Shakira with her Latin Grammys for Best Female Pop Performance AND Best Female Rock Performance submitted by
In September of 1998, MTV’s Total Request Live made its debut and the Video Music Awards celebrated their 15th edition, the same month that Hole’s Celebrity Skin
, Marilyn Manson’s Mechanical Animals
and Jay-Z’s Vol. 2… Hard Knock Life
made their splash in the Billboard 200, all while Aerosmith’s I Don’t Want to Miss A Thing
debuted at number one in the Hot 100 (and remained for the entire month) and Rush Hour ruled the box office in its way to become a sleeper hit and a classic. Of course all of this was in the United States, all while thousands of miles below another pop culture phenomenon was taking place, I’m talking of course about the release of Shakira’s forth studio album and her magnum opus: Donde Están Los Ladrones?
(Where Are the Thieves?
), which turns 20 this week.
Long before Ladrones
, Shakira debuted at the tender age of 13 with the low budget 1991’s Magia
), a collection of songs she wrote between the ages of 8 and 12 and some other tracks written by her producers. Two years later, Peligro
) followed with even less input from the singer and songwriter. The experience of making those two albums was frustrating for Shakira, as she didn’t have any choice when it comes to production or sequencing of the tracks, and as a result the albums received a very tepid critical response and bombed, selling around 1000 copies each, with the latter being barely promoted at Shakira’s request, as she moved into a bigger label and started working on her second debut album: Pies Descalzos
), released in 1995. The song ¿Dónde Estás, Corazón?
(Where Are You Love?
) was a hit when it was released as a single for a compilation album earlier in that year, which allowed Shakira to have the creative control she always wanted. The resulting album sold over five million copies worldwide (including over 500,000 in the US) and was praised by critics, who finally perceived that she fullfilled her potential as a performer and writer. After a successful international tour and a string of hits like Estoy Aquí
) and Antología
), Shak was ready to move forward and conquer the world… however she need to find someone that could help her break into new markets.
Cue to Emilio Estefan. The ICONIC album cover
Emilio wasn’t just the husband of Gloria, but also the hottest producer of the Hispanic market at the time and the man responsible of launching the career of Enrique Iglesias and Thalía (and also Gloria, of course), and as such he was the most capable person to move Shakira into the next phase of her blossoming career: Worldwide domination. Shakira caught Emilio’s attention and immediately offered himself to work on her next album, but Shakira only agreed to if she was given full creative control of the record, conditions that Emilio accepted.
The title of the record was inspired by one of Shakira's trips to the capital of her native country Colombia. At the El Dorado International Airport in Bogotá, after finishing her Tour Pies Descalzos, part of her luggage was stolen, including a briefcase that contained all the lyrics Shakira had been working on for the album, which forced her to work from scratch, not before she suffered from writer’s block, resulting from the impotence of the robbery itself: “I came to the conclusion that there are all types of thieves. A thief is not just a person who takes a physical object that doesn't belong to him or her. There are thieves who steal feelings, space, time, dreams, and rights
The album cover, a picture of her with dirty hands and messy, colorful Medusa-esque braids, was inspired by the two interpretations of the album’s title: the literal “Who are they? What are they looking for? Where are they?
” about the thieves and the more figurative one about how no one is free of guilt: “from that point of view, we all have stolen at one time or another, myself included. The dirty hands represent the shared guilt. No one is completely clean, in the end we are all accomplices
is mostly a Pop record, with Rock en Español (an umbrella term to refer to several kinds of rock music made in Latin America from the 80s onwards) influences and elements of Disco, Mariachi and Middle Eastern music spread through the record. Sonically, it has been compared to her contemporaries of the time like Alanis Morissette and Meredith Brooks, with the only similarities being the fact that all of these singers weren’t exactly traditional pop stars and they played guitar-tinted pop songs.
This is more apparent in the opening track and lead single Ciega Sordomuda
), which starts with Mariachi instrumentals before introducing a more standard dance loop and guitars as its background sounds, all while Shakira sings the iconic opening lines:
I run out of arguments and of methodology every time that in front of me your anatomy appears
A sarcastic and humorous track
about the consequences of falling in love, Ciega
was a huge hit when it was released, reaching number one in basically all of Latin America charts and the Billboard Hot Latin Tracks (a first for Shakira), aided by its surreal music video
; and was also a critical success, considered one of the best Latin songs of the 90s
and one of her signature songs. And with the iconic opening and the mariachi/rap bridge it’s easy to forget how iconic the chorus itself is:
Stupid, blind, deaf-mute, clumsy, useless and strong headed
It’s all I have been because of you I have became
A thing that doesn’t do anything else but loving you
I think of you night and day and I don’t know how to forget you
As a curiosity, a full mariachi version
was recorded as part of her Unplugged
album just two years later.
The second track is the rockier and angrier Si Te Vas
(If You’re Gone
), about how Shakira feels that her lover is planning to leave her for a “witch, ugly piece of leather
” and she warns him what might wait for him if she decides to leave him:
A new broom always sweeps clean then you will see the worn bristles
When wrinkles cut her skin and cellulite invades her legs
You will return from your hell with the tail between your horns imploring one more time
But by then I will be a million nights far away from this huge city, far away from you
Lyrics from the second and third track of the album
The bipolarity continues with the third track and fifth single overall Moscas en la Casa
(Flies in the House
), a video-less tender acoustic-guitar-and-handdrum-driven ballad about the Shakira’s sadness suffered after her relationship fell apart and how she has to let herself go, while she continues to wait for him to come back. Inspired by her troubled relationship
with Puerto Rican actor Osvaldo Ríos, 16 years her senior, the heartbreaking yet simple lyrics details how are her days without her lover:
My days without you do not have any nights
If any of them appears it is useless to sleep
My days without you are a waste, the hours have no beginning or end
So short of breath
So full of nothing
Trash on the floor
Flies in the house
Shakira light up the mood a little bit with the forth track and single No Creo
(I Don’t Believe
) in which the dance loop, the unusual instrument (in this case an harmonica) and the rap bridge returns, as she sings about how she believes in nothing and nobody except her lover… ok, this one is a basically a reprise of Ciega Sordomuda
, and it doesn’t help that the video shares footage with Ciega
’s one (maybe both were shot back-to-back, who knows), but it still slaps:
I don’t believe in Venus or Mars
I don’t believe in Karl Marx
I don’t believe in Jean-Paul Sartre
I don’t believe in Brian Weiss
I only believe in your blue smile
In your crystal look, in the kisses that you give me
And no matter what they say
Only you know well who I am and that's why my heart is yours
Only you bend my reason and that's why wherever you want I go
Another global hit for Shakira, the song also became the first single
from her Unplugged
album just one year after its release as a single from Ladrones
is the fifth track and third single overall, a song which had always remind me, musically speaking, to a The Bends
-era Radiohead track. The songs showcases Shakira exposing herself as an imperfect lover who might have cheated before, who doesn’t shower on Sundays and cries at least once a month (especially when it’s cold) and yet she still loves her guy so much that it’s willing to change everything and fix herself, everything just for him to come back:
I have always known that it’s best when it’s time to talk about two to start with oneself Inevitable
You probably know the situation
Here everything is getting worse
But at least I’m still breathing
You don’t have to say it
You won’t come back
I know you so well
I will think about what to do with you later
, which was used
alongside scenes of its music video for a Pepsi campaign, is more famous for being Shakira’s first foray into English singing, as a rewritten version was performed
in the Rosie O’Donnell show (followed by an interview hosted by Gloria Estefan
) and the ALMA Awards as a duet
with Melissa Etheridge. The songs was another top 5 hit of the album and have been performed in every tour ever since, albeit with a small alteration
since 2011: The lyric “and I don’t know nothing about football (soccer)
” is now “and now I know about football (soccer)
” as a tongue-in-cheek reference to her relationship with Gerard Piqué.
