Making a Murderer is the documentary series that has entranced a nation with its bombshell accusations of police apparently trying to frame an innocent man for murder.
But one key piece of evidence used to back up protagonist Steven Avery’s claims of a set-up by police – a vial of his blood with a hole in the cap – has now been called into question.
According to old court papers found by OnMilwaukee.com, the prosecution were due to call nurse Marlene Kraintz to testify that she put the hole in the cap while drawing Avery’s blood.
According to old court documents, nurse Marlene Kraintz was due to be called at Steven Avery’s trial to testify that she put the hole in the top of a vial of blood which was allegedly used to frame Avery for murder
During the trail documented in new series Making a Murderer, Avery’s lawyers Dean Strang and Jerome Buting (pictured left) argued that the vial was used to plant Avery’s blood in Teresa’s car and that the needle hole was evidence of that
The news site goes on to quote two national experts who say that most blood vials will have holes in the rubber stoppers because that is how the samples get inside.
These statements were backed up by a Reddit post from a user claiming to work at LabCorp, the company that took Avery’s blood, saying that such puncture marks are routine.
The user explains that a double-ended needle is used to take blood, with one end going into the patient’s arm, and the other piercing the tube for the sample to be collected.
The worker, who did not give their name, included a picture of another vial to show a typical hole.
It is likely that Kraintz, who died in 2012 without ever going to court, would have mentioned this during her evidence.
Former district attorney Ken Kratz, who prosecuted the Steven Avery case, said that Kraintz was never called because the evidence surrounding the vial was so weak.
He said: ‘We did not believe that the defense had raised the issue significantly enough (at trial) claiming that there was any tampering done to the blood vial.
‘Although the documentary suggests that the hole in the vial of blood was significant, everybody at the time knew and certainly the filmmakers had to know that the hole in the vial was put there by the nurse who drew the blood.’
Several experts have also said that such puncture holes are standard practice and are actually used to get blood into the vials (pictured)
Making a Murderer follows the real-life story of Steven Avery, a junkyard worker from Wisconsin who was wrongly imprisoned for rape in 1985, only to be released on acquittal 18 years later.
Avery then goes on to sue the Manitowoc County Sheriff’s Office that falsely accused him of the rape, but finds himself accused of murder as that case is ongoing.
Avery is accused of killing Teresa Halbach, an Auto Trader photographer who was last seen on his property before vanishing.
Several days later, her badly burned bones are found in a pit outside Avery’s house, while her car is discovered in the family’s scrapyard with Steven’s blood inside.
Defending himself for the second time, Avery claims that he is again being framed in order to save the police department from having to admit wrongdoing in his earlier conviction.
While defense lawyers Dean Strang and Jerome Buting build a compelling case for Avery’s innocence, a vial of Avery’s blood that was in police hands is presented as a major breakthrough.
Taken from Avery while he was serving time for his wrongful rape conviction, the vial is contained in an evidence pack at a police facility.
However, when Buting goes to examine it, the red evidence seal around the package is broken and the vial has a puncture hole in the top.
Buting argues that the fact that the package has been tampered with means police could have removed the vial, and used it to plant Avery’s blood in Teresa’s car.
The series makes no mention of the fact that piercing the seals of such tubes would be standard practice while filling them.
The defense team also presented evidence that the tape sealing the package was legitimately broken on June 19, 2002, by then-district attorney E. James Fitzgerald.
Fitzgerald and members of Avery’s defense team recorded breaking into the package during Avery’s appeal against his rape conviction while deciding what to send for additional testing.
Asked for a response to the old court papers, a spokesman for attorney Strang said the he was traveling and would be unable to reply.
The spokesman added that he is not addressing detailed questions about the Avery case.