2016 may yet redeem itself. Following the heartbreaking goodbyes to Bowie, Prince, Cohen, and a host of others, as well as a plethora of horrific news, including Aleppo, Brexit, and of course He Who Shall Not Be Named, the year has been shaping up to be the worst in the popular imagination for some time. Today, however, comes news that a judge has ordered that Brendan Dassey be released from prison. As anyone who watched Making a Murderer knows, the 27-year-old Wisconsin man has been in prison since he was a teenager. In what is widely seen as a gross miscarriage of justice, in 2008 Dassey was convicted of aiding his uncle, Steven Avery, in the murder of Teresa Halbach.
Judge William Duffin ordered that Dassey should be freed from prison — under supervision, and subject to certain conditions — until such time that the Manitowoc County Prosecutor wins an appeal against the ruling, or decides to retry Dassey. While some viewers were divided over whether Avery is guilty, there was a near-universal outcry over Dassey’s conviction: he has learning disabilities, and the videotape of his interrogation by police showed a scared and confused child being questioned — some would say ‘coached’ — by authorities. Under the terms of his release, Dassey cannot leave the area, meaning he will have to wait a little longer to get to Wrestlemania.