Even through it was only a radio single in a limited number of countries, the sixth track entered Shakira’s canon as her most controversial track: Octavo Día
) is also the first track on the album that doesn’t deal with the subject of love, instead it revolves around the idea of God leaving us behind and what would happen with humanity afterwards. In some ways, it can be compared to Joan Osborne’s sole hit One of Us
, however the song’s social commentary leaves behind any comparison it can be made to the theme song to Joan of Arcadia.
The song begins with God creating Earth in six days and taking a break from everything in the eight day by going “for a walk in outer space
” just to come back and “find everything in a hellish mess
” which leads Him to became just “another unemployed of the rate that is growing non-stop annually
”, since then “there are those who have seen him walking alone in the streets
” while “waiting patiently for someone with whom at least calm he can converse
”. In the second verse, God “in the absence of occupation or excessive loneliness
” leaves us behind as He went to another place, and left us with no other choice than to “worship Michael Jackson, Bill Clinton or Tarzan
” as Shakira laments how our poor God “does not appear in magazines, that he is not a model, or an artist or from a royal family”.
The chorus delves into social critique as Shak casually mentions how, in the meantime of this godly mess, “this world just keep spinning unable to being stopped; and here below, a few play us like chess pieces
” while she’s “not the kind of idiot that lets herself convince
” from stuff that even a blind men can see.
The rock track, winner of the Latin Grammy for Best Female Rock Vocal Performance
, gained more notoriety during the Tour of the Mongoose
(2002-2003), in which a very controversial background video played during the performance which showed Saddam Hussein and George W. Bush playing chess (with some of the musicians using Fidel Castro and Richard Nixon masks) just for players to later substitute the chess pieces for nuclear weapons, all while the Grim Reaper is controlling them like puppets… surprisingly she didn’t received the Dixie Chicks treatment and her career survived barely unscratched. In a later statement
Shakira mentioned her reasoning for such a controversial performance:
“I think that we see war as a virtual thing and we even get to believe that bombs fall on top of cardboard cutouts and stuff like that, they don't. They kill real people, real children, real mothers and millions of innocent people. I come from Colombia, which is a country that has been under the whip of violence for more than four decades, so I've seen the consequences of war and I've seen the psychological damage that it does in a society.
And I think that we're never ready for war. I just feel that there are always pacifist solutions, and I think that the leaders know the exit to the conflict, it's just that sometimes they don't want to use them, they just want to continue playing their little game of power. And I feel that us people have the responsibility and also the obligation to demand to our leaders to give us the pacifist solutions. […] I might be sounding like an old fashioned hippie, but I believe in pacifist revolutions and I think that we have to look for those solutions, otherwise there's no way to survive in this world. In the First World War, 13 million people were killed. In the Second World War, 40 million people were killed. I think that if a third war takes place, nothing is going to be left on the face of earth […] Not always do the governments represent their people. Not always do the governments make the right decisions, because the governments are controlled by just a few, and those few do not always represent faithfully the ideals of the people.”
Shakira performing Octavo Día at her MTV Unplugged concert
In the seventh track, Que Vuelvas
(To Come Back
), Shakira let us breathe after such a heavy track as a pulsating and pounding bass line, another dance loop and a guitar accompaniment guides us through a journey in which Ms. Piqué wonders what would happen to her now that her lover, Ríos once again, left her. It’s very straightforward, sure, and kind of unambitious, but there’s a small element that elevates this deep cut above your average filler: the structure.
VERSE 1: It established the basics of the track right away.
PRE-CHORUS: It builds up to some anthemic chorus.
VERSE 2: Shakira blueballs us as another verse kicks instead, which shows us another perspective of the elements established in the first verse.
PRE-CHORUS: It’s here once again.
CHORUS: It finally appears and it kicks harder thanks to the buildup.
VERSE 3: The history of the previous verses continues to move forward.
CHORUS: Instead of just reprising the chorus, Shakira give us a surprise and changes the last bar to connect directly to the bridge.
BRIDGE: This short interlude is used by the narrator for catharsis, with some tension being liberated after so much angst.
CHORUS: Now the chorus comes back followed by a fade out which makes us wonder what’s going to happen next with our narrator… will she move forward? Will he come back to her arms?
Of course this reading might be too extra to some people, especially because the songs sounds suspiciously similar to Estoy Aqui
, but I can’t really stand the fact that this songs its ‘this’
close to be filler, especially given its placement in the album.
The following track is Tú
) is Shak’s signature ballad and one of her most emotional and vocally demanding tracks. Although it begins as a declaration of unconditional love, it suddenly turns into another track begging her lover to not leave her again:
I give you my waist and my lips for when you want to kiss
I give you my madness and the few neurons that are left
My faded shoes, the diary in which I write
I give you my sighs, but don’t leave me again
Because you are my sunshine, the faith with which I live, the power of my voice, the feet that I use to walk
My love, you are my desire to laugh
I will not know how to say goodbye
Because I can never live without you
The self-penned track, issued as the second single of the album, reached number one in the Billboard Latin charts and several other Latin countries. Because of the difficulty of singing this track live, Shakira retired the full version after the Tour of the Mongoose
; but brought it back for her set in Rock in Rio
and the El Dorado World Tour, albeit without the second verse
. The title track's lyrics
The title track, Dónde Están los Ladrones?
(Where Are the Thieves?
), is second non-love song on the album. The harmonica comes back in the guitar-driven song which criticizes the politic and social reality in South American nations at the time of the album's release:
They have seen them out there, seen them on the rooftops, walking by Paris, condemning in the courts
With dusty nose, wearing a tie or blue jeans, you've seen them all on the covers, with nothing more to say
However, in a plot twist, Shakira points to finger toward herself in the chorus:
Where is the murderer?
Maybe there, rolling around the neighbor’s courtyard
and what will happen if it’s them?
And what will happen if it’s me
The one who plays this guitar or the one who is singing this song
Going by the song’s verses, everyone who had benefitted of the social inequity is part of the problem, it’s not enough to just point fingers. While 9 of the 11 tracks in the album are about love, the small glimpses we get from the Woke Shakira in this 2 sole tracks shows us that she’s far from being another average man-hater indie rock girl of the 90s like some of her peers… it’s not just the looks or the music, it’s how she portraits this sensibilities from different perspectives that makes her one of the greatest of the decade.
