The Club’s Commitment
The Club’s Commitment is another post by Redditor Needless_Things that I’ve saved because of how well thought out it is, and brings up a lot of interesting questions.
This post will focus on:
- Reviewing events leading up to the discovery of the Rav 4
- Which individual actually made the call and instigated the conflict of interest on November 5, 2005?
- Pre Trial Testimony of Pagel and Petersen concerning the week of Teresa’s death
- Jury Trial Testimony of Fassbender and Remiker.
From 1985 to 2005 (November 9th)
Here is a
quick timeline of events leading up to the discovery of the Rav:
- Steven Avery is the victim of malicious prosecution, and as an innocent man, is sent to jail for the crimes that Gregory Allen committed. Allen would go on to assault multiple other women
- Colborn receives a call containing information concerning Avery, he passes the information onto the Sheriff (at the time) Tom Kocourek, who suppresses the potentially exculpatory information. Steven Avery is, at the same time, right in the middle of Post-Conviction proceedings, asserting his innocence. All of his appeals are denied.
- New DNA testing exculpates Steven Avery and inculpates Gregory Allen. Steven is exonerated. Attorney General orders a DOJ investigation, ultimately finding nothing wrong with the handling of Steven’s 1985 case.
- Avery, via his attorney’s, files a civil complaint, alleging malicious prosecution, violation of due process, withholding of exculpatory information, and intentional misconduct leading to Avery’s suffering and loss of freedom.
- Douglass Jones, Assistant DA for Manitowoc County, has a telephone conversation with Chief Deputy Eugene Kusche. In that conversation, Kusche tells Jones that Sergeant Andrew Colborn disclosed that Gregory Allen might be responsible for Avery’s 1985 conviction.
- Mark Rohrer, Manitowoc County District Attorney, is deposed and acknowledges that Douglass Jones spoke with Eugene Kusche regarding the 1995 phone call. 
- Judy Dvorak is deposed. Lieutenant James Lenk is deposed. Sheriff Kenneth Petersen is deposed. Sergeant Andrew Colborn is deposed and states under oath that he can not recall speaking with anyone else regarding the 1995 call.
- (October 26, 2005) Chief Deputy of Manitowoc County, Eugene Kusche, provides deposition regarding his sketch used in the 1985 Beerntsen case and why it looks nearly identical to Avery’s mug shot from a prior charge.
- Once the email is revealed GK freezes up. The email details his knowledge of the 1995 call as well as stating GK said Colborn went directly to Kocourek with the information and that Lenk ‘was aware’ of the situation. This presented, to Steven’s attorneys, the very real possibility that Kusche may have known Steven Avery wasn’t guilty, along with Lenk, Colborn and Kocourek.
- That same day (October 26) Kocourek’s attorney’s contact the judge presiding over the case and assert Kocourek should not have to answer certain questions in his upcoming deposition on November 10, 2005. The judge disagrees and orders him to answer all questions asked of him.
October 26, 2005 was five days before Teresa’s death. It was a bad day for the club.
- October 29, 2005 – Sheriff Petersen leaves town for approx. one week.
October 31, 2005
- After completing all three appointments (?) Teresa Halbach disappears.
- Her last call forwarded message at 2:41p.m. occurred when her cellphone was still powered on and registered. That call pinged off the Whitelaw Tower, approx. 13 miles from Avery’s property.
- Five voicemail deletions occurred on October 31, 2005. Eleven additional deletions were made prior to 7:12 a.m on November 2, 2005.
November 3, 2005
- Teresa is reported missing.
- According to Zellner, Colborn found the RAV4 on November 3, 2005. Page 3
November 4, 2005
- Zellner alleges that on November 4, shortly after Pagel and Baldwin conduct a fly over of the Avery property, the RAV4 was moved from the quarry to the Avery’s via the conveyor road.
- Ryan received approximately 22 calls from law enforcement on November 4, 2005.
November 5, 2005
- Ryan organizes a volunteer search party. They meet on the morning of November 5, 2005.
- Pam Sturm and her daughter soon discover Halbach’s car amidst the mass of vehicles at the Avery Auto Salvage yard after about 15 minutes of searching.
- Petersen arrives home. After the Rav was found not before. After.
- Remiker is the first officer on the scene, without permission from the Avery’s. That damaging fact, along with many others, did not make it into the affidavit when Wiegert was requesting a warrant.
