Strang and Buting’s Theory of Everything. 
Just FYI, the title of this post is a bit generous. I couldn’t resist.
This post will not go over everything, but it will go over:
- A few excerpts from the opening and closing statements that should provide a crystal clear picture of the theory DS and JB presented to the jury on how Steven’s blood ended up in the RAV.
- Motive, Means and Opportunity (The who, the what, the where, the when, the why)
- The Vial and The Alleles
- A lesson(?) from Kratz in statistics
- (Bonus Section) What DS and JB got right.
Dean Connects the Past and Present
Below I have grouped together some excerpts from Dean’s opening statement. Just FYI, not every excerpt included speaks to how the blood was planted.
Dean Strang – Opening Statement:
Dean Strang: Thank you, your Honor. Good afternoon. This summer it will be 22 years, 22 years since a woman running on the beach in Manitowoc was raped and beaten nearly to death. The Manitowoc County Sheriff’s Department investigated those awful crimes and they charged Steven Avery with rape and attempted murder on that Manitowoc beach, 22 summers ago.
DS: As that case was making its way through the Manitowoc County Circuit Court, just one county over,Teresa Marie Halbach was five and was starting kindergarten. Somewhere else, somewhere we don’t know, a man named Gregory Allen, presumably, was laughing and planning his next violent rape.
A Serious Lawsuit Meets An October Moon
DS: In 2003, when Steven went home, Teresa Halbach also was home. Her photography business was flourishing and things were going reasonably well. In 2004, Steven Avery filed a lawsuit seeking some recompense for the hole in his life, the time he had spent as an innocent man, for the crimes that Gregory Allen committed. This was a serious lawsuit. It was in federal court, down in Milwaukee.
DS: And October comes to a close. It’s about three days later, Thursday November 3, when Mrs. Halbach reports Teresa missing. Teresa lives almost next door to the elder Halbachs; I mean, the two houses, you can see the one from the other.
DS: November 5, Saturday, Steven has left to go to the family cabin up in Crivitz, early that morning, where Allen goes every weekend and most of the family goes up too. Steven has gone up on Saturday morning. But about 10:15 on Saturday morning, Pam and Nikole Sturm find the Toyota they suspect, correctly, as it turns out, is Teresa’s.
A Lack of Blood v. An Abundance of focus
DS: You can call it tunnel vision, you can call it investigative bias, but from that point on, this investigation is about Steven Avery and not much else. Before the police say they have even opened the car; before they say they know of any blood of any sort in or on the car; before anybody even knows whether this young woman has been hurt or killed, the focus is on Steven Avery.
DS: In the end, when you have heard it all, there’s not a speck of Teresa Halbach’s blood anywhere in Steven Avery’s trailer. There’s not a piece of hair, nothing, nothing to suggest she’s ever been in the trailer.And only the magic bullet found months later to suggest she’s ever been anywhere near the garage.
Where It Ought To Be
DS: And when you consider the forces, the emotions, the very human failings at work here, it’s no surprise that the blood from that unsecured vial, in the box, in the Clerk’s Office, that Lieutenant Lenk examined back in 2002, ends up in that Toyota. Because that’s where it ought to be. “Is he in custody yet?”
Steven Avery’s Miraculous Alleles.
Please enjoy this brief reminder of the science behind Avery’s failed 1995 appeal.
- Upon fertilization of the egg, both the sperm and the egg deliver a single allele into the cellular oven. A single allele is a basic expression of a gene, and the dominant or recessive gene being expressed depends on what combination / location your two alleles found themselves upon one’s conception.
- By some way of divine miracle, Steven Avery and PB had the same alleles, while Gregory Allen had a slightly more unique set of alleles.
- This allowed Avery’s attorneys to prove that, without doubt, the skin cells recovered from under PB’s fingernails in 1985 did not come from Steven Avery. At the time (1996) the technology was advanced enough to exclude Avery as the donor of skin cells, but not advanced enough to point to who the donor was. It would not be until 2003 when the pubic hair was tested and connected to Gregory Allen that Steven would be released.
Now with our lesson in genetics out of the way …
Below Dean details events that lead to Avery’s vial of blood being in possession of Manitowoc County.