Unfortunately for us, we reached the closest this album has to a filler track: Sombra de Ti
), a subdued mid-tempo ballad in which Shakira feels how a previous relationship keeps haunting her. Lyrically speaking, this track is amazing, featuring some of the greatest metaphors and lyrics in the album (“You must know that there are pieces of your mouth spread out all over this place and that I stumble every day with another old memory and a new gray story
”) and the best opening bars in any heartache song ever (“I'm going to let my guitar say everything I do not know how to say myself, or maybe I should wait for this jeering clock to finish planning my ending
”) but… the sing-talking in the verses and the way she sings the chorus sort of takes me away from the track… I mean, any other Latin pop girl would murder for this song as her first single in any given album, but in this particular album and surrounded by so many amazing tracks it just falls somewhat flat for me. The album closer: Ojos Así
Fortunately, Shak decided to close the album with one of the greatest tracks of her career: Ojos Así
(Eyes Like These
), a middle eastern bop, which was released as the fifth single of the album. In the song, Shakira songs about how she has seen some amazing (“a heaven without Sun
”, “a river made of salt
”), unique (“a Saint in prison
”, “an abandoned ship in the desert
”) and weird (“a woman passing under her camel
”) stuff, and yet, she still hasn’t seen anything as striking as her man’s black eyes:
I ask Heaven only one thing, that in your eyes I can live
I have wandered around the entire world and I have come to tell you just one thing
I travelled from Bahrein to Beirut, I went from the North to the South Pole
and I never found eyes like those, like those that you have
The most impressive aspect of the track is the fact that Shakira actually sings in Arabic in several portions of the track, sometimes aided by an all-male chorus of course:
ربُ السماء , فيك رجائي (rb alsama' , fik rajayiy) (Lord of heaven, in you my hope)
في عينيها أرى حياتي (fi eayniha ‘araa hayati) (In his eyes I see my life)
آت ِ إليك من هذا الكون (at 'iilayk mn hdha alkun) (Coming to you from this universe
*)*أرجوك ربي .. لبي ندائي ('urjuk rabiy .. labi nidayiyun) (Please, My Lord)
The Latin Grammy nominated, MTV VMA winning
music video aided the song into becoming a huge hit in Latin America and arguably her signature 90s song. The track, which also won the Latin Grammy for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance
, actually has an (inferior) English version called Eyes Like Yours
, with an unreleased video
and everything, featured as the last track in 2002’s Laundry Service
. This English version helped the song to become a moderate hit in Europe and a smashing hit in Romania of all places.
The album Dónde Están los Ladrones?
was a huge critical hit when released in 1998: Rolling Stone declared that
it was ‘hard to imagine a singer barely into her 20s having written and recorded such an inventive set of song
s’, MTV declared that
Shakira ‘represents the kind of eventuality for which Alanis Morissette, Bob Dylan and Beck are all precedents
’, Sputnikmusic called the album
‘the gem of Shakira's discography, and one of the best Spanish pop releases of the past decade
’ and the NPR put it above Taylor’s Fearless
, Mariah’s Daydream
, No Doubt’s Tragic Kingdom
and Fiona Apple’s Tidal
, among others, in their list of 150 Best Albums Made by Women
was nominated for a Grammy in the Best Latin Rock/Alternative Album category
, gave Shakira a Songwriter of the Year award in the BMI Latin Awards, a World's Best Selling Latin Female Artist
at the World Music Awards and 5 awards out of 8 nominations at the Premios Lo Nuestro between 1999 and 2001
including Pop Album and Pop Female Artist.
Shakira with an ACTUAL Grammy
After its release, Ladrones
was an immediate success in Latin America selling over a million copies a month after its release, however that success didn’t immediately translated elsewhere: in the United States it debuted at #141 in its second week of release (it didn’t sell enough to chart at first) and next week peaked at #131, although it spend a total of 11 weeks atop the Billboard Top Latin Albums chart; in Europe the album was a commercial disappointment and only reached above the top 75 in the Spain charts. Ladrones
is Shakira’s second best-selling album worldwide with over 10 million copies sold (below Laundry Service’s 15 millions), including around one million copies in the US (being certified Platinum
), which makes it the 9th best-selling Latin album in the country, one position below Shakira’s own Fijación Oral Vol. 1
In order to promote the album, Shakira performed across the world in different events and TV shows: Miss Colombia 1999
in her native Colombia, Con T de Tarde
in Spain, Laura
in Peru, Domingo Legal
and Domingão do Faustão
in Brazil and Premios Lo Nuestro
and Latin Grammys
in the United States, among others, all in a one year period as she prepared her next release: Her MTV Unplugged
Recorded in the Grand Ballroom in New York just ten months after the release of Ladrones
was her first live album and basically served as an extension and complement of the Ladrones
era as 10 of the 11 tracks in the live release were from the Ladrones
album with Si Te Vas
being substituted with early single Estoy Aquí
. Unplugged was a huge hit (selling over a million copies worldwide) and was a critical success
in English-speaking markets, winning an actual Grammy, not a Latin Grammy, but a real Grammy for Best Latin Pop Album
, the third Unplugged
release to win a Grammy after Eric Clapton and Nirvana’s albums. Her first of many live albums: MTV Unplugged
After the release of Unplugged
in February 2000, Shakira embarked in her second international tour, Tour Anfibio (Amphibious Tour) to promote both the live album and Ladrones
. In The Tour Anfibio she performed for a two-month period (between March and May) a total of 21 concerts in 12 countries, including four dates in Argentine’s Luna Park (playing for almost 40,000 people), 3 dates in the United States (in San Diego’s Valley View Casino Center, Anaheim’s Honda Center and Miami’s Miami Arena, all with capacities for over 10,000 people) and a sole date in Colombia. Despite the short duration of the tour (it had less than one third of the dates of her previous tour), it was a commercial success.
After the inicial success of Ladrones
, Gloria Estefan tried to convince Shakira of releasing a English translated version of the album, offering to translate herself Ojos Así
to show it could be done (hence she was credited as a writer in the English version released later), which made Shakira start doing it herself… that was until she decided to better start anew and give herself some time to study the language, subsequently the sessions that were supposed to start in January of 1999 were cancelled and Shakira wouldn’t start working in the Ladrones
follow-up until the next year, writing English tracks with a "dictionary in one hand and a thesaurus in the other
"; the resulting album was Laundry Service
and we all know how that turned out and what happened afterward. Shakira during her Anfibio Tour Donde Estan Los Ladrones?
Is a fantastic listening from beginning to end, with every track offering something unique: either an iconic lyric, a moment of musical brilliance or a shocking combination of both, with the sudden realization that she was just 21 when the album was unleashed to the world; Ladrones
is very obviously a 90s album, but that’s not a detriment to how enjoyable and relatable it is up to this day, and how well and tightly produced it is. Despite lacking thematic cohesion, it doesn’t need it (not every album has to be The Wall
) to shock and awe with its sonically delicious palette of Latin rock pop sounds and poetic lyrics. Each track (with an obvious exception, a 7/10 for me) is at least a 9/10 with several tens in the middle.
