Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

The Murder of Teresa Halbach

Teen Behind Bars

Brendan Dassey's attorneys attempted to show that the police had bullied their client into make a false confession, pointing out that the detectives who had interrogated him accused him of being a liar or suggested the same 75 times during their session.  On the stand Detective Wiegert admitted that he and Special Agent Fassbender had doubted Dassey's truthfulness and told him so during the interrogation.  "Several times we told him that we did not believe what he was telling us," Wiegert testified.

The defense team allowed Brendan Dassey to take the stand in his own defense, hoping that the jury would believe Dassey's reasoning for his contradictory statements if they heard it from his own mouth.  He testified that his videotaped confession was untrue but he didn't know why he had lied to the police.  He claimed he had taken the details of the crime from a novel, James Patterson's Kiss the Girls, and the movie that was made from that book.

But the prosecution pointed out that the details of Dassey's confession were supported by physical evidence found at the crime scene, including the leg irons and handcuffs.  Throughout the trial, prosecutors maintained that Dassey "stood ready and willing to assist" in the murder and mutilation of Teresa Halbach.

On April 26, 2007, the jury was sent out to decide Brendan Dassey's fate, and after four and a half hours of deliberation, they returned with their verdict: Guilty on all charges.

After the trial, Teresa's brother, Mike Halbach, told WBAY-TV, "Hopefully Teresa can now enjoy her time in heaven rather than worrying about us."

Reporters followed Dassey's mother, Barb, out of the courthouse, trying to get a statement from her.  After refusing to speak, she angrily shouted from her departing SUV, "I think the Halbachs set this all up.  I really do." 

Brendan Dassey is currently being held at the Manitowoc County Jail, awaiting sentencing.  His Uncle Steven resides on another floor in the same facility.

In an interview with the Green Bay Press Gazette, Dassey said that he has been having trouble sleeping since his conviction. "It takes me an hour or three hours to get to sleep.  It takes me awhile," he said.

He also hasn't been reading much.  At the Sheboygan juvenile facility where he had been held for 13 months prior to his trial, he had read all the Harry Potter novels, but now he just doesn't have the urge to pick up a book anymore.  He did say, however, that was eager to read the next installment of the Harry Potter series, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, when it comes out.

Dassey is already facing a mandatory life sentence, so the only issue left for the court to resolve is whether he will ever be eligible for parole, and if so, when. 

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