Dean Strang – Opening Statement
DS: Steven Avery took a chance and had blood drawn, a little vial of blood. It was sent off, through the help of his lawyers, for early DNA testing. It couldn’t clear him entirely. It helped, but it did not conclusively prove Steven Avery’s innocence of the attempted murder and rape on the Manitowoc beach. *And when the tests failed to prove him entirely innocent, that blood was sent back, in a box sealed with evidence tape, to the Manitowoc County Clerk of Court. And there, in that blood vial, sealed in the box with evidence tape, took up residence in the now year old file of the case; in a box, in the open, in the Manitowoc County Clerk of Court’s Office. And there it sat.
Pointing the Finger
DS: A person from the Manitowoc County Sheriff’s Department who documented the things that were sent from that old court file to the Crime Laboratory and, therefore, presumably looked at the box and assisted in deciding what to send. That person was, by that time, a lieutenant — or a detective, now a lieutenant, named James Lenk.
Jerry Buting – Closing Statement
JB: The blood vial. And I offer that — and we have offered that as a possible source of the blood that’s found, Mr. Avery’s blood that’s found in the RAV. It was in a public office, in an unsecured area; not in a vault where they keep locked up exhibits only; not down in the basement where they normally keep old files; but in that battered old cardboard box that we saw sitting in the Clerk’s Office, because there were so many requests to see it, from the media and the public, that they made it more convenient … So there would certainly be no reason for these clerks to take note or think that some police officer, Lieutenant Colborn, or Sergeant Colborn, I’m sorry, Lieutenant Lenk or Sergeant Colborn, would have any nefarious intent by looking at Mr. Avery’s file.
JB: The box, you have seen the video, I’m not going to go through all that again, but I want to just remind you, show you the box. Evidence tape is very clearly cut, opened, and the box is resealed with nothing but a piece of scotch tape.
The above post details exactly how unsecured and accessible that vial was.
JB: As even Dr. LeBeau admitted. This vial has blood in between the rubber stopper and the glass, so that the experts who use these things all time, could say, even Dr. LeBeau, I believe is the one, who said this vial, clearly the top had clearly been taken off. So, there’s evidence that the box was unsecured and the top had been removed at some point. And the blood is still liquid. And we’re only talking about a few drops. That’s all that’s necessary to leave the amount of blood that they found in that RAV, a few drops, that’s all. So then there’s the question of the opportunity to plant blood.
The Billion Word Lecture
So at this point we have the who (Lenk) and the what (the vial). Also, Buting provided us with part of the how – the opportunity that would be needed for Lenk to acquire the blood.
As I was researching Buting’s position concerning when Lenk had the opportunity to plant the blood, I came across this excerpt from Buting’s closing:
Closing Statement – Jerry Buting
JB: There was blood identified in the RAV, that is, Mr. Avery’s. And I don’t know why, frankly, we went through this exercise in statistics in figuring out what a billion means, when we’re not, we’ve never challenged that. We don’t challenge that — whether his profile — when they come in and they say this is his blood, this is not his blood, or whatever, there is no dispute on that.
Kratz: An Exercise in Statistics
Below is the excerpt from Ken Kratz’ closing statement that Buting was referring to when he said, ‘I don’t know why, frankly, we went through this exercise in statistics in figuring out what a billion means.’
(quick excerpt – Ken Kratz – Closing Statement)
KK: To get to a billion, you first have to know what one out of a hundred is.
KK: Pick up 1 white marble and think of 99 black marbles. Can you picture that?
KK: That’s the numbers that we’re talking about, you need to visualize something. Well, four quintillion, four quintillion, a quintillion. I hope you get this. A quintillion is a million billion, it’s a million times more than what I just talked about. A million times you would have to do that with the black marbles going back to the time of the late 1700s.
A previous post of mine mainly dealt with this rather bizarre excerpt. At the time, it was rather confusing, so confusing that I wasn’t even positive in what way he was trying to mislead the jury. However, reading the above from Buting finally helped clear things up for me.
JB: …And I don’t know why, frankly, we went through this exercise in statistics in figuring out what a billion means, when we’re not, we’ve never challenged that. We don’t challenge that…
An AHA Moment
Kratz was spending an inordinate amount of time on this billion word lecture to hammer into the minds of the jury that this was Steven’s blood that was found in the RAV.
Funnily enough, when it is Buting’s turn, he even conveys his confusion, feigned or otherwise, to the jury. Why does Kratz bother with that at all? We have never challenged that.
Perhaps Kratz planned his billion word lecture for the jury because knew something about the blood that Jerry didn’t.
