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Federal Appeals Court Hears ‘Making A Murderer’ Appeal

Ruling That Could Set Brendan Dassey Free Expected Within Several Weeks

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In this April 16, 2007, photo, Brendan Dassey appears in court at the Manitowoc County Courthouse
In this April 16, 2007, photo, Brendan Dassey appears in court at the Manitowoc County Courthouse in Manitowoc, Wis. Dan Powers/AP Photo

A full federal appeals court has heard arguments about whether investigators coerced a confession from a Wisconsin inmate featured in the “Making a Murderer” series. If they rule he was coerced, he could go free.

Several judges at the 7th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in Chicago on Tuesday appeared sympathetic to arguments that investigators manipulated Brendan Dassey’s into saying what they wanted him to say. The appeals court has seven judges.

Dassey was sentenced to life in prison in 2007 after telling detectives he helped his uncle, Steven Avery, rape and kill photographer Teresa Halbach.

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Judge Diane Wood said watching a video showing how investigators questioned Dassey made her “skin crawl.” She said they fed him answers. But Diane Sykes and several other judges sounded unconvinced that investigators went too far.

A ruling is expected within several weeks.

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