Most of us spent last Christmas glued to our televisions, ignoring relatives in a bid to determine whether or not Wisconsin-based Steven Avery was in fact guilty of the murder of 26-year-old photographer Tessa Hallbach, eleven years ago.
Netflix’s Making a Murderer (and its predecessor, the Serial podcast) marked the revival of true crime dramas and an obsession amongst listeners and viewers to solve the crimes in question, appealing to our desires to be amateur sleuths.
The documentary dissected Avery’s trail in forensic detail, leading viewers to question the entire veracity of the American legal system.
In the first episode, we learn of how Avery served 18 years of a rape sentence, that began in 1985, but was exonerated by DNA evidence which it is suggested the police previously had access to.
In 2005, Avery was convicted of Hallbach's murder and is currently serving a life sentence.
Many people concluded that Avery had, in fact, been wrongly convicted as a result of police corruption and tampered evidence, leading to an online petition signed by hundreds of thousands of people for Presidnet Obama to reconsider the verdict.
But others were firm in their belief that the correct verdict had been reached – including a group of Reddit users – one of whom has discovered evidence that they believe could actually confirm his guilt.
The evidence, although tenuous to say the least, is rather intriguing.
Reddit user, wewannawii has analysed photographs of Hallbach’s mobile phone that was discovered by police on Avery’s property. The charred fragments were taken from the barrel in which it is believed Avery burned Hallbach’s remains.
The user has theorised that fingerprints can, in fact, be seared onto objects upon burning – and he believes he can see in a close-up of the image, a thumbprint with markings that match scars on Avery’s own thumb on the inside of the phone’s battery cover.
While wewannawii’s theory was posed a while ago, it has been gaining traction this week, with users going wild over the story and in turn, analysing the angle of the images and the possible explanations for the markings, convinced that the evidence is damming.
While there has been no word that the state of Wisconsin has been swayed enough by the documentary to reopen this old case, the evidence is interesting and will likely be included in series two of Making a Murderer which creators, Moira Demos and Laura Ricciardi, recently confirmed was on the horizon.