Opportunity: Part Two
JB: The question is, how did that blood get there. And as you think, again, what a case would look like if someone is framed, this is very important as well. Because in the RAV, they find five, ultimately six stains, I believe, which they theorize must have come from an actively bleeding person, which means, the person was not wearing gloves, and yet, they find no fingerprints.
Incriminating Locations of Unidentified Prints
JB: Besides, we know that there are eight unidentified fingerprints, at this moment, that were found on that vehicle, including some very incriminating locations.
JB: Dr. — Mr. Riddle, I asked him, well, you took the fingerprint standards of Lieutenant Lenk and Sergeant Colborn. You know what the defense here is. You know what we have been accusing them of for the last month or more. Did they ask you to compare these unidentified latents that were found on Teresa Halbach’s vehicle with Sergeant Colborn or Lieutenant Lenk’s standards, to see if you could rule them out, or match. The answer, no. Why? because they don’t want you to know.
JB: You cannot open this vehicle without touching that latch. And this is where he said he found them, the fingerprints. There, there, and there. Riddle also found them on the hood. Isn’t that interesting. He says the lifting up of the hood has been a big part of the State’s case. No one has compared those to Lenk and Colborn.
Of course, there was another individual who did not have their fingerprints compared. I am fairly confident most will know who that is without me spelling his name out.
Bloodless Ringing Bells
JB: No blood spatter on the walls or the ceiling. No bloody trail of a body being carried out of that bedroom into the garage or into the burn pit. Nothing on the carpet. Nothing on the back stoop, the deck, anywhere. No scratches on the headboard. No rope fibers on the headboard. Nothing that would indicate somebody restrained, struggling for their life, was murdered in that bedroom. Why am I telling you this?
Buting is telling them this, as I discovered, because he wished to hint that the jury was not to even consider the enormously biased pre trial publicity in this case. He takes his time getting there, and when KK realizes what is up, he objects.
ATTORNEY KRATZ: Judge, I’m going to interpose an objection. He is commenting on pre-trial or out of court statements, whether by counsel or by other witnesses. That is absolutely improper.
One of those times when my head just might explode if I think about it too much.
ATTORNEY BUTING: I agree. That’s as far as I was going with it. I wasn’t going to draw any more references to it, other than to remind them how I think this is the best example, now that they have been through the process, to understand why it is so important for them to only judge the case on the facts, not speculating.
THE COURT: That’s fine. Anything else, Mr. Kratz?
ATTORNEY KRATZ: I’m not sure how to un-ring that bell, Judge.
THE COURT: Both parties have made arguments about un-ringing bells.
An Incomplete Property Room
I am not confident how things worked in this case, but it is not uncommon that a jury will be allowed to examine exhibits that have been admitted into evidence. Not just pictures either, the real deal. Below, Buting points out an obivous fact to the jury.
ATTORNEY BUTING (To Jury): They don’t want you experimenting with that bookcase and this key,because they know you will see that it is incredibly improbable that this key is going to find it’s way out, the key, the ring, the cloth fob, the plastic clip, and not get hung up on anything. It’s going to bounce around like they say it will. So you ask yourself why you haven’t seen that, right there in the property room. Nice picture of it.
Again, Kratz catches on a little late, after the damage has been done, but he still objects.
ATTORNEY KRATZ: Judge, I’m going to interpose an objection. Counsel is suggesting that only the State could have introduced that, instead of the defense.
ATTORNEY BUTING: State’s burden, your Honor.
THE COURT: I’m over —
ATTORNEY KRATZ: He’s suggesting only the State —
THE COURT: This is closing argument, the objection is overruled.
Kratz: I’ve Made A Huge Mistake
While researching a previous post of mine (Examining the Cross Examination of Sherry Culhane) I came across this moment from the Jury Trial:
Jerry Buting Cross Examining Sherry Culhane
JB: And, so, if Mr. Kratz, in his opening statement, told this jury, with a power point slide, right up here showing that, with the circle around that rear door, and said that that would — there would be evidence that Mr. Avery’s DNA was on that door handle, that would be wrong, wouldn’t it?
SC: Based on my results, I didn’t find Steven Avery’s DNA on that sample.
This is clearly not a mistake. I did try and find the moment JB was referring to in KK’s opening, but due to my low tolerance for manipulative ass-hats, I tire quickly when reading words uttered by Kratz. However, while researching this post I found the answer. It was not something Kratz said with words, but with an arrow.
