Steven Avery, 44, who became the public face of efforts in Wisconsin to free wrongly convicted prisoners, was found guilty yesterday of killing Teresa Halbach in a verdict that the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel says made legal history. Avery is the second person to be convicted of a serious crime after being freed from prison through DNA testing and the first to be convicted of killing someone, says the Innocence Project. The murder of Halbach, a 25-year-old photographer, means a mandatory life prison term for Avery.
The jury acquitted Avery of mutilating Halbach’s corpse. His attorneys said the homicide and mutilation verdicts appeared inconsistent. Avery who served 18 years in prison for a 1985 sexual assault he did not commit. Much of Wisconsin was gripped by the case, which began with Halbach’s disappearance on the afternoon of Halloween 2005.