Juror from Making a Murderer Told Filmmakers Steven Avery Was Only Convicted Because 'They Feared for Their Personal Safety'
01/05/2016 AT 10:20 AM EST
Laura Ricciardi and Moira Demos, who spent nearly a decade making the true-crime documentary series, told the Today show Tuesday that after the show's Dec. 18 debut, a juror in Avery's case reached out to them and spoke at length about the case.
"We were contacted by one of the jurors who sat through Steven Avery's trial and shared what us their thoughts and they told us that they believe Steven Avery was not proven guilty, they believe that Steven was framed by law enforcement," Ricciardi shared. "They believe he deserves a new trial, and if he receives a new trial, in their opinion it should take place far away from Wisconsin."
The 10-part series examines the case of Avery, who was sentenced to life for the 2005 murder of photographer Teresa Halbach. The sentence followed Avery's 18 years in prison after being wrongfully convicted of sexual assault in 1985. Avery has long maintained his innocence and alleged that he was framed by local authorities and county officials.
Demos said that they asked the juror why Avery was unanimously voted guilty if some jurors felt he was innocent.
"What they told us was that they feared for their personal safety," Demos said.
Ricciardi added, "[The juror] told us that the verdicts in Steven's trial were a compromise."
She said that the source went on to describe the other jurors trading votes, "and explicitly discussing 'if you vote guilty on this count, I'll vote not guilty on this count' "
"They believed that if there were a split verdict like this, that would send a message to the appellate courts and that Steven would get a new trail," Demos explained.
The juror also told the filmmakers that he or she is willing to serve as a source if there is another trial.
The revelation comes shortly after a Change.org petition requesting Avery's pardon reached over 200,000 signatures.
Avery is currently serving life in prison without the possibility of parole. His nephew, Brendan Dassey, is also in prison for being a party to murder, sexual assault and mutilating a corpse for the Halbach case. Dassey is serving life in prison, but has the possibility of parole after 40 years.
The Change.org petition urges President Barack Obama to take action on the Avery case.