By Jim Hagerty
SHEBOYGAN, Wis. — A group of social media users who support the conviction of “Making a Murderer” subject Steven Avery is being credited with a bouquet of flowers a trial court judge received after denying his latest court motion.
Sheboygan County Circuit Judge Angela W. Sutkiewicz received the flowers on Nov. 29, according to a letter addressed to Avery’s lawyers and prosecutors. The bouquet contained a card that indicated it came from someone who represents a popular Reddit group.
“Best wishes from your admirers at SAIG (Steven Avery is Guilty),” the card reads.
The card and flowers were sent the day after Sutkiewicz denied a motion filed by Avery’s lawyer, noted post-conviction attorney Kathleen Zellner, who had asked the court for an evidentiary hearing.
“Since the floral arrangement is a gift, I rejected it by returning it to the flower shop [Wednesday],” the judge wrote.
The flowers were purchased from Hoffman’s Flowerland in Sheboygan and delivered to the Sheboygan County Courthouse.
Law enforcement was contacted as a precaution, and to determine if someone connected to the case was behind what could be considered a bribe. It was determined that the sender was not connected to the Avery case.
Members of the “Steven Avery is Guilty” Reddit sub have so far not claimed responsibility for sending the flowers. Some subscribers claim that a Steven Avery supporter, possibly a member of the rival Reddit forum “TickTockManitowoc,” may have sent the gift as a hoax. Others say Avery or Zellner could be behind it, however, nothing exists to make that connection.
Sources told The Times Friday that the flowers were reportedly purchased with cash, and that law enforcement officials have a description of the customer. Surveillance camera footage was also reportedly reviewed, but what the camera captured has not been announced.
While law enforcement officials have the power to shut down a social media page, it is also not known if that option is being weighted or whether it will reach either Reddit group.
No crime was committed in the incident, police said.
Avery’s case now lies in the Wisconsin Court of Appeals. Zellner is asking the higher court to compel the circuit court to grant Avery an evidentiary hearing. If she’s successful, which could happen next year, the case would be remanded back to Sutkiewicz’s court, where Zellner would present new findings she says proves someone else killed Teresa Halbach in 2005.
Among Zellner’s are scientific test results that reportedly show that a bullet fragment uncovered in Steven Avery’s garage was not from a slug that killed Halbach. Zellner also claims that Steven Avery’s DNA found on the key to Halbach’s car key was planted and that Steven’s nephew and brother-in-law lied committed perjury when they testified for the state during Avery’s trial.
Among other claims Zellner has made in a series of motions filed this year is that the prosecution withheld exculpatory evidence from Avery’s trial lawyers, findings she says would have resulted in a different verdict.
Former Calumet County District Attorney Ken Kratz dismisses the notion that evidence was withheld or planted as part of a conspiracy to frame Avery and then 16-year-old nephew Brendan Dassey.
Kratz has also been highly critical of “Making a Murderer,” saying filmmakers manipulated trial footage to paint court officials and the police in a bad light.
The Netflix production won five Primetime Emmy Awards, including one for editing. R.