(See also: This Post which goes over Remiker and Wiegert’s basket of lies surrounding the RAV and the affidavit. Jerry Buting outs them in front of Willis. Not much happened obivously)
- Remiker, on the Avery property, is soon followed by: Orth, Hermann, Schetter and
Lenkall of whom work for MTSO and all arrive on the scene minutes before Weigert and Pagel arrive. Wiegert and Pagel are followed by the arrival of Kratz, Rohrer and Griesbach.
Conflict of interest instigated by _________ ??
November 6, 2005
November 7, 2005
- Multiple officers are called away from the scene of the Avery property
- Zellner alleges it was on the 7th of November that the bones were planted. (page 6)
November 8, 2005
- Bones discovered (Most of Ms. Halbach’s bones and 29 of her teeth were not found in Mr. Avery’s burn pit)
- Key found (Avery’s DNA, but none of Teresa’s and no fingerprints of either?)
- License plate found. (Lenk and Colborn were asked to check cars that police and volunteer firefighters had apparently not checked. Over 200 members of law enforcement had already swept the area and found nothing.)
November 9, 2005
- Avery is arrested due to being a felon in possession of a fire arm, even though he was not arresetd at the time officers first saw the gun. (Kratz later said he was “not comfortable” having a convicted felon on the street knowing another felony might have been committed. Kratz: “Investigators brought this information on what was found to my attention. Mr. Avery is a convicted felon. Because he’s a convicted felon, he’s not allowed to possess firearms. )
November 10 – 15, 2005
- Depositions canceled.
And now .. Who called the shots on November 5th?
The remainder of this post will largely focus on questions and answers from the Pre Trial and Jury Trial surrounding events that took place on November 5, 2005.
A Group Conflict
First in line: Sheriff (at the time) Ken Petersen.
Below, Dean is essentially expanding on a scene from the documentary, one which features a voice over of Buting discussing his belief that an attitude of bias towards Steven Avery in the highest of positions in MTSO would have poisoned the perception of the lower MTSO ranks when it came to Avery.
So here, Dean goes to the highest ranking member of MTSO (again, highest ranking at the time).
Dean Strang: You, as the sheriff, set the overall tone for the department?
Ken Petersen: I believe so.
DS: You try to express your values?
DS: Your policy directives?
DS: And, ordinarily, you would do that — or I shouldn’t even say ordinarily — but you may do that by written directive?
As you might have guessed, Dean now brings up one of his written directives. One we have all seen from the documentary, sent out shortly after Steven’s 2003 exoneration.
DS: If we go back not quite three years now, you had a conversation with Manitowoc County Corporation Counsel in which he suggested that you and members of your department make no public statements at all about Steven Avery?
KP: I don’t recall.
DS: Do you recall issuing a directive, a written, very short directive, to your department, that people were to make no public statements about Steven Avery?
KP: It’s possible.
DS: Back in December, 2003?
KP: It’s possible.
DS: Do you recall that?
Again, this excerpt is from the Pre Trial, and so Dean is not as clear cut as he usually is, as he is searching for information not trying to paint a picture for the jury.
One of the points he was making was that, as Glynn says in the documentary, you don’t send out a memo like that unless you feel threatened or you are afraid of someone letting something damaging slip. Further, I am sure Dean also was pointing to the fact that as soon as Avery was arrested (one day before Tom Kocourek’s deposition) for Teresa’s apparent murder, all of a sudden it was as if that September 2003 memo was never sent out.
More of Dean and Petersen
DS: On Saturday, November 5, the first law enforcement officer, as opposed to citizen, unsworn citizen,to see Teresa Halbach’s Toyota Rav 4, was a member of your department, Detective Remiker?
KP: I don’t know that.
DS: You don’t dispute it, you just don’t know one way or the other?
KP: I don’t know.
DS: Sunday, November 6, detached garage, first law enforcement officers to search, Lenk, Remiker, Colborn, and a deputy from Calumet whose has a name, and that’s Dan Kucharski?
KP: I wouldn’t know who searched it.
DS: Don’t know one way or the other?
KP: No, I don’t know who was in the garage
DS: (Law enforcement officers first came across bone fragments in a burn pit* out — south, south and east of the Avery — the Steven Avery trailer on November 8 as well. Do you recall Deputy Jost, or Sergeant Jost, of your department, as being the first officer who claimed to see a bone fragment?
