Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

The Murder of Teresa Halbach

'I Didn't Have a Pencil'

On June 30, 2006, Brenda Dassey wrote a letter to Manitowoc County Circuit Judge Jerome Fox from the Sheboygan County Juvenile Detention Center, recanting his statements regarding the death of Teresa Halbach.

Sheboygan County Juvenile Detention Center
Sheboygan County Juvenile Detention Center

He started his letter by saying that he would have written sooner, but he "didn't have a pencil."

"The thing I was going to write to you about was that all my statements I gave the investigators are not the truth," Dassey wrote.

In the letter, he claimed that he had been at home with his brother until 7:00 p.m. on Halloween 2005 when his uncle called and asked him if he "wanted to come to the bombfire [sic]."

According to Dassey's letter, he and Steven Avery rode a golf cart around the property, gathering material to burn in the bonfire.  Dassey's mother called her brother on his cellphone at around 9:00 p.m. and told him that she wanted Brendan home by 10:00 p.m.  He arrived home shortly after ten o'clock, talked to his mother for a while, then went to bed.

Dassey closed his letter with a postscript:  "Me and my mom think you are a good judge.  Thank you for your time."

Dassey's trial is scheduled to begin April 16, 2007.  If convicted on all charges, including homicide, he could be sentenced to life plus 72 1/2 years in prison.

Steven Avery's trial date is Feb. 5, 2007.  He has been charged with first-degree intentional homicide, first-degree sexual assault, kidnapping, false imprisonment, mutilation of a corpse, and possession of a firearm by a felon.  If convicted on all charges, he could face life plus 128 1/2 years in prison.

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