Steven Avery case: Blood evidence ‘not properly protected’ by cops, says expert

If you watched Netflix’s docuseries Making a Murderer, then you probably remember the blood vial Steven Avery‘s lawyers brought to the court’s attention.

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The vial, which contained a sample of Avery’s blood, was found in an obviously tampered box, and there appeared to be something amiss with the blood vial itself. But that’s not all that’s emerged amid the frenzied scrutiny the case is getting; according to a crime expert, the Manitowoc County police did a terrible job of protecting the gathered evidence, especially the aforementioned blood.

READ MORE: Steven Avery’s lawyer: We have a new suspect in Teresa Halbach murder

Making a Murderer is a 10-part documentary series that follows the case of Wisconsin native Avery. He is serving a life sentence (without the possibility for parole) for the murder of Teresa Halbach and illegally possessing a firearm. Avery, who had previously been jailed for 18 years for a sexual assault in 1985, was exonerated in that case by newly discovered DNA evidence in 2003.

Two years later, Avery brought a US$36-million lawsuit against Manitowoc County, Wis., for the wrongful conviction. The series calls into question the investigation and trial that put Avery and his nephew, Brendan Dassey, behind bars, and alleges the investigators and police in the case planted evidence and otherwise manipulated the outcome of the trial.

Even to the layperson, something didn’t appear quite right with the blood vial shown in the docuseries. It is clear that the evidence tape on the polystyrene box is cut.

A British crime scene investigator, Chris Gee, has spoken up about the protocol when it comes to securing evidence, and he says that the state of the blood vial suggests police (or someone with access) tampered with it. Gee revealed his findings on his YouTube show, The #AskChrisGee Show.

Above all, Gee emphasizes protection of all evidence to maintain its credibility.

“It’s all about trying to give evidence as much integrity as possible,” he said. “Evidence bags are essential to all crime scenes.”

READ MORE: Steven Avery Project leader: “He’ll be exonerated” without a trial

He says that all evidence must be sealed in a signed and dated bag, and whenever one of those bags is opened or a seal is broken, it must be resealed with an exhibit label. All officers are to sign the bag when they touch it or the evidence inside.

“The EDTA bottle that we saw in the Steven Avery case didn’t seem to have an exhibit label with it,” he said. “The exhibit label will have all the details about who seized it, what time, where it was seized. If someone should open the polystyrene package, they should be recording it.”

Gee also addressed the vial of blood directly. “If you look carefully, there’s blood in between the stopper and the glass, which you can only get if the stopper was taken out,” he said. “That looked suspicious.”

Avery’s lawyer, Kathleen Zellner, is pulling out all the stops to exonerate her client.

READ MORE: Steven Avery case: New information questions if bones found were Teresa Halbach’s

Zellner previously said that he has an “airtight alibi,” but with the addition of potential suspects, this is the closest he’s gotten to exoneration since he was put back in prison. The legal team, which is working pro bono, is hoping to file an appeal soon, but is compiling as much information as possible first.

“Half of my exoneration cases have led to the apprehension of the real killer,” Zellner said. “I’ve probably solved way more murder cases than most homicide detectives.”

Zellner is focusing on one suspect in particular. The mystery Arizona man (Zellner did not reveal his name) was arrested in December 2015 for crimes that were sexual in nature. Interestingly, Halbach called this man on two occasions shortly before her death.

READ MORE: Ex-detective says Steven Avery was framed, serial killer responsible for Teresa Halbach death

Manitowoc County police never looked into the suspect, and Zellner believes it’s further evidence that Avery was framed.

“They used forensic science to convict [Avery], and I’ll be using it to convict them of planting the evidence,” she said.

WATCH: Steven Avery’s lawyer says case has “hallmarks of a wrongful conviction”

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