Documentary filmmaker Shawn Rech of Transition Studios in Cleveland has lined up the financing and co-operation from key sources to produce what he is calling a followup to the hit 2015 Netflix documentary series Making a Murderer.
Convicting a Murderer is Rech’s new eight-part series which will investigate the case built against Steven Avery in Wisconsin, who was convicted of the 2005 murder of Teresa Hallbach.
The new series will examine allegations that evidence was planted and crime scenes were tampered with. Avery’s lawyer claims his client was framed.
Avery and his nephew, Brandon Dassey, are serving life sentences. Both are appealing their convictions.
Rech said Convicting a Murderer will take a deeper, more inclusive look at the case because of his access to district attorney Ken Kratz and lead investigator Tom Fassbender, both now retired, and retired police officers who were involved in the case.They didn’t participate in Making a Murderer.
“When Making A Murderer was produced, many on the law enforcement side of the story could not, or would not, participate in the series, which resulted in a one-sided analysis of the case,” he said. “This docu-series will examine the case and the allegations of police wrongdoing from a broader perspective. It will also share with viewers the traumatic effects of being found guilty and vilified in the court of public opinion.”
Rech will produce the new series alongside his partner, Chicago attorney Andrew Hale. Rech and Hale secured independent financing for the project through their Cleveland-based Transition Studios and will shop it around.
The project then will be put up for bidding, Rech said. Netflix already is planning its own followup focusing on appeals.
“We’ll present all of the evidence in the Avery case from the perspective of both the prosecution and the defense and see if viewers feel the same way they did two years ago following the first season of Making A Murderer,” Rech said.
“This is a broader perspective that includes the prosecutor and law enforcement’s answer to the allegations made against them,” he said.
Rech said he has 15 interviews lined up starting next week.
Rech’s previous documentary, 2014’s A Murder in the Park, examined the conviction of Alstory Simon, who was convicted of a double homicide in Chicago in 1982. He was released from prison in 2014, thanks in part to their efforts, and now lives in a Cleveland suburb.
—With files from the Associated Press