By Jax West
I watched ‘Making a Murderer’ on Netflix back in December and I have been obsessed ever since. I was immediately convinced of both Steven Avery and Brendan Dassey’s innocence. But please don’t tell me that I was swayed by a one-sided documentary. That is an insult of my intelligence. Why do the haters think they are guilty? Because two juries said they were? So what are your thoughts on O.J.? A jury said he wasn’t guilty? Have you ever served on a jury? I have. It was a joke. There were people who purposely dragged our deliberation out just so they could get the free meals. Someone else was going to let the guy go over what the legal definition of the word “possession”. There is just so much wrong with our legal system that I don’t know where to begin. But again, don’t tell me I was swayed by a show, as I have also read all the transcripts and watched Brendan’s interrogations videos in their entirety. I have done my homework. Have you?
If there was credible evidence to prove that Steven and Brendan were guilty, I would say they were guilty. Why would I defend them otherwise? I don’t know them. I don’t have any stake on their guilt or innocence. People say they don’t know why I would get so involved in something that is just drama and has nothing to do with me. I am sorry but this is something that I feel is so horrible that I have to try to do something. ANYTHING.
After I watched MaM, I spent the next month reading and watching anything I could find on the case. I browsed through the Facebook groups, and I even went to Reddit for the first time ever and fell down that rabbit hole for quite some time. Then I saw on a Facebook Page that they were considering having a protest against Wiegert and Fassbender who were going to do a speaking engagement at a law enforcement convention in Naperville. Well, Zellner’s office is a town over to my right, Naperville is a town over to my left. I was in! I contacted the page and let them know I lived right there and would do anything they needed.
I was asked to find out if a permit was needed, etc. So I called the Naperville Police Department. I was nervous about having a protest there as it is a big town and a RICH town. Penny Beernsten moved there for awhile too. But the Naperville PD were so nice about it. No permit needed. They gave me the run down of the do’s and don’ts. I was told to call them an hour before so they could protect our rights as well.
Sweet. GAME ON! My boyfriend owns a print shop in Naperville so I had him make flyers. I have an old friend on my Facebook and I knew her husband was involved in the Amanda Knox case. I didn’t know the extent of it. But I asked her if he would have any advice for me on doing a protest. He sure did and then some. He is a wealth of knowledge as he runs Injustice Anywhere.
Brendan Dassey is an Injustice Anywhere featured case. Bruce asked me if I would be part of a Brendan site he was planning on putting together. I don’t know how Bruce does it but he looks after multiple cases. I said I would be happy to do whatever he needed. So FreeBrendan.org was born. I currently write articles for the site and I do most of the posting on the Free Brendan Facebook page.
As it turned out, the Wiegert and Fassbender speaking engagement ended up being cancelled. I called both the venue and the Law Enforcement Agency to find out if it has been rescheduled. Both took down my name and number and said they would get back to me.
As time went on, I found my way into the Official Family Facebook Group. I started talking with the family spokesperson, Carla Chase, who is also Steven’s niece and Brendan’s cousin. I was surprised at how warm and inviting she was. After everything this family has been through you would think she wouldn’t talk to anyone. They have just been burned too many times.
We came across this petition on Facebook that a woman named Jenny Holden from the UK had created, titled “Brendan Dassey’s Law.” This was a brilliant idea and I don’t know why it isn’t a law already. I actually always thought it was. This law would prevent minors from being interrogated without a lawyer present. Getting a law passed is not an easy feat. This woman was working hard but the petition lacked clarity and it was not being presented in the United States where the requested law need would be enacted. So we contacted Jenny and we have now teemed up, bringing the petition to the US, in order to give it the best chance at success. Please take a moment to read, sign and share this petition here.
I attended Brendan’s lawyers free speaking engagement in Chicago. You can read that recap here. We learned a lot about minors being coerced into confessing to things they didn’t do. How the Reid Technique is just a horrible way to gauge how someone is lying.
I also attended the Strang/ Buting speaking engagement in Milwaukee. You can read that recap here.
I had always thought until I saw Strang/ Buting that it was illegal to question a minor without a parent or lawyer present. I talked to my 22-year-old son afterwards and told him that no matter what the police question him about he has to tell them that he can’t talk without a lawyer. You just never know. I would have been just like Brendan. There are authority figures. We are told to respect them and you answer them when they ask you a question. I am 44-years-old. If a cop asks me something, I am going to answer it thinking if I asked for a lawyer I would be seen as guilty. So can you imagine being a scared 16-year-old boy? Brendan was no match for them and was led into incriminating himself for a crime he didn’t commit. It is heartbreaking.
We have recently found out that Ken Kratz has plans to hop on the MaM bandwagon in search of monetary gain. Kratz has a speaking engagement planned in Rockford, IL, with Jeanine Pirro of Faux News. Being that Rockford is only an hour or an hour and a half from my house, I thought it would be best to begin planning another protest. Your can view the details of our upcoming Ken Kratz protest on our Facebook event page.
Shortly after organizing the protest, I was asked by a confidential person to attend the Kratz protest to write up a recap like I have done for previous speaking engagements. I was so torn about that. Kratz literally repulses me. What a horrible man. Not only did he convict two innocent men of crimes they didn’t commit, (and don’t get me started on how he can prosecute two people for the same crime but different circumstances… Was she killed in the trailer? The garage? Raped? Hair cut? Stabbed? Throat slit? Shot? Huh?) but he is hardly a paragon of virtue. That man preyed on battered woman and forced them to have sex with him. And he says Brendan raped a girl? Puhlease! Then he blames it on prescription pills. Give me a break. He is certainly no prize.