As much as I love Shakira, I’ve always though it was a shame that this was her creative peak… not that she isn’t still great but none of her later albums have reached the same heights, although several of her subsequent tracks are obviously deserving of their acclaim and even some albums have come somewhat close of Ladrone
Here are the requested courtblogs from WFRV as requested by the one whose username starts with 4 letters and ends with 2 numbers. Reddit character limit forces me to split the blogs in two posts. This is only a partial archive, going back in time 11 years does have it's limitations :). Enjoy. Will Steven Avery testify?
That’s a question many people are wondering as the defense continues its case. So far we’ve heard from a bus driver who saw a woman taking photos near the Avery property, but can’t say with any certainty when. Next a propane delivery driver who was on Avery road on Halloween of 2005, who claims to have seen a green SUV driving away from the Avery Salvage yard between 3:30 and 4pm, an hour after the prosecution says Teresa Halbach was murdered. But again, he can’t say if the driver was a man or woman. Plus a man who owns the trailer where Avery lived and the .22 caliber rifle inside the home, thought to be the murder weapon. He says he fired over 3,000 shots over the years on the property, and the defense wants the jury to believe he‘s the possible source of 11 shell casings recovered by investigators.
We would expect to hear from a forensic expert to contradict the bone fragments in the burn pit or the DNA on the bullet pulled from the garage. You would hope for direct evidence of two vengeful law enforcement officers out to get Avery, for the shame they felt about prolonging his time in prison for a wrongful rape conviction. But where’s that one piece of evidence that shows the prosecution has got it all wrong straight from the mouth of the accused? Where’s Steven Avery?
If Avery took the witness stand, he could tell all what happened on Halloween of 2005. He’s really the only one who knows.
If you were facing life behind bars, wouldn’t you want to speak on your own behalf? If I were on the jury, I would want to hear what he has to say. But it obviously would be a huge gamble, and it’s still unclear if the defense is ready to take that chance. Posted by Kris Schuller at Mar 9, 2007 11:09 am False Imprisonment Charge Thrown Out
The false imprisonment charge Steve Avery faced has been thrown out.
The decision came Monday morning as Judge Patrick Willis ruled on three motions filed by the defense last Friday. The judge ruled there simply wasn’t enough evidence presented during the trial to support the charge. The prosecution had argued that Teresa Halbach had to have been held against her will and forced into the garage, where they say she was murdered by at least two shots to the head from a .22 caliber rifle by Avery. The defense had argued that charge was only added after the other suspect charged in Halbachs murder, but facing a separate trial, Brendan Dassey, confessed back in March of last year of being involved in the murder. He later recanted his confession and faces trial in April.
But the court ruled against dismissing all of the charges as requested by the defense. The court also ruled the DNA evidence found on the bullet inside Avery’s garage would not be suppressed and that the police did nothing wrong during their week long search of the Avery property. So motions to suppress evidence collected from the burn pit and other areas of the Avery Salvage yard can still be considered by the jury.
The judge is now individually talking to jurors to make sure they have been following his order not to watch, read, of listen to media coverage of this case.
This case is quickly winding down. Expect it to go to the jury within the next few days. Posted by Kris Schuller at Mar 12, 2007 9:12 am Motions To Supress 'Magic Bullet' Denied
False Imprisonment Charge Dropped, Motions to Supress Evidence, “Magic” Bullet: Denied Steven Avery’s attorneys won one battle today. Judge Willis agreed that the State did not present enough evidence to prove the charge.
Dean Strang and Jerry Buting lost the motions asking to suppress the bullet with Teresa Halbach’s DNA on it, and the motion asking to throw out the evidence in the burn barrel and burn pit, since authorities did not obtain a new search warrant when they searched those areas. Judge Willis said the cops had five days to execute that warrant. Posted by Angenette Levy at Mar 12, 2007 1:19 pm What About Teresa Halbach?
Everyday, I drive to the Calumet County Courthouse by myself. It’s a nice, pretty drive, and it gives me some “alone” time before and after work. And many times, I drive through Teresa Halbach’s neighborhood to get there.
Calumet County is Halbach Country. This is where the Halbach family lives, and you can feel the pain that still lingers here from her Teresa’s death.
Over the last several weeks, we’ve heard a lot of testimony about Teresa’s bones, her DNA, her Daisy Fuentes jeans and even her teeth. Sprinkled in between all of that was testimony from her mom (which broke my heart), her younger sister Katie, and her brother Mike. They bring you the human face to the person some of us never knew. But other than that, at times it seems Teresa Halbach gets lost among the science lessons about chemicals and vials of blood and the difference between tires with steel belts and those without.
I was sitting upstairs yesterday, while Judge Willis conducted individual voir dire of the jurors. I parked myself outside of Judge Willis’s chambers and talked with Mike Halbach for a few minutes. He’s a real sweetie and he’s getting married this summer, without his sister to stand by him. It really got me thinking. I don’t know how this family does it. They sit through these long days in court, and their lives will never be the same. We could all learn something from the Halbachs... and from Teresa.
There’s a photo of Teresa that I first saw the day Ken Kratz announced that Steven Avery would be charged with her murder. My colleague, Olga Halaburda, attended the news conference, and I went to a prayer service at St. John Sacred Hearth Church in Sherwood. I remember sitting in the church as the Halbachs filed in, sitting in the first pew. Mike wasn’t there, but all of the other siblings were in attendance. The hymn “On Eagle’s Wings” played as the service ended. That song will always remind me of Teresa Halbach.
That day, I was live at 5 and 6 outside of the church, near a candle that had been lit several days before as the community prayed for Teresa’s safe return. Next to the candle sat the cutest photo of a little girl that I think I’ve ever seen. It was Teresa Halbach, clad in a blue dress, sitting inside of a tractor tire. Next to it, sat a Reader’s Digest with The Beatles on the cover (that was Teresa’s favorite band). The magazine was sealed in a Ziploc bag with a post it stating, “May angels be with you on your journey.” Every time that I see that photo, it reminds me why we are here. Not that I’ve ever forgotten, but in between the talk of burn barrels and finger prints and DNA, sometimes you have to put her out of your mind, or at least tuck her in the back. Sometimes, you just have to do that to get through the day, so you can do your job and meet your deadline. But we must remember one thing: If the Halbachs can sit through court and listen to this, then we can, too. We must.
I snapped a picture of this photo using my digital camera at Seven Angels Restaurant here in Chilton. The Halbachs are regular customers there, and the Sabani family owns it. They’re some of the nicest people that I’ve ever met. They make me feel at home every time I go there, and it’s nice to sit there and get a feel for what the community is thinking and feeling. People are very interested in the outcome of this trial, and they love the Halbach family and Teresa. This photo is hanging in the front entrance of the restaurant. You can’t miss it; it’s right above the gum ball machine as you walk in.
