ARCHIVE: 2003: Steven Avery's first stop after prison release

Published: Jan. 12, 2016 at 1:44 PM CST
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It's been nearly 12 and half years since Steven Avery was exonerated for a 1984 rape he didn't commit. To say a lot has changed would be an understatement.

Avery's first stop on Sept. 11, 2003 following his release from the Stanley Prison was the Thorpedo restaurant in Thorp. Former NewsChannel 7 reporter Bill Martens interviewed Avery as he got his first taste of freedom in nearly 18 years.

Below is the original transcript of the story.

“He missed watching his children grow up... And saw the world only through steel bars and concrete... All for a crime he didn't commit. Eighteen years later Steven Avery is a free man and has a few college students to thank for it. Minutes after he was set free Bill Martens spent some time with Avery As you'd fully expect, Steven Avery is in a very good mood. As life starts again for a Two Rivers man who spent nearly two decades in prison. With a rack of ribs all to himself, 43-year-old Steve Avery gets his first taste of freedom since 1985. ""I don't know. I don't, I don't think there's a word for new stuff. It's wonderful. You've got breeze and cars and everything else - all new stuff,” Avery said. Imagine what it'd be like having freedom stripped away from you for something you didn't even do, and couldn't do anything about. That's what happened to Avery. He was found guilty of sexually assaulting and nearly killing a woman on a beach in Manitowoc County. Sixteen witnesses and other evidence said he had nothing to do with it, but it only took one eyewitness to put him away. The Wisconsin Innocence Program- part of UW Madison's law school said something was obviously wrong. "It's just that eyewitness identification Eyewitnesses make a lot of mistakes. When you have a case built on an identification by a single witness, that raises a lot of red flags in itself,” said Keith Findely, Co-founder of the Innocence Project. The students checked it out. Got a hold of DNA and discovered that the guilty one was actually another inmate, in for sexual assault. Now that Avery's free again. He can catch up with his family. "At least have a beer with him,” said Jennifer Avery, Steven's daughter. "They were terrific! Real meat,” said Avery about his first meal since leaving prison. Avery is the third person who's had his conviction reversed thanks to the Innocence project. As for the future, Steve says he just plans to take one day at a time.

Avery was arrested two years later and later convicted of the murder of Teresa Halbach. The case has renewed interest due to the Nexflix show, “Making A Murderer”.