Exclusive: New Forensic Test Could Be Steven Avery's 'Secret Weapon'

Have Steven Avery’s attorneys found a "secret weapon"?

Avery’s defense team has undertaken new investigative tests for the "Making a Murderer" subject, who is currently serving a life sentence for first-degree murder, and they have his family hoping for his exoneration.

Access Hollywood's Stephanie Bauer spoke exclusively with Steven's brother, Earl, and niece, Brittany, at the Avery property in Manitowoc County, Wis., about a forensic procedure that could uncover crucial physical evidence. 

The pair claims that Kathleen Zellner, the new attorney representing Steven, used a substance called Luminol to try and detect trace amounts of blood around the locations where authorities allege Teresa Halbach was raped and killed in 2005.

"They sprayed the whole house," Earl said. 

Despite the time that's passed since Halbach's death, criminal justice professor Nathan Lents, who is not involved in the Avery case, told Access that Luminol is a potentially reliable tool when used in the proper environment.

"If they are testing a crime scene that hasn't been touched or disturbed a great deal, even years, decades later, a Luminol test could still be very effective," Lents said.

While DNA tests would still be required to determine whose blood, if any, is found, Lents explained why the method should hold up.

"The degradation that happens in a blood sample over time doesn't affect the iron. So, a Luminol test can be used on very old very dried blood samples and still give a very good positive," Lents said. "In fact, it actually gets better over time because some of the agents that would interfere with the signal get degraded, but the iron doesn't. Iron doesn't go anywhere."

Halbach's family told Access that they have not seen "Making a Murderer" and don't plan to issue any public statements, but Steven’s family seemed optimistic about appealing his conviction.

"Hopefully she does better than the last two," Earl said, comparing Zellner to Steven's previous lawyers, Dean Strang and Jerry Buting, who were featured in the hit Netflix documentary.

"They probably did a good job, but look at where [Steven] is," he added. 

-- Erin Biglow

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