In 2007 Steven Avery was convicted of killing Teresa Halbach and is currently serving life in prison. If you watched the ten-episode Netflix series, Making a Murderer, you may have an opinion as to whether he killed her, or if he was wrongly convicted for a second time.
Making a decision on his guilt or innocence merely based on 10 hours of film is unrealistic and unjust. How can you make an informed decision without all the facts?
The producers of the documentary admitted they only included the information they felt was relevant. They filmed over a ten year period and collected over 200 hours of film. Imagine the multitude of additional information related to this case that wasn’t included in those 200 hours.
Even as a solid, educated, deception/credibility specialist, I am not prepared to weigh in on his guilt or innocence. I would need much more information than what I gathered merely binge watching this 10 hour series.
However, from a credibility standpoint I do want to address Steven’s denial during an interrogation shown in Episode 2. If you want to reference his statements, and are a Netflix subscriber, you’ll find it at the 0:49 mark.
Steven tells investigators Mark Wiegert and Tom Fassbender, “I did not do it. I did not do it. I didn’t do it.” When asked Who did it? he responds, “I don’t know. I do not know. I didn’t do this one. I didn’t do it. I didn’t do nothin’. How could I make a mistake if I didn’t do nothing? I didn’t do nothing. I didn’t do nothin’. “ Then again at 0:51 he says, “I’m not scared. I didn’t do it. I did not kill her. I did not do this.”
In just those extremely brief interactions, twelve (12) times Steven Avery says he did not do it. If you have not watched the series, you may not be aware that his baseline language includes poor grammar. Therefore the double negatives are not relevant here.
When someone says, “I didn’t do it” he is denying the act. He is telling us he did not commit the crime or he did not commit a certain act. The only true denial is to state, “I didn’t do it” or to specifically deny the act itself by saying, “I didn’t kill her” or “I didn’t rape her.” Conversely, if a person says, “I had nothing to do with it,” that is not a true denial.
Richard Jewell’s Denial
Remember Richard Jewell, the security guard who discovered the bomb at the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta before it detonated? A twenty minute documentary of what happened can be seen here on ESPN.
“Everyone in the world thought he bombed the park because of the way he was portrayed by the media.” – G Watson Bryant Jr, Jewell’s attorney
Law Enforcement believed he planted the bomb and then pretended to find it for the publicity. Richard immediately denied planting the bomb. When asked if he planted the bomb. Jewell responded, “No sir, I didn’t.”
The following day Richard said, “I’m innocent. I didn’t do it.” Two months later the FBI still considered him a suspect. Richard continued to deny his involvement stating, “They don’t have anything to arrest me on and they never will because I did not do it.”
Four months later it was announced that Richard Jewell was no longer a suspect. In 2005, Eric Rudolph pled guilty to planting the bomb. While it is standard practice and it was necessary that authorities question Richard Jewell, it was more necessary that they listen to what he was saying.
When a person says, “I didn’t do it” he is denying the act which is considered credible in a denial.
Am I saying that because Richard Jewell was exonerated that Steven Avery should be too? No. As I said above making an informed decision on his guilt or innocence merely based on 10 hours of film is unrealistic and unjust. How can you make a decision without all the facts?
Listen carefully to what people are saying. What you want to hear may not be what they are saying.