The filmmakers behind Netflix’s “Making a Murderer” documentary expected a backlash that would lead people in the media to demonize Steven Avery, the Wisconsin man whose prosecution in the 2005 death of a woman formed the centerpiece of the 10-part series, the Associated Press reports. Laura Ricciardi and Moira Demos, at a news conference yesterday, sought to deflect discussion on the question of Avery’s guilt or innocence and instead pointed to questions raised about the criminal justice system in their film. “Making a Murderer” has led many people who have seen it to take up the cause of Avery, who served 18 years in prison after a wrongful conviction of rape, and two years after his release was charged in the death of photographer Teresa Halbach.
The documentary questions whether Avery was treated fairly. Prosecutors, who the filmmakers say declined their request to participate in “Making a Murderer,” say the film omits physical evidence against Avery. A former fiancee of Avery last week called Avery “a monster” who had threatened to kill her. “The media are demonizing this man in order to prove his guilt,” Ricciardi said. She said she would not want to be treated by the criminal justice system the way Avery was. “We did not consider this advocacy journalism in the least,” Demos said. “We are not taking sides. We don’t have a stake in his character, in his innocence or guilt. That was not the question that we were raising.” She said that “if you watch the series, I think it’s clear that the American criminal justice system has some serious problems and that it is urgent that we address them.”