Steven Avery, the subject of cult true-crime documentary series Making a Murderer, is engaged.
Avery is to be married to Lynn Hartman, a legal secretary from Las Vegas.
In a statement to Us Weekly, his lawyer, Kathleen Zellner, said: “Steven Avery’s engagement to Lynn is one bright spot in an otherwise unbelievably tragic and unfair life story.”
Zellner, who is handling Avery’s wrongful conviction case, added: “Cheers to both of them.”
Avery and Hartman have been dating for eight months, but met for the first time just last week, according to reports. The majority of their relationship has apparently been played out via letters and phone calls to the Waupan Correctional Institute in Waupan, Wisconsin, where Avery has been held for the last 11 years.
Hartman reportedly posted a statement – which has since been deleted – on the Steven Avery Project Facebook page, a ‘support group’ that has over 120,000 likes.
“I am very happy to announce that Steven Avery asked me to marry him today, and I accepted,” she wrote. “It has been a difficult road getting to this point in our lives but we are very happy.
“Despite all obstacles, and Steven's wrongful conviction and incarceration, we plan to be married shortly after he is released.”
Read more: Meet the women behind Making a Murderer
Curtis Busse, a close friend of Avery’s and the founder of the Steven Avery Project, indicated in a later Facebook post that some of Avery’s supporters had been questioning the engagement.
“There have been some misunderstandings about Lynn and her intentions, [Avery] wants to remind you all that her intentions are true and her and Steven are very much in love and this isn't going to change anytime soon,” Busse wrote.
“Steven asks that you respect his future wife and respect their relationship, rumors that are made about there relationship are false and if it isn't coming from Steven directly it's not true [sic].”
Avery was wrongfully imprisoned in 1985 for sexual assault, false imprisonment and attempted murder – but was released in 2003, when advances in DNA technology proved it was another man’s crime.
Just two years later, Avery was re-arrested and charged with the murder of photographer Teresa Halbach, who had disappeared after photographing a vehicle at Avery’s salvage yard.
He was sentenced to life in prison without parole in 2007 for Halbach’s murder, although his attorneys later accused police officials at the Manitowoc County Sheriff's Department of planting false evidence and of having a “conflict of interest” in the investigation.
Avery’s nephew Brendan Dassey, who was 16 at the time of Halbach’s murder, was also found guilty of murder and sentenced to life in prison. However, Dassey had his conviction overturned in August this year, and Avery’s lawyer has said that she is optimistic that her client will be exonerated.
“We fully expected this outcome from an unbiased court that carefully examined [Dassey’s] confession,” Kathleen Zellner said in a statement to Access Hollywood.
She added: “We know when an unbiased court reviews all of the new evidence we have, Steven will have his conviction overturned as well.”
Images: Rex Features