, and I was in the house already.
Barb: So you're telling me when he got off the bus, he didn't come over by you with an envelope from out of my mailbox?
Steven: No, he did not.
Barb: Then what the f*ck are they trying to do?
Steven: You'd have to ask him.
Barb: So my son's gonna go to prison?
Steven: Well, I don't know.
Barb: What do you mean, you don't know? Yes, he is gonna. Life in prison he's gonna get. And he's only 16.
Steven: It ain't my fault. Is it? It ain't my fault at all. Just by his statement right there, he's got life. And there ain't nothing I can do with that. Why would he admit to something?
Barb: How do I know?
Steven: Well, that's what you gotta figure out.
Barb: How am I supposed to figure that out when he's in there and I'm out here?
Steven: Well, you go see him and you talk to him and tell him to be straight with you. Where'd he get this from? You know? Ask questions. Because it didn't happen over by me. Barb: Well, it didn't happen by me either.
Steven: Well, then it happened somewhere else.
Well, just see what you can do and if nothing else, if you want me to call you, let Ma know. Barb: Yeah, OK, then.
Steven: All right, then.
Barb: All right.
Steven: I love you.
Barb: Yeah.
Steven: OK, then.
Barb: Bye.
Steven: Bye.

(This is Barb but not on the phone with Steven)
When I first read the report, I was mad and disgusted. But then hearing from Brendan last night, I just changed my whole attitude. I mean, I believe in my son, and I believe he's telling the truth when he told his first statement. And that they interrogated him and made him say what they wanted to hear.

Read more at:

Hey Jude said...

Heather - thank you for posting the phone call.

Well, there's definitely an 'it' which he is acknowledging, 'it' just didn't happen at Steve's house. It seems as far as Steve is concerned, it's Brendan own 'fault' if he gets life in prison because he shouldn't have admitted to 'something'. An 'it' and a 'something' do not make a nothing. Plus there's the 'certainly' and the 'at all'. And Brendan was at the bonfire, though I can hardly believe they burned Teresa's body there under the window - unless that was some weird type of normal in that family, which it could not have been, as there would have been evidence of other victims, if he, or anyone, had done that before.

mom2many said...

Yes, Hey Jude.

Steven: Well, then it happened somewhere else.

That looks like an admission to me.

Hey Jude said...

I think so - particularly as there's no RD and it would have been so simple for him to have made one there.

mom2many said...

Do most people understand the colloquialism "by me" or "by you" from the transcript above? In Wisconsin, it is a common way of saying "at my/your place." The person may not be present, it just references the home or property. So, when Barbara and Steven say, "It didn't happen by me," they mean that the murder didn't take place at their respective homes. NOT that it didn't happen at their hands, which might be inferred if you are not familiar with the phrase (not implicating Barbara here, just focusing on that one phrase). I'd never heard the phrase used this way until I moved up here, and my father is a flat-lander (Wisconsinite for Illinois) so I don't know how far the phrase reaches, but not down that far.

Unknown said...

This is in regards to body language. In the show, they try to make the point of Dassey's jury not being shown the part of his 3/1/06 confession where his mother enters the room and he tells her that they "got in his head." Now, from what I understand about deciding the honesty of a person, there are body language cues to check, one being obstructive face touching. In all 3 parts of the police interview, there is picking, touching and rubbing by Dassey of his nails, chin and lip. While this could be considered suspect, he also does these same actions when left alone by the police. To me, this all came off as self soothing (like thumb sucking and ear holding) since there was little deviation between "alone Dassey" face touching and "in the middle of a police interview" Dassey face touching. This changes when he is told Barb, his mother was coming into the interview room. He almost immediately masks his face. When he, Barb, and the police are in the room together, Dassey is silent only muttering "hi" or "why" (hard to tell from audio). When it's just Dassey and Barb, he withdraws his face's viability even more and further sucks his body inward. This is also the only time he speaks to her. He immediately stops when the police re-enter. After Barb is gone, he slowly begin to relax, often displaying the same body language consistently seen in the pre-Barb interview.

Now, this could very well be the reaction you'd see in someone who, after a police interview, is being arrested and has to face their mom. However, it looked more to me like a person that just couldn't look at their mom because they knew they bore some of the burden of guilt. I also found it troubling that when he did talk to her, it was a conversation of denial and manipulation, similar to the one between Barb and Avery, with both trying to learn what the other was saying and both appearing to try and manipulate an emotional Barbara into believing them innocent victims of the police.

From the Heart said...

Anyone who saw even a part of Brendan talking can see he is not comprehending any of this. He believed the investigator his first lawyer had evaluate him, by confessing he would have a life and family someday. He never made eye contact and his face was expressionless. Clearly he has a lack of something. Brendan was 16 at the time and unless they taped Barb saying they could talk to him I do not believe the police. I find it interesting that the DA would speak at the press conference as if he was opening the case and presenting it to the courts. He convicted and tried Brendan for the media. I also find it interesting that the cause of death changed per the DA. I find it interesting that there was none of the victims DNA found in any of the places they say she was? Odd? The state took care of the evidence and there would naturally not be a way to identify if anything was falsified etc. Still no DNA from the victim. I also have to question the interview with the PD and DA when asked about the police who were accused of setting stephen up helping when clearly those same men who were disposed actually offered to assist. Evidence found after several searches? How many people then missed this in the prior searches? Do the CSI need better training that they could not find it and it ironically took officers accused of wrongdoing to find this which per the picture was clearly in plain site? A drawing or someone's fetishes no matter how strange they are, this is not evidence they are a killer. Nor is owning handcuffs, porn or fighting with family.
I know of three teens who were tried and convicted by the public in a murder. One gave a false confession. They were too 16 and 17 and interviewed without a parent. Several hours and one of the kids finally confessed. Low and behold two others were the real killers.
These cops were dirty and not one of them should have been at the scene.

JennCav said...


The Reid Technique of reading that type of body language for signs of deception is proven ineffective.

Ricks said...

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