But, maybe the next time we hear expert testimony about teeth, and bone fragments and “magic bullets”, this picture will come into our minds. Teresa Halbach is a little girl who grew up to be a photographer, but never lived to comb grey hair. In a way, she’s everyone’s little sister, daughter, niece, granddaughter and friend. Her’s was a life taken too soon, and for what?
I don’t think we’ll ever really know. Posted by Angenette Levy at Mar 13, 2007 10:20 am The Chilton Hilton
That’s what some of us reporters have affectionately dubbed our media room down here. It’s a big conference room in the basement of the Calumet County Courthouse. The officials here, led by Sheriff Jerry Pagel and County Administrator Bill Craig (if I’m leaving anyone out, I apologize) allowed us to transform it into a newsroom. They’ve been so nice to let us do that, because let me tell you, it beats sitting out in the truck in the middle of winter!
The time has just flown by down here. Sometimes, it seems like hours fly by like minutes. I liken this room to a casino in Las Vegas. There aren’t any windows, no clocks on the walls. You sit all day long and listen to testimony and crank out stories and before you know it, you’re sitting in front of a camera, doing live shots for the 5, and going to a news conference and slamming it together for a 6 o’clock live shot. It’s almost like they keep us fueled by pumping this place full of oxygen and feeding us a constant stream of coffee. It’s like in Vegas when the cocktail servers keep the drinks coming, free of charge, just so you’ll keep gambling!
The other day, I wrote out a check and I asked the cashier for the date, and she said, “it’s March 10.” I nearly fell over. I couldn’t believe it was March. And, there have been more than a few days when I got home around 8:30 p.m. or later, and I couldn’t remember what day it was.
We have a lot of really nice people down here in the Chilton Hilton, and we all get along. It’s a shame that we’re always so busy, and that we don’t get to talk more. We have fun when we get to chat. Mick from TMJ4 sits in front of Kris and I. Peter from FOX 6 in Milwaukee sits behind me; very nice guys. Dan from TMJ radio sits across the way with Tom from The Journal Sentinel. We go out to lunch sometimes and we’ve gone out after work a couple of times. Carrie from the AP sits at the end of my table, but she was gone for a while, which was a bummer. Colleen Henry from WISN sits across the room, and I wish that she was closer to us. She’s really interesting and I’d like to talk to her more.
Then, there are my print pals, like John Lee from the Post-Crescent! He’s my bud! I do a lot of my live shots over at the Gannett table, otherwise known as Andy Nelesen’s “front porch.” I usually leave stuff on his desk, my glasses and make up, and he always returns them. He doesn’t like it when I leave my stuff at his “house” but he puts up with me.
All of the Green Bay TV stations have people here, too. A few of us have been on this case since day one, and it’s like we’re all in it together. We’ve spent a lot of time together, whether it’s in the courtroom, or at news conferences, or in the parking lot at the Manitowoc County Courthouse, which seemed like the entire summer. We have to see it through to the end.
Everyday after court, we flock to the podium together and for the news conferences, which can be a lot of fun! The attorneys and Mike Halbach are always nice to us, and they all have good senses of humor.
I’ll get some pics of our digs posted. Posted by Angenette Levy at Mar 16, 2007 8:33 pm Jury Is Done For The Night
6:28 p.m. – The jury ordered cold cuts for dinner, and then called it quits for the night.
They’ll start back up again at 8:30 a.m. and we’ll be here! Posted by Angenette Levy at Mar 16, 2007 8:34 pm Juror Question #2
We learned that the jurors had a question. We're in hurry up in wait mode. So, we all arose from whatever we were doing and got into position. I wouldn’t call it organized chaos, more like just getting ready (this is what we do, so it’s pretty routine). Judge Willis was in chambers with the attorneys for a while, and then around 3:15 p.m., Judge Willis read the question.
The jurors wanted a portion of Sherry Culhane’s testimony read back to them. Culhane is the DNA analyst with the State Crime lab. She worked on Avery’s wrongful conviction case in 1985. She testified at that time that the hairs found on the victim in that case, were Steven Avery’s. DNA testing in 2003 (again conducted by Culhane) on those hairs showed they actually belonged to Gregory Allen. Culhane conducted all of the testing in this case.
The jurors wanted the testimony from Jerry Buting’s cross examination of Culhane read back to them, when she answered questions regarding the DNA testing of the .22 caliber rifle found hanging above Steven’s bed. Prosecutors say Avery used that rifle to murder Teresa Halbach. Roland Johnson, who actually owns the trailer where Avery lived, testified that gun actually belonged to him. Johnson said that he must have fired that gun 3,000 times. He liked to shoot gophers at his “weekend getaway” adjacent to the Salvage Yard.
Ok, so in the testimony, Culhane said that she swabbed several parts of the gun, including the barrel and the trigger. Culhane testified that she found neither Teresa Halbach’s nor Steven Avery’s DNA on the rifle, including the trigger guard.
The jurors returned to their deliberations.
From our count down here, Sherry Culhane was the 33rd prosecution witness to testify. If the jurors are taking this chronologically, then that means they’re just over half way through.
What do you think the question means, if anything? What do you think any of this means, if anything?
Email me and I will post your entries. Angenette Levy: [email protected] Posted by Angenette Levy at Mar 17, 2007 5:22 pm Sunday Morning at the Courthouse, Deliberations Resume
Good Sunday Morning everyone! The jury arrived at 11 a.m. and resumed deliberations. They stopped at 5 p.m. last night. I heard that Sheriff Pagel offered to order some hot meals for them, and they declined. They ate the leftover cold cuts from Friday for lunch yesterday.
Some people are speculating that we’ll have a verdict by 1:00 because the Badgers game starts shortly after that. I don’t see that happening.
Anyway, Everyone is here and accounted for. Colleen Henry from WISN brought donuts for everyone. We’ve all brought food in at one point or another, and it’s always something tasty like donuts or cupcakes or something like that! Many of us are listening to music this morning as we work. It’s nice to listen to some music for the first time in a long time!
I was driving here this morning on my usual route and the Lionel Richie song, “Easy Like Sunday Morning” started playing in my head. It stopped when I drove past Sacred Heart Church in Sherwood. Cars were pulling in for church. It was sad to see all of the blue ribbons by the church, even though I’ve seen them many times before.
I want to thank everyone who has emailed me. I really enjoy reading your emails, and as I’ve said before, keep ‘em comin’.
Here are some of you responses regarding Juror Question #2 and other items dealing with the trial.
More later, I promise. Sounds like to me a mistrial or years and years of appeals is in the offing. I would very much like to see what odds Vegas would put on this trial if they even knew about it.
