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Beloit College to host Making a Murderer conversation on Friday, Feb. 26

February 19, 2016
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Professor who appears on Netflix show, along with other guests, to appear

On Friday, February 26, Beloit College's Law and Justice Program will host a conversation about Netflix's popular documentary series Making a Murderer that will feature a Beloit professor who consulted on the Avery and Dassey case.

The 10-part series tells the story of Steven Avery, who was wrongfully convicted of rape in 1985 and exonerated by DNA evidence 18 years later. In 2007, Avery and his nephew, Brendan Dassey, were convicted of murdering Teresa Halbach.

The show, which features an appearance by psychologist and Beloit professor Lawrence (Larry) White, has been enormously popular. The Netflix original has been reviewed everywhere from Rolling Stone to The Atlantic, been the subject of speculation and side investigations on Reddit, and binge-watched and breathlessly recounted by media and fans around the world. It's also said to be Netflix's biggest hit to date. As a Forbes columnist recently put it, "this is the first Netflix show that seems to have completely consumed its viewer base from top to bottom."

The public reaction to Making a Murderer has been enormous.  Some of the individuals involved with the cases have been hailed as heroes, while others have been branded villains. The story also raises important questions about how police investigate crimes, about the quality of legal representation provided to poor people, and about the ethics of lawyering.

These topics will be the subject of a panel about the show on Friday, Feb. 26, from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. in Beloit's Richardson Auditorium. The event is free and open to the public, though seating is limited.

Three panelists will speak briefly, but most of the hour will be devoted to questions and comments from the audience.

The panelists are:

  • Carrie Sperling, co-director of the Wisconsin Innocence Project
  • Danielle Chojnacki, a Beloit alumna and the assistant district attorney in Milwaukee
  • Larry White, professor of psychology at Beloit who consulted on the Avery and Dassey cases