Anyone who has sat glued to Netflix for the Making a Murderer documentary series has likely been left with a slew of unanswered questions, including this one: What on earth became of the four children of incarcerated subject Steven Avery?
Though they’ve all reportedly distanced themselves from dad, two of his progeny — 30-year-old twin brothers Bill and Steven Jr. — spoke out recently about their life of pain, loss, and confusion stemming from their dad’s two prison sentences: the first of which put him away for 18 years for a rape he did not commit, and the second for the 2005 murder of local Wisconsin woman Teresa Halbach, which has him currently serving a life sentence.
Last week, his sons sat down for an exclusive interview with Melissa Moore of Crime Watch Daily, whom they agreed to speak with because of her personal history — being the daughter of infamous “Happy Face Killer” Keith Jesperson, convicted in 1995 for the murder of eight women.
The twins at a prison visit. (Photo: Crime Watch Daily)
Throughout the sit-down interview with Moore, Bill and Steven Jr. appeared alternately calm and tormented, often speaking with teary or red-rimmed eyes. Steven Jr. did most of the talking, noting he hadn’t spoken with his father in “20-some years,” and that while “it’s clear to see he did love us, he did love our mom,” there are “always two sides of people.”
Said Bill, regarding how he feels toward his dad today, “I just see him as a complete stranger. It just kind of feels like I don’t have a father.”
The brothers described memories of visiting their father in prison during his first sentence. “As a kid I just knew I didn’t really have a dad … I just never really understood [why],” Steven Jr. said. “I remember him giving us hugs and kisses. But a visitation is about three hours — you can’t really build much of a bond in a three-hour visitation once a month.”
The brothers spent time in the military. (Photo: Crime Watch Daily)
Eventually they stopped going altogether when their dad removed them from the visitors list — partly, Steven believes, because both boys had ADHD and were always “bugging other inmates” during their visitations, until one time their father spanked them.
Bill recalls the end of visits being a bit of a relief — and that deciding to write Steven Sr. off altogether came after learning about a letter he had written to their mother from prison, basically saying he’d hurt her if she ever hurt his kids. “That is one of the letters that made me cut all contact,” Bill said, with Steven adding, “If you love somebody, you don’t threaten them like that.”
When questioned about their father’s innocence in the first crime, and his serving 18 years for it nonetheless, they had clarity. “I actually feel bad for him,” said Bill, “because I think about if that would happen to me, just how mad and angry and everything, and to know all it took was a DNA test. I think he deserved to actually be set free a lot earlier.”
Photo: Crime Watch Daily
After his release, Steven recalled, “My last name got better. After he got exonerated, a lot of people, in a sense, joined our side. It felt nice.” Previously, he had noted, carrying the Avery name had brought them only suspicion and negativity. “A lot of people associate it with us being troublemakers — bad people [who] don’t care about the law…” he told Moore. “The sins of the father fall on the son, [but] it shouldn’t be like that.”
Neither twin knows whether their father killed Teresa Halbach or not. “I know he has anger issues and will blow up a lot, and just go into full rage mode,” Bill said, telling Moore, “Yeah, I guess,” when asked if it was a possibility his father could’ve committed the murder.
But, said Steven Jr., “I have no idea. I mean, only one person can answer that and that would be Teresa. But she can’t answer it no more. The only thing I know is that the entire case was very shady. It’s clear that there was corruption. I think [my dad] and [cousin] Brendan deserve a fair trial. If they’re guilty, let them sit. But if they’re [not], get them out.”
And if that happens? “Maybe I’ll try to have a relationship with him. I don’t know yet at this point,” Steven Jr. said. “He deserves to get to know me. I am his son. Even though I don’t look at him as a father. I maybe never will — I mean, I’m a 30-year-old man. It’s kind of late in life to get a huge bond like that. But I’m willing, I guess, to give it a shot.”