It scares me. I think they DO find serious doubt in the truth of Sherry Culhane's testimony. I know if I were on the jury, I would doubt her, no questions asked! She ONLY deviated on THIS case in how many years? I find HIGH doubt in that. Like the 'evidence' shows, the cops left her a message stating they wanted her to place Teresa in his house. But, as for other evidence, it just seems fishy. No, I don't actually think the police planted evidence, but I also am not 100% convinced Steven Avery did it! I have watched about 99% of the trial on the live stream. What an exhausting case. I do enjoy reading your journal and wanted to tell you so! Glad you got a cushion for at least some comfort. Hope this trial is over soon, for the sake of the Halbach's and all involved. As I said, I am on the fence and either way the jury decides, I can see how they would be unsure and glad I'm not one of them!!! I DO think he could have done it and may get away with it because 18 years in prison-he wasn't just sitting there...it probably warped him (more) and possibly gave him ways to get away with it! I also can't wait for his nephew, Brendan's, trial to get under way. I wonder how long that will take. In my opinion, I don't care how mentally unfit, nobody (hardly anyone) says they did that sort of thing if they didn't. That also is why I think more than not the Steven did do it.
OH-I also think Judge Willis is AWESOME! He's SO fair, I was surprised by that, to see such a fair judge-yeah, rare, isn't it. No Judge Ito here! (Thank God)
Mary Howard’s Grove, WI
I think the question is favorable to Steven Avery. They are piecing together the obvious things. If he raped her and did whatever in his trailer, there would have to be DNA of her in there somewhere (be it a single hair on the bed or in the carpet). If he shot her in the head from close range, the would be splatter in the barrel, which there wasn't.
I think based on the fact the jury is out this long and that type of question was asked, there are more people in the jury room trying to sway a not guilty verdict then the other way around.
Mark in Charlotte, NC
Quite a defense Avery put up--huh? Let me see, a gopher shooting, absentee dementiated landlord, some wicken lab auditor who could not definiately contradict the lab analysis but was probably paid very well just to put up some smoke, and some other bozos that could NOT factually impeach any of the prosecutions evidence or exhibits. Now, if you were Avery and truely innocent--would you not want to take the stand and try to convince the jurors? I would demand it. So would any innocent person. But he did not want the opportunity.
I thought both sides did a good job in their closing. The defense had little to work with, but created as much smoke as they could. Contrary to what you think, I want the defense to do a good job, in that way there is little chance of winning a new trial on appeal. Ken did a good job also, considering the magnitutude of all the evidence. I just wish he had a lower and stronger voice--sorta sounds like a cross between a whiney Wayne Newton and Michael Jackson at times. Some well placed theatrics should also have been used. Ken is pretty square.
I heard that if Avery gets off, that he is moving in to an apartment with Robert Blake and OJ Simpson, so they can pool their resources searching for the "real killers". I am moving to Canada where they have Smith and Wesson justice. Just kidding.
The Hallbach family is one class act. Sometimes in the heat of the battle, we lose sight of their grief. I tell this to everyone: if that had been my daughter, there would not be an Avery trial, and I would be behind bars charged and awaiting sentencing--because I would admit to everything. Eye for an eye...well, it even goes beyond that.
Mark from the Valley
I also get chuckles out of Mr. Buting. I have said to more than one person,"If I ever get in trouble I want those two guys defending me". Now, I do not ever anticipate that, but I think the defense has done a superb job of making the reasonable doubt a real possibility with the jurors. It has been fascinating for me to listen to both sides while at work through your network, and I am so glad I am not on that jury. I have my beliefs both ways of Mr. Avery but I will keep my thoughts to myself and see what the jury does.
Like him? About as much as a 10 foot cobra! The man is condescending, vastly rude and can take any fact and twist it to his version of the truth.
Why is everyone else stupid except him?
Both Mr. Buting and Mr. Strang have played on the sympathy of "poor" Mr. Avery, sent to prison for all those years for something he didn't do. That has no relevance to what was done to Ms. Halbach and to this crime. Does the fact of being sent to prison unjustly exonerate one from brutally murdering an innocent person? And if you have intelligently followed this trial, you will know that Mr. Avery did, without a doubt, commit this crime.
Both Mr. Buting and Mr. Strang just leave a very sour taste in one's mouth. Their smug superiority is very irritating and I feel detracts from their message.
I think if I were a juror, Mr. Kratz's famous powerpoint presentation would be helpful. Verbal and visual reminder of what was presented. I liked his style, he was easier to listen to than the defense. Although at times, I felt maybe a bit too ingratiating. But overall, I think he did an exemplary job of laying out the facts.
Barb S. Green Bay Posted by Angenette Levy at Mar 19, 2007 4:38 pm When The Verdict Came In
Around 3:00 p.m. on Sunday afternoon, everyone down in the Calumet Casino (a.k.a. The Chilton Hilton) started to wonder, “what in the world are we going to do for a story today?” None of us anticipated a verdict, and we were all brainstorming. We thought, “well, maybe they’ll (the jurors) come up with a question.” I wanted to do a story with all of the attorneys, asking them what was the longest they’d ever waited for a verdict. None of them seemed interested, then I approached Sheriff Pagel and he didn’t think he would be allowed to comment due to the gag order.
So, I started to walk upstairs around my best estimate of 4:44 p.m. to fish around for another story. I was on the phone with my producer Michael as I approached the stairwell leading to the lobby and was met by Sheriff Pagel, a line of reporters trailing after him. Colleen was directly behind him and I can’t remember who else was there, but I joined the line of reporters and followed them inside, and told Michael that I would call him back.
I expected Sheriff Pagel to say, “the jury’s done for the day.” Instead, he said, “ok, we have a verdict.” I flipped open my cell phone, got the phone tree going and started to get ready. Everyone dropped what he or she was doing, and picked up phones. Remember, this is what we do. It’s our “hurry up and wait” mode, and when the waiting’s over, we spring into action. It’s an autopilot type thing, and it’s hard to describe, but your heart kind of pounds and you get this tunnel vision, and forget about everything else. You have one focus, and that’s get the story right, and get it on the air as soon as possible. For example, I had been suffering from shooting pain in my back and legs for two days prior to this, and the second Sheriff Pagel made the announcement, all of the pain disappeared.
I was to be stationed outside but I had time to watch the verdict from the media room off of the courtroom. I’ve been on this case since the beginning, so I had to see it up close. There wasn’t room in the courtroom for me, but the media room was just fine with me. John and Dewey from the Post-Crescent were in there, along with Morry from the AP (nice guy, great still photographer) and so was Fred Berry from WOMT.
We’d been waiting for this for nearly 18 months. It was judgement day. The courtroom was packed with Halbach family members. Steven Avery’s mom Dolores arrived, but her husband, Allan, was not present. Dolores’s brother was there, along with Steve’s aunt Ivonne. They’ve been in this spot with Steve before and the last time he went to prison for 18 years.
I was looking around and the attorneys appeared calm, yet tense. Some Calumet cops kept peeking into the media room, I think they were just making sure everything was okay. Then, I saw a couple of faces that I hadn’t seen in weeks, but they were two faces I’d seen many times before: Manitowoc County Sheriff Rob Hermann and Inspector Gregg Schetter, the Manty County Cops. I greeted Sheriff Hermann, who I’d met at a news conference nearly a year and a half ago. He’s a nice guy and I’ve seen him a lot over the last several months. Rob was standing next to me, it was pretty much standing room only in our media room. Morry climbed up on a chair to get a picture or 10 of Steve as they brought him in.
To quote Simon and Garfunkel, the only thing that you could hear was the “sound of silence” and camera clicking.