Candid Court Room
ATTORNEY BUTING: While we’re at it, while we’re talking about candor with the jury, I don’t know if you recall,but I do, in the opening statements, these nice Power Point presentations that Mr. Kratz has prepared, one of them he puts up there in his opening statement and he shows this tailgate. Puts up a nice PowerPoint slide showing the rear of the vehicle like this. And he’s going through where Mr. Avery’s blood, DNA, was found on Teresa Halbach’s vehicle. And he’s got one of his nice slick arrows pointing right here with a circle.
JB: I see that and I think, my gosh, I have been working on this case for months, did I miss that; how could I miss that the client’s blood is supposedly on the back tailgate. Well, when I looked more carefully, and as we heard from Sherry Culhane, he was wrong. There was no blood of Mr. Avery ever found on the rear of that vehicle on the tailgate. Now, Mr. Kratz is human, we all make mistakes; I have certainly made plenty here. But that’s a pretty big mistake.
This probably does not amount to prosecutorial misconduct, but, again, it was most certainly not a mistake.
A Tarped View
Buting, Closing Statement – Concerning the RAV4:
JB: How carefully was it being watched? Mr. Kratz told you that it was being maintained very securely and carefully. Well, we heard that until Special Agent Fassbender arrived there was no log at all of who was coming and going, looking at this main piece of evidence that they knew about. They rely on two civilians, Nikole and Pamela Sturm, to be their watch dogs.
JB: And there was a tarp over the RAV, for, now, we find out, for an hour apparently, according to the digital signatures that we can find on digital photographs. And a tarp that’s built up in such a way that it’s practically a tent. That’s not the best picture, but from a distance, this large tented over object, being very careful not to have the tarp touch the sides, with a nice little opening here. Now, maybe that’s not when it was planted, but it’s certainly an opportunity.
Who, What, Where, When, Why
The Theory of Planted Blood
- from the Blood vial to the RAV4
- from the Clerks office to the Avery Property / RAV4
- Vial was collected at anytime by Lenk / Colborn.
- Blood was planted during the hour the RAV was under the tarp or when PS and NS were watching the vehicle from a large distance away.
- Kill the lawsuit
- Squash the depositions
- End the impending judicial reform.
For the record: The above is the theory DS and JB presented to the jury during the trial. I am not suggesting the above still holds up, only that this ^ is what the defense wanted the Jury to think.
Evidence of Planting in Real Life
The below is for anyone who suggests the framing defense put forth by Dean and Jerry was nonsense due to lack of evidence that pointed to evidence being planted.
JB: Now, Mr. Kratz, I can hear him now, he’s going to get up here and say, where is the evidence. This is all speculation. Where is the evidence. As if he would expect anybody who was being framed to have a videotape of the officer taking the vial of blood and planting it. Or as if he expects one of these police officers, in front of everybody, under oath, on streaming video on the internet, to admit, oh, yes, of course, I took the blood and planted it. Yes, I would admit that if I did it. Sure, I would go away to federal prison probably but, yeah, rather than lie under oath, I would rather go to prison than admit that. Come on. This is real life.
DS and JB: Missed Some – Nailed Some.
Kratz had two of Teresa’s co workers testify for the prosecution. They were both there mainly to put Teresa at Avery’s right around 2:27 pm on October 31, 2005, as well as to confirm Avery was the one to set up the appointment the morning of.
During the trial, over a year after Teresa’s death, DP (one of Teresa’s co workers) testified that TH called into the office just before arriving at the Avery property. How perfect. DP offered the prosecution a nice tight timeline.
However, long ago some valuable user discovered it seemed as though DP had been coached to appear more certain during her testimony. This is a common thread that runs through this case. Statements change, sometimes drastically, when you compare trial testimony to interviews recorded in the CASO Report.
DAWN further stated she had called TERESA in the afternoon, she believes, but she is not sure if she actually talked to TERESA or if she left her a message on her voice mail. DAWN states she makes a lot of phone calls during the day and does not remember.
Keep in mind, in the CASO Report, while being interviewed Dawn said she was not sure if she had talked to Teresa or if she just left her a voice mail.
DS: Finally, Ms Pliszka, were you able to and did you, in fact, speak with Teresa Halbach later that day?
DP: Yes, she called me at 2:27 and we talked —
(Oh. Also, keep in mind that DP originally said she was the one to call Teresa. Suddenly over a year later things have changed.)