KP: I don’t know whosaw the bone fragments.
say paste more?
Just for fun:
DS: All right. This one you may know. On November 8, which is Tuesday, it was widely reported that a law enforcement officer found a Toyota key that fit the Toyota Rav 4, in the bedroom of Steven Avery, in the trailer; do you recall that?
Thankfully, he does recall.
The Transfer of Control: From MTSO to CASO
Dean, still examining Peterson, asks about the transfer of control on November 5, 2005, the day the RAV4 was found.
DS: That decision to transfer control was made by you?
KP: Indirectly, yes.
DS: Okay. Your department had been involved in early steps in the investigation of Ms Hallbach’s disappearance?
DS: Maybe you would explain, then, for me, what you mean when you say, indirectly, the decision that Saturday morning was made by you?
KP: I had been out of town the previous week. I was out in Seattle, Washington. And I arrived home probably 10:30, quarter to 11, Saturday morning* and that **decision to transfer had already been made, I assume, by the inspector. I never inquired. I agreed with the way it was going, so I didn’t interfere.
DS: Okay. I need to explore that just a little bit further to nail down timing. When you say you arrived home, do you mean physically at your home?
Yes. We all need to explore that timing just a little bit further.
Tick Tock Petersen. Tick Fucking Tock.
- Former Sheriff Petersen: I don’t think a single hair was enough to convict Gregory Allen This post also deals with a good chunk of Petersen’s Pre Trial Testimony.
Pre Trial Testimony – Sheriff Pagel (Calumet)
Dean Strang: Is it typical, in a missing person Complaint, that you, as the sheriff, would be notified at home, after hours, on the day that someone is reported missing?
Jerry Pagel: It’s not typical, nor is it non-typical.
DS: Were you acquainted with the Halbach family personally, before November 3, 2005?
JP: I know members of the Halbach family, yes, I do.
DS: Were you, personally, out at the Avery Auto Salvage property on the days following this phone call, at home, on November 3?
JP: Yes, I was.
DS: Each day?
JP: Yes, I was there every day.
Attracting Public Attention From Above
Below, Dean asks Pagel about his flyover the Avery property. Keep in mind, Pagel is also being questioned during the Pre Trial.
DS: Starting Friday, November 4.
DS: And at fairly low altitude?
DS: That, you knew, at least would attract some public attention and raise the profile that people should be on the lookout for a missing and possibly endangered person?
JP: The fact that we used the airplane?
JP: No. That was basically a search to try and to locate her vehicle. We knew that her vehicle was missing. And we were trying to locate her vehicle — or anything which could be of assistance in the missing person investigation.
Nice afterthought there, Pagel. We were trying to locate her vehicle so we could get a warrant … oh and you know if we actually found our missing person that would be okay too.
DS: Okay. So, is that why you only used the plane on Friday, November 4?
DS: All right. Now, during that time that you were out there, during these long daylight hours, essentially, did you, personally, direct the activities of Lieutenant Lenk?
JP: Did I, personally? How did you phrase it?
DS: Direct the activities of Lieutenant Lenk of the Manitowoc County Sheriff’s Department?
JP: Not personally, no. It was — Could have been done either through the command post — again, they were there as a support group. So we would utilize our investigators, our officers, our personnel, along with agents from the Department of Criminal Investigation and individuals would then be assigned to those particular individuals who would be the lead people doing particular — particular programs or parts of the investigation.
Whelp. He could have cut off about 80% of that answer and it would have been more believable.
DS: So you weren’t necessarily, personally, directing things, but you were part of a group that was making conjunctive, or joint, or collaborative, investigative decisions, so that all the tasks got done?
JP: Attempting to, yes.
So … Which individual instigated the conflict?
According to Pagel, there was not a single person in charge on November 5, more of a support group in charge that would attempt to separately direct different groups of state employees to perform different actions. I suppose, at the time, they thought that was a smart move, taking the responsibility of instigating the conflict and distributing it among the support group.
Remiker and Fassebender: Jury Trial
Buting examines Fassbender concerning the conflict of interest. This part is featured in Making A Murderer – episode 7.
JB: Okay. Well, did you suggest that Manitowoc back off and that the Calumet deputy take over? Was that part of your decision?
