Steven Avery's Attorney Says New Witness Saw His Nephew "Suspiciously Pushing" Car of Teresa Halbach

Teresa Halbach and her Toyota RAV4.
Photographer Teresa Halbach and her Toyota RAV4.Netflix

A lawyer for Steven Avery, who was featured in the hit Netflix documentary "Making a Murderer," says in a court filing that a new witness has come forward in the case of murdered photographer Teresa Halbach.

A new witness has emerged in the case of murdered photographer Teresa Halbach, according to the attorney for Steven Avery, who was convicted  in 2007 of killing the woman and whose troubled life was depicted in the hit Netflix documentary "Making a Murderer."

Defense lawyer Kathleen Zellner filed a motion in Wisconsin court this week identifying the new witness as Thomas Sowinski, who said he was delivering newspapers to the Avery Salvage Yard on the morning of Nov. 5, 2005, and saw Avery's nephew Bobby Dassey and an unidentified older man "suspiciously pushing" a dark blue RAV4 on the family's property.

Avery and another nephew, Brendan Dassey, are both serving life sentences for Halbach's 2005 murder. Both men contend they are not guilty. Brendan is Bobby Dassey's brother. 

According to the motion, Sowinski says Bobby Dassey stood in front of his vehicle and tried to stop him from leaving, but Sowinski drove into a ditch to get around him and left the area.

"Bobby Dassey looked me in the eye, and I could tell he was not happy to see me there. I knew that Bobby Dassey and the older individual were doing something creepy," Sowinski said in the document.

Sowinski alleged he phoned the Manitowoc Sheriff’s Office later that day, after learning the car had been found on Avery's property, to report what happened but was told, “We already know who did it.” The court filing says Sowinski says he left his phone number but was never contacted by investigators.

Bobby Dassey was an important witness for the prosecution and testified that he saw Halbach pull onto the family's property on Oct. 31, 2005 and enter Avery's home. She had been hired to take photographs of a family van that was up for sale.

Bobby Dassey also testified that Halbach’s car was still on the property when he left to go hunting, but was gone when he returned later that day.

Halbach's RAV4 was discovered in the family's junkyard on Nov. 5, 2005. Forensic investigators found blood inside the vehicle, which was later identified as belonging to Avery. The photographer's remains were found in a burn pit on Avery's property.

Zellner claims that evidence was planted and Avery did not kill Halbach.

This week's motion is Zellner's newest attempt to prove a “Brady violation” in the case, asserting prosecutors suppressed evidence that would have benefited her client. The court filing asks that Zellner's appeal be sent back to the circuit court so she might present new evidence in the case.

In 2003, after serving 18 years for a previous murder that he didn't commit, Avery was exonerated by DNA evidence and released. His wrongful conviction became the basis for "Making a Murderer" and his subsequent arrest for Halbach's killing was recounted in a second season of the Netflix documentary.