PHILADELPHIA (AP) — After their 2-year-old son died of untreated pneumonia in 2009, faith-healing advocates Herbert and Catherine Schaible promised a judge they would not let another sick child go without medical care.But now they've lost an 8-month-old to what a prosecutor called "eerily similar" circumstances. It's a ten-episode documentary that tracks the story of Steve Avery, who belongs to an extended family living in and around Manitowoc County, Wisconsin.
This is a tiny sample of the questions raised by the un-narrated account, which cuts between court footage and interviews with many of the players.
One of these is acclaimed defense attorney Jerome Buting.
A judge acknowledged that the couple had never missed a court date in the first case but said he worried that might change amid the more serious charges.
And he feared they may have supporters who would harbor them."Throughout this country … when parents turn to faith healing instead of medicine, typically from highly treatable problems, said Shawn Francis Peters, a University of Wisconsin lecturer who has studied faith-healing deaths.
His mentally challenged 16-year-old nephew, Brendan Dassey, was also later charged following a confession (another controverted point) in which he says he helped his uncle rape and murder Halbach. As a younger man, he set a cat on fire for jokes 'n' fun. But its purpose is not to establish him as someone you wouldn’t want your daughter to date.
Rather, it investigates several very different, and unpopular, possibilities.
Over the course of ten episodes, we’re presented with this disturbing, often maddening, case a man with a 70-ish IQ who served eighteen years behind bars for a crime he didn’t commit.
Within two years of being exonerated in 2005 by DNA evidence—and with a million civil suit pending against Manitowoc County—Avery was then promptly charged with the heinous murder of Teresa Halbach, a 25-year-old photographer whose charred remains were discovered at the Avery Salvage Yard. He ran his cousin off the road in a fit of rage before threatening her with a shotgun.
Did the Manitowoc Sheriff’s Department frame Avery? Did the prosecution ignore other suspects who had motive and access to the victim?
Or is the whole series one slick piece of anti-cop propaganda?
On that fifth anniversary, Roland Hedgepeth is still hoping someone will come forth with information about his daughter’s murder.