TF: I don’t believe so. It happened, but I don’t believe it was specifically my decision.
JB: So it was just coincidentalthat it happened around the time you arrived?
TF (after a nice healthy pause): Oh, probably, yes.
Fassbender, just as much as the rest of them, does not want to be labeled as the individual who decided there was a conflict of interest.
Below Dean goes over who Remiker is loyal to before diving into questions concerning the conflict of interest.
DS: Detective Remiker, when you, uh — when you explained to counsel, uh, at the prosecution table on direct examination that, uh — Lieutenant James Lenk is your — is your boss or your supervisor, I believe is the term you used, he is, first of all? I understood you correctly?
DS: All right. Uh, and what you mean by that is that, uh, he’s one of the people who reviews your work performance?
DS: Does an annual review? That type of thing?
DR: Annual evaluation.
DS: Has some input on whether you get a salary increase and how much?
DR: I don’t know about that.
Sure, sure. Everyone knows about that. Everyone knows where the raise comes from.
Remiker’s Report Made Dean Chuckle
I found this moment to be a relatively satisfying one amidst all the gloom and doom.
Dean questions Remiker about Zipperer:
DS: That evening, then, you joined Investigator Dedering in going out to the Zipperers?
DS: And, um — and what, uh, had caused me to chuckle in reading the report of yours, which I thought it might have been the understatement of the year, you — you, uh — you found that initiallyGeorge Zipperer was not real cooperative?
DR: It took them a while to answer the door and — not real cooperative.
Dean explores this for a moment, getting Remiker to essentially agree bit by bit with a story of what went down that night at the Zipperer’s. GZ being belligerent an uncooperative. GZ and JZ denying every calling Auto Trader. GZ wanting Teresa arrested. GZ not letting the police in the house.
Dean is eventually is objected to, and Willis sustains the objection.
Dean moves on.
Recounting A Group Decision
Dean, to Remiker:
DS: Let me ask you, Detective, uh, Remiker, at some point shortly thereafter, were you joined by your district attorney, Mr. Rohrer, and Mr. Griesbach, an Assistant DA from, uh, Manitowoc County?
DR: Eventually, those individuals came to that location. Yes.
Along with the rest of MTSO.
DS: After their arrival, do you recall a discussion regarding who should head up both this investigation and, if necessary, uh — any lawyer involvement, in the case?
DR: There was a lot of discussion about that, yes.
DS: Can you recount that for the jury, please?
(Remiker dissolves into a hot mess in 3…2…1…)
DR: Um — obviously, uh, there were Calumet County people there. There were, um — Manitowoc County, uh, investigators, administrative staff there. In fact, um, at one point, uh, Deputy Inspector Schetter arrived, and, um — he had, obviously, more knowledge or — or understanding of what was going — his perception of maybe a conflict of inter — interest in some on going litigation between, uh, Steven Avery and Manitowoc County.
Remiker hits a brick wall ^ here . I’ve read some very damaging testimony from Remiker and he never stumbles as much as he does here. Remiker is, as the rest of them are, very nervous and unprepared when discussing who was involved in officially making the decision to transfer the case from Manitowoc to Calumet.
I am assuming this is true for many reasons. One being no one wanted to take responsibility for the decision, neither did anyone wish to specifically name an individual who instigated the conflict – because as we all know, no one respected or upheld the conflict. Manitowoc found most of the key evidence, after which Pagel went on TV saying Manitowoc’s only role was to provide equipment when necessary.
Pagel, Fassbender, Petersen and Wiegert all knew there was potential, if the frame job crumbled, that they would be on the chopping block as the one who failed to keep the rabbit in the hat.
Who was in charge in 1985? Look what happened to them (TK / DV) last time? They almost lost everything, which is a serious statement but, is still, I believe, one that undermines the situation they were in come October 2005.
So no one wanted to be the one in charge. Most knew, deep down, they were preparing for the shit to hit the fan.
I am sure Zellner is absolutely fine with them having spread out responsibility among themselves. Once Avery is out, they will all be desperately trying to not be one of the disposables.
If another lawsuit (or two) are filed, the Old Boys Club will crumble, we will no longer hear how it was a group effort and that no one person was in charge. Fingers will be pointing, and if I am even a tiny bit clairvoyant, regardless of the truth, their fingers will all be pointing at the same sweaty spot.