Everyone in the courtroom sat down, the jury was brought in. I watched as they walked in because I wanted to see whether they would look at Steve. I’ve often heard that jurors delivering a not guilty verdict will look at the defendant. These jurors did not appear to look at Steve as they walked in, but we had no idea of what the verdict would be.
The papers were handed to Judge Willis and he started to read, “We the jury find the defendant Steven A. Avery guilty of first degree intentional homicide.” I stood there frozen, and I didn’t even hear the second count being read, when Judge Willis said the jurors reached a not guilty verdict on the mutilation of a corpse charge. By all appearances, the courtroom was silent.
Judge Willis thanked the jurors for their service. That was my cue to get outside. I marched down the hallway with another reporter, and we walked outside, and got into position in front of our cameras. Chelly Boutott was there and she was trying to get interviews with people leaving the courthouse.
We then went down to the media room and Mike Halbach was speaking. It was very touching. He said that his family would be keeping the Averys in their prayers, since they too have suffered a great loss. What a class act, with all they’ve been through.
Then Dean Strang and Jerome Buting spoke. They were disappointed. They believe in Steven. I’ve never seen two attorneys advocate so strongly for a client. They worked very hard for Steven Avery.They are to be commended. They’re very nice guys.
Then Special Prosecutor Ken Kratz and the Calumet and Manitowoc County cops came down. It’s been a long road for them, and they’ve worked hard to see that justice would be served for Teresa Halbach and her family. They all look tired. It was weird sitting there , watching this Wall O’ Law Enforcement. I feel like I’ve spent a lot of time with these guys over the last 18 months whether it was at court or at news conferences. Cops sometimes get a bad wrap, but I can tell you, these cops the Manitowoc and Calumet guys were thinking of one thing throughout this case, and that was: Teresa Halbach.
What did you think of the verdict? Did you watch? We may post your response. Posted by Angenette Levy at Mar 20, 2007 8:47 pm Cross Examination of Dr. Gordon
Ken Kratz accused Dr. Gordon of “cherry picking” by choosing to put things in his report that would favor Brendan Dassey’s assertion that his confession was false, and the result of suggestion by investigators.
Ken Kratz cited a question Dassey was asked. Dassey said that he believed it was true that anyone would lie to keep out of trouble. Gordon said that the testing he used was not suitable to determine whether Dassey could be diagnosed with anti-social personality disorder, or anti-social tendencies. Anti-social personality disorder is defined as:
“A psychiatric diagnosis in the DSM-IV-TR recognizable by the disordered individual's disregard for social rules and norms, impulsive behavior, and indifference to the rights and feelings of others.”
Kratz also cited the difference between suggestibility and a truly false confession. He pointed out studies about false confessions.
There are three types of confessions:
1) Voluntary 2) Coerced, compliant – the subject perceives a gain 3) Coerced, internalized – the subject convinces herself or himself that they committed the crime
Kratz: Their studies indicate that most false confessions are the result of very long interrogations, sometimes that last into the days, rather than just an hour.
Kratz said Dassey started to make admissions about 60 minutes into his 3 to 4 hour interrogation.
Gordon conceded that Dassey’s low IQ which has been estimated between 73 and 81, his shyness and other personality traits, could make him susceptible to giving a true or false confession.
Gordon reiterated that his testing was designed to show how suggestible Dassey might be, not the truthfulness of his statement. Apr 24, 2007 9:38 pm The Dane County 15
Let me tell you, Brendan Dassey couldn’t ask for a better jury, in my opinion. These people are a smart, smart bunch. They seem attentive and considerate and open-minded.
11 women and four men sit on the jury. A woman was dismissed last Friday due to illness. I have watched them when I’ve been in the courtroom. A few look a little tired, but otherwise they seem to be holding up well. They listened carefully as Brendan Dassey testified yesterday. They also watched the confession; some took notes while I was in the courtroom. The day after the confession played, it seemed many of them couldn’t even look at Brendan, though. Some of the women just stared at him, skeptically. Some of the men did not look at him.
The jury is staying at a local hotel in Manitowoc. I’ve stopped by the bar there after work a couple of times to meet reporters who are also staying there . The jury always has a great spread set out for them. Last night, I walked by and there was some awesome Strawberry Shortcake on the dessert tray.
They arrive every morning looking fairly chipper. Tomorrow, they should have the case by late afternoon or early evening.
Does anyone want to guess how long they’ll deliberate? Apr 25, 2007 10:30 am Sexual Assault Charge: Amended
This morning, Special Prosecutor Ken Kratz asked the court to amend the criminal complaint and change the first degree sexual assault charge as a party to a crime to second degree sexual assault as a party to a crime.
Judge Fox granted the motion. Then, Mark Fremgen asked to have that charge dismissed, citing a lack of physical evidence. Fremgen said there is no physical evidence to support the charge. In fact, he said the only evidence to support it is the confession, and according to the law, some evidence must be offered aside from the confession.
Special Prosecutor Norm Gahn said there isn’t a lot of physical evidence because Steven and Brendan burned Teresa’s body. However, he said the discovery of handcuffs and leg irons in Steve’s bedroom, along with Teresa’s DNA on the bullet found in Steve’s garage is sufficient evidence to corroborate the confession. Gahn also noted how the furniture in Avery’s bedroom had been rearranged, which Brendan said in his confession, and Jodi Stachowski, Avery’s girlfriend testified too, which supports the claim that the bedroom was cleaned thoroughly to destroy evidence.
Judge Fox said there’s enough evidence to have the jury consider the charge. Motion to dismiss, denied. Apr 25, 2007 5:10 pm More of Your Emails
Thanks for writing in again, everyone! And, as I’ve said, keep ‘em comin’! I want to know what you’re thinking.
Dug that hole a mile deep. That's why I find it quite interesting why a defense attorney would let his client go up on the stand, put a noose around his neck and hang himself. My past experiences were a defendant NEVER makes a good witness. The phone call to his mother seems to me to be the deal sealer.
Tim, De Pere
I think every word he confessed to is true. Steven Avery is the one that should pay dearly for this kid, I think he made a wrong choice but Steven is the real problem. Too bad Wisconsin doesn't have the death penalty.
How long do you think the jury will deliberate?
I say once the jury gets the instructions, they will be out no more than 4 hours before they return their verdict. I can't help but feel that when Brendan took the stand Monday that he lost all possible hope for any "sympathy" from the jury to possibly convict on a lesser charge.
Tammi, Green Bay
I think the jury will be out about 10 minutes...
I think the Jury will deliberate and reach a verdict in less than 2 hours. The evidence is clear. The decision should be easy.
MN DePere, WI
Tom Fallon’s Closing Argument
I caught most of it....compelling to say the least ? Is it just me or has Brendan "perked" up a little bit since his testimony Monday ? I sure hope this kid doesn't think that he is going home after all this....breaks my heart for both families.
Tammi Angenette, Apr 25, 2007 7:28 pm We’re on Verdict Watch
I’ve received some emails asking about what’s going on out here in Manitowoc County.
