In an interview from HLN’s Nancy Grace that you can watch above, Steven Avery’s ex-fiancee Jodi Stanchowski makes several claims that, if true, are more than a little damning. These include accusations of physical abuse, threats of murder, and coercive intimidation directly relating to her testimony on the Netflix documentary Making a Murderer.
Among other things, Stanchowski alleges that in a two-year relationship with Avery, harsh domestic abuse was a common occurrence (a claim that HLN producers say is backed up by Avery’s criminal records). Avery once threatened to murder her and her entire family, she says, and things got so bad that she had to resort to eating two boxes of rat poison so she could be sent to the hospital to escape.
Stanchowski was in jail for DUI on the day of Teresa Halbach’s death, but she believes that Avery (who she calls a “monster”) is guilty. She goes on to say that he called her from jail the day she was scheduled to be interviewed for Making a Murderer, threatening physical harm if she failed to “make him look good.” The intimidation worked, she claimed, and explains her supportive testimony in the documentary. When the creators reached out to her a second time last year, she told them that everything she said in her first interview was a lie, and asked to be removed from the narrative completely. She declined to be interviewed a second time, but her original interview, of course, remained in the series.
If that last story is true, it raises yet another question about the methods Laura Ricciardi and Moira Demos used to present their case, and whether Making a Murderer fell short of journalistic ethical standards. For more on that topic, read Paste’s feature published this morning.