I don’t want to see this disgusting man and I don’t want to give him any money. I want to be out their protesting this event. But, the person was right, I had written up Steven’s past lawyers and Brendan’s current lawyers, so I should see what Kratz has to say. The tickets had gone on sale at 10 am that morning. I bought tickets at 8 pm and got front row, center, seats 3 and 4. So had only two seats sold that whole day?
Since my boyfriend owns a print shop, I asked Carla if they would be interested in selling a t-shirt that would benefit Brendan. We opened up to the members of the family group to come up with ideas for what it should say. They came up with some great ideas. We went with an orange shirt as it’s Brendan’s favorite color. The profits made on the sales of that shirt will go to Brendan’s canteen. He can use that money to buy toiletries, snacks, books, etc. Then we designed another shirt and the profits from those sales will go to Brendan’s lawyers to use however it’s needed. You can order shirts here.
Please don’t tell me that this is a way the family, or specifically Carla, is stealing money. I don’t know why this poor family is constantly being beaten up by people. They have been through so much. More than many of us will ever go through. I see the complaints about gas cards being sent to Barb and Delores. Are you kidding me? I am not the only person that just wants to help any way I can. Some people want to help Delores and Barb since they have to drive to the prisons all the time. I see nothing wrong with that whatsoever. Is a person WANTS to do this, it’s their money and their right to do with it what they want with it.
Now that brings me to this past weekend. I asked Carla if I could come up to the Avery Salvage yard because I just wanted to walk the Pam Sturm “Path of God” for myself. I can not believe she was able to find that car in that salvage yard in under 20 minutes. Once again, this family, who has been burned by so many, gave me permission to come up.
We parked at the office and then started the Go Pro and started our walk to RAV4 location. We walked directly there. We weren’t stopping to look for our loved one or her vehicle. I know it’s spring but it was also really cold and windy so we were walking at a faster pace than we would have been if it was nice out. It took us about 7 minutes to get to the spot where the RAV4 was found. You can watch that video here:
By actually taking that walk for myself, it has convinced me that there is just no way Pam and Nikole Sturm were able to find the car in under 20 minutes without knowing where they were going. Just not possible. Plus I was told the majority of people, when they come to the office, begin their walk going in the opposite direction.
As I surveyed the land, I saw how a quarry backs right up to the area where the RAV4 was found. Since that time they have had to build up some berms to keep people out, but back then there were roads from the quarry that went right into the Salvage Yard. There would have been no way for anyone from the family residences to see someone entering that area. Unless your dumb enough to have headlights on or maybe see taillights as both Steven and Chuck Avery have said one night they saw lights on the other side of the Yard. If I lived there, and I killed someone and needed to get rid of a body quickly, I would most definitely put it out in that quarry. It looks like you could hide a lot of things out there.
And come on. You have a car crusher and instead you not only hide the car on your property but then you make it so it is the ONLY car with things leaning up on it to make it stick out like a sore thumb? If you have a car crusher you are going to crush that thing down to a tiny box and then put it in another vehicle and crush that. No one would ever find it again. But no, Steven and Brendan hide the car on their property and then they drive up to Crivitz. Makes perfect sense to me.
Next thing to talk about is the bus driver. I know why Strang/ Buting pushed her timeline as she drives the same route every day so she is going to have a better idea of what time she was there. But looking at where she drops the kids off and where Barb’s van was that Teresa Halbach was taking pictures of, there is no way the bus driver could see what was going on down there. It’s way too long of a stretch. You can look at my pictures of it. Keep in mind that back then the trees had leaves, there was tall corn on one side and cars parked all along the other. There’s just no way the bus driver saw Teresa taking pictures.
That brings us to the Burn Pit. Bravo to whomever from Manitowoc Sheriff’s Department that took the crime scene photos of that. It turns out that the Burn Pit is right behind Steven’s garage around 8 feet away from the building. Plus the propane tank was right there. Just not possible to have a 10-foot tall fire there. And if it was windy? The Salvage Yard is right behind there, so no trees = no windbreak. So you would be pushing the fire towards the garage. It Just didn’t happen.
The Avery family that I met last weekend were just the nicest, sweetest people. I met Carla, her husband Stacy, Barb and Chuck. It just renews my enthusiasm for this story and makes me want to do even more to help them. It really upsets me what has happened to this family. I am a white girl from a Chicago suburb. You hear stories of people being prejudiced against but it’s never truly affected my life. That’s why the phrase we have on one of the shirts is perfect. Think it can’t happen to you? Wrong! We all live on Avery Road. This can happen to anyone, anytime.
What bothers to me the most about this case, is what happened to Brendan. As Bob Milan, at Brendan’s laywer’s speaking event, said, “everyone failed Brendan. The Sheriffs, the cops, his lawyer, the disgraced prosecutor, the judge.”
Don’t just sit back and do nothing when you see an injustice. Get involved. Have your voice heard. Don’t just take what the press tells you at face value.
Injustice Anywhere will be doing a radio show on Brendan’s case on April 12, in which I will be a guest. She show begins at 8 pm CDT and runs for about an hour. The show will be available in the Injustice Anywhere radio archive for those who can’t listen live. You can listen to the show live here.
There are protests being scheduled all over the globe, not just in the United States. Ireland and Australia both have protests in the works. There is a Facebook Group for people who want to be a part of planning a protest. Feel free to join here.