DP: Teresa. She called me at 2:27 and we talked for a little while and she said, yeah, I’m able to go get that photo. By the way, it was the Avery brothers and I’m on my way out there right now.
DS: So 2:27 p.m. she told you she was on her way to the Avery property?
DS: Let me ask you this, Ms Pliszka, how do you remember that call?
DP: I remember because I looked at the time, because she didn’t normally work, I think, past 1:00 and I thought it was kind of late for her to be going out there. So I happened to look at the clock at that time, so.
Dawn, poor sweet Dawn … That wasn’t the question … but good to know where Kratz had your mind at.
The question was, How do you remember that call? not How do you remember what time you received that call?
- This Post by u/foghaze  detailing her analysis of Halbach’s cell phone activity on the day of her disappearance, including the 2:27 pm and 2:41 pm call.
Avery and Halbach: A Direct Connection
DS: Now, did you know that Mr. Avery had — You did know that Mr. Avery had Teresa’s direct phone number, right?
DP: No, I did not.
DS: Were you aware that he had done a privately arranged shoot with her on October 10th?
DP: I wasn’t — Those are called hustle shots and I didn’t have any information about those, so I wouldn’t have known.
DS: So, you don’t know whether somebody hailed her as she was leaving Steven Avery’s residence, somebody else on the Avery salvage property, a brother, customer, whatever, who hailed her and said, hey, let’s take a picture, private hustle shot of another vehicle, do you?
ATTORNEY KRATZ: Judge, objection, that does call for speculation.
ATTORNEY STRANG: Well, my question was, she doesn’t know, I’m trying to establish.
Different Co Worker – Same Argument
DS: But there’s something else where maybe 10 percent on average of a photographer’s shoots are called hustle shots, right?
DS: And those are where leads come, not from Auto Trader, but from the photographer him or herself?
DS: Okay. And when the photographer would — would schedule a hustle shot, it would not be on your list of appointments that were faxed to the photographer the morning of each day, whatever you said, 7:00 a.m., right?
DS: In fact, your office would not even know about any hustle shots, unless and until the photographer sent that information back to you at the end of the day; isn’t that right?
DS: So, on October 31st of 2005, if Teresa Halbach had done a hustle shot, you would not have known it in advance, would you?
DS: So if Teresa Halbach, after 3, 3:30, 4, whatever, later in the day on October 31st, went to do one of these hustle shots, you wouldn’t know it?
Lather, Rinse, Repeat
DS: Because you never got a completed fax like this back after October 31st?
DS: Or anything in the mail with the information from that hustle shot, correct?
DS: So the bottom line is, from your records, you don’t know and cannot tell this jury, whether or not Teresa Halbach left Mr. Avery’s property on October 31st and went somewhere else to do a hustle shot; isn’t that right?
AS: That’s correct.
DS: Thank you.
Memorization by Repetition
Without doubt, Dean and Jerry were using the idea of a hussle shot to their advantage. It is repeatedly hammered into the minds of the jury during the cross examination of DP and AS. Also, below, we see the first mention of a hussle shot, from Dean during his opening. Notice the use of repetition.
Dean Strang – Opening Statement:
Dean Strang: There’s another thing they can do and that’s called a hustle shot. The hustle shot is exactly that, it’s business that the photographer hustles up for herself, or for himself. You are going to learn that Teresa Halbach was good at hustle shots. She drummed up a lot of these. She was likeable. She was hard working. She was good at getting hustle shots. I have no idea — no idea at all and I don’t think you will either, unfortunately, whether she had a hustle shot, or two, or three, that day or not. It would not have been uncommon.
DS: It’s possible there are hustle shots that are not scheduled through Auto Trader after the Avery shot. Because after all, I mean, there’s a good bit of daylight left in the working day, I suppose. But we don’t know exactly.
A Theory Of Everything
I present a theory that DS and JB knew exactly what the fuck was up. All the way from the blood to the ‘sweat DNA’ to the hussle shots.
They might have even suspected, Shit, that blood might not be from the vial, or, Shit, that blood might not even be Steven’s.
Consider the possibilites:
- LE re-purposed blood found in a rag and planted it in the RAV,
- LE planted some random blood that did not come from Avery and had Sherry fabricate the results, or
- LE had access to a vial of Steven’s blood, in Manitowoc County, and they used said vial to plant Avery’s DNA in the RAV.
I don’t know what the truth is, but I know which would have been the easiest to argue to a jury.