We’re all sitting in the parking lot of the courthouse or hanging out in the parking lot. It’s really, really cold out here!
The jury got the case around 4:30 p.m. after some pretty impressive closing arguments from the State and the defense.
The Dane County jury now consists of 13 people – 12 jurors and 1 alternate composed of four men and two women. Two women were relieved of their duties today.
They just got dinner. It’s Italian consisting of pizza and other stuff. It smelled delicious!
It could be a long night, or a short one. We’re in hurry up and wait mode. When we were in Madison for jury selection, the deputies at the Dane County Courthouse said that a jury their deliberated until 6:00 a.m. several weeks ago, and returned a verdict then.
We could be in a for a short wait, or a long night.
I’ll do my best to keep you updated. Apr 25, 2007 7:35 pm Two Mothers – Polar Opposites
Karen Halbach -- Teresa’s Mom
Everyday for the last 18 months or so, I can imagine that Karen Halbach has awakened to milk her cows and see her two teenage daughters off to school. As she walks toward her barn, does she look across that farm field and see the home that used to be occupied by Teresa? I wonder what it must be like for her, to open her eyes every morning. Is Teresa the first thing that comes to mind? Is she the last thing she thinks about before going to sleep?
I know that my mom always says there’s probably nothing worse that a parent can go through, than to lose his or her child. Losing a child is a totally unnatural experience. Parents aren’t supposed to bury their children; they’re supposed to watch them grow up, have their own children -- or not -- and grow to middle age, and in some instances, old age. But, Karen Halbach was robbed of that by Steven Avery -- and now, Brendan Dassey.
I’ve heard over and over again that the Halbachs have a deep faith that has guided them through the last 18 months. Mike Halbach has often said that he gets his strength from his mother. I don’t know whether it’s faith or life experience or a combination of both, but I know that I don’t understand how this family has kept it together.
Imagine for months, turning on the news and listening to the man you believe to be the murderer of your daughter, granting interviews and suggesting that your daughter might still be alive. Imagine Karen Halbach, listening to Steven Avery talk about how cops might have planted his blood to frame them for her daughter’s murder. To listen to him say, “she was here for 5 minutes, and left” even after his nephew gives a three-hour recorded confession.
I feel for Karen Halbach and the rest of the Halbach family. My younger sister is Teresa’s age, and let me tell you, if that had been my sister, I would have lost it a long time ago. The first time Steven Avery walked into the courtroom smirking my way, I might have lost it. But then in a way he wins. I might be in a straight jacket by now, if something like that happened to my sister. But, then again, you never know how you’ll handle a situation, until you’re in it.
I don’t know whether the phrase “grace under pressure” adequately describes Karen Halbach -- it seems like it’s not good enough. We could all learn a thing or two from Karen Halbach and her family. They’ve got more class in their little finger than some people could ever hope to have.
I met Barb Tadych on the evening of March 1, 2006. It was the night that her son, Brendan Dassey, confessed to helping rape and murder Teresa Halbach and then burn her body.
I stumbled upon Barb and she agreed to talk with me. Standing outside, she looked absolutely stunned. She told me about her baby, Brendan and how her brother threatened him to go through with it. I stood outside in the cold, it was misting a bit, and listened to her as she poured out her heart to me. She told me about how badly she felt for the Halbach family. She didn’t understand how someone could “take an innocent life.”
Barb told me that Brendan had a learning disability and that “he does as he’s told.” I had no idea at this point that Brendan had confessed to the things he did -- I thought that he had confessed to helping burn Teresa’s body, nothing more.
I’ll never forget what it was like to look into her eyes as she realized what her brother had dragged her son into that Halloween day. She said that she was “numb.” She looked into the camera and spoke to her brother and said, “Steven, I know you’re going to be watching this and I hate you for what you did to my son, so you can rot in hell, alright. And I’m gonna get you for it.”
That night, I would learn that Brendan Dassey had confessed to murder and implicated Steven Avery in the crime. I was stunned. I remember thinking, “a 16-year-old kid did this?” Of course it’s possible, but how could a kid do this?
As I’ve said before, only Brendan Dassey can answer the “why” question. And, if he did do it, and if it was simply because he “wanted to see what if felt like”as far as sex goes, then why did Steven Avery bring his young, impressionable nephew into this?
How could he do this not only to Teresa Halbach, but to his sister and his nephew? Only Avery can answer that question and right now he’s saying that he didn’t do it.
I’ve watched Barb over the last 13 months. This has worn on her terribly. She wants her son to come home and the truth of the matter is, he may never see the light of day again once that jury returns with a verdict.
It’s very, very sad. If Brendan Dassey did this then he must be punished, he must be held accountable. But, Barb didn’t do anything and it’s hard to watch a mother who may lose her child -- albeit in a much different way than the Halbachs.
In talking to Barb I can tell that she’s tried to be a good mother and that she loves her children. We all have to play with the hand we’re dealt, and sometimes it just seems like Barb got a really bad hand.
It’s also terribly sad that most of the time Barb comes to court by herself. Brendan’s dad Peter has been here in the mornings, but he has to work in the afternoon. When Steve was on trial, many of the Avery family members showed up for court everyday. It’s sad to see that Brendan’s grandparents, Dolores and Allan, and his uncles choose to stay home for his court appearances. Why all the support for Steve and none for Brendan?
It must be awful to feel like no one’s behind you, or your son. She also trusted her brother with her son, and now look what’s happened, if what Brendan said is true.
P.S. -- Karen Halbach and Barb Tadych share the same birthday. Angenette Apr 30, 2007 3:34 pm
Hole in the Wall Gang is an extraordinary look into the life of a career criminal. Frank Cullotta lays out the details of nearly thirty years as a master thief, Chicago Outfit associate and hit man. New BEST FRIENDS SONG Reveals SECRET Hidden Cameras in HOUSE! (24 Hour Music Video Challenge) https://youtu.be/fUbMZRIhJ7IRebecca Zamolo spent 24 hours overn... ** (Disclaimer: This video content is intended for educational and informational purposes only) **Donate to PoliceActivity: https://www.patreon.com/PoliceAct... Former mafia hitman for Tony Spilotro, Frank Cullotta opens up about mafia life, doing hits for Tony Spilotro and more in this tell-all interview. Order ‘The... We sometimes become very attached to places we go to have fun, this is for those who have become attached to "Hole-In-The-Wall" Casino in Danbury, Wisconsin.... Casino. Stream now on Peacock. https://www.peacocktv.com?cid=20200101evergreenownyt002&utm_source=youtube&utm_medium=owned_onlinevideo_brandawareness_descrip... In 2019 I thought that I had found the worst game on Steam. I thought it couldn't get any worse... I was wrong. Not only is this a worse game, it's also the ... BB Kings Blues All Stars Performing live at The Wind Creek Casino at B.B. King restaurant and Casino Montgomery, AL. Part 6: https://youtu.be/jnKTAm2aFPI Part 4: https://youtu.be/SCBKym554Bc Part 1: https://youtu.be/7LZyMlFxPog ----- In this clip, Frank Cullottta recount...