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"Making a Murderer" and Other Wisconsin True Crime Stories

January 12, 2016

If you follow current events, you’ve undoubtedly heard about Netflix’s “Making a Murderer” docu-series, or have seen the show yourself. Released in December, the series has since transcended beyond the attention of Netflix subscribers and into the national spotlight, finding its way into headlines and both primetime and cable news programs.

For those unfamiliar with the subject matter, “Making a Murderer” looks into Wisconsin native Steven Avery, who was convicted of sexual assault and attempted murder in 1985, resulting in Avery serving 18 years in prison. After being exonerated of those crimes Avery, a Manitowoc County resident, was tried and convicted in 2007 for the murder of Teresa Halbach and continues to serve a life sentence in prison. “Making a Murderer” purports Avery is innocent and the victim of corruption in the criminal justice system.

If you’re one of the many Americans who are hooked on "Making a Murderer", or who have followed the Steven Avery case closely, Marathon County Public Library has two books you maybe want to check out for supplemental reading. “Unreasonable Inferences”, written by Manitowoc County assistant district attorney Michael Griesbach in 2010, covers Avery’s first trial and conviction for the charges he faced in 1985. “The Innocent Killer: A True Story of a Wrongful Conviction and its Astonishing Aftermath”, also written by Griesbach and published in 2014, delves into Avery’s initial prison sentence and eventual exoneration, as well as his 2007 conviction.

In addition, MCPL has an array of other Wisconsin true crime books available for check-out, including:

Tree Stand Murders: A True Story” by David B. Whitehurst

MCPL hosted Whitehurst last October when he came to talk about his book, which focuses on the true story of a hunter that shot six others in 2004 near Rice Lake, Wisconsin.

Milwaukee Mayhem: Murder and Mystery in the Cream City’s First Century” by Matthew J. Prigge

Prigge, a Milwaukee historian, writes about various interesting real-life characters who inhabited 19th century Milwaukee, including a woman who bludgeoned her landlord to death and a womanizing thief who was raised female but lived as a male in adulthood.

The Monfils Conspiracy: The Conviction of Six Innocent Men” by Denis Gullickson and John Gaie

In 1992, Green Bay resident Thomas Monfils was found dead inside a vat at the paper mill where he was employed. Two years later, six of Monfils’ former co-workers were charged with his murder. Similar to "Making a Murderer", authors Bullickson and Gaie use this book to write about how they feel the six men were wrongfully convicted.

True Crime in Titletown, USA: Cold Cases” by Tracy C. Ertl and Mike R. Knetzger

In this 2005 true-crime novel, Ertl and Knetzger write about three notorious unsolved crimes in Wisconsin, including a murder in a restaurant and a bank robbery from the 1930s. 

Books Wisconsin Reading Recommendations