Video: Steven Avery's Ex-Fiancée Says 'He'd Beat Me All The Time'
In a new and damning interview, the ex-fiancée of Steven Avery—the subject of Netflix's Making a Murderer—called him a "monster" and said he physically beat her when they were together.
When Jodi Stachowski was featured for the captivating Netflix 10-part docu-series in interviews and footage, she appeared to be supportive of Avery, defending his innocence while he was in jail for the 2005 murder of 25-year-old photographer Teresa Halbach.
However, in an interview Wednesday on HLN's Nancy Grace show, Stachowski made her first on-camera interview since the docu-series was released and painted a picture of a violent man instead, saying that she believed he killed Halbach. In the interview she said, "He's like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde...behind closed doors, he's a monster."
She added, "He's not innocent."
Stachowski described to HLN Senior Producer Natisha Lance the alleged abuse she suffered at the hands of Avery. "He'd beat me all the time, punch me, throw me against the wall. I tried to leave and he smashed the windshield out of my car so I couldn't leave him," she said.
She claimed he threatened to burn her house down and throw a blow dryer in her bath while she was in it. Stachowski said one night he choked her and dragged her out the door. She said she called police, and when they arrived they arrested him and "ordered him to stay away from me for three days."
One of the most unsettling things Stachowski said was that Avery was on a power trip from being released from prison in 2003 after serving 18 years for a wrongful conviction in the 1985 rape of 36-year-old Penny Beerntsen. DNA evidence later proved another man was the rapist. Stachowski said Avery "told me once, excuse my language, 'All bitches owe him' because of the one that sent him to prison the first time. We all owed him."
In Making a Murderer, it was portrayed that Stachowski—who at the same time Avery was arrested for Halbach's murder was also in jail serving time for a DUI—broke off their engagement and moved out of Manitowoc County, Wis. because of police scrutiny. In her HLN interview, she says, "It was all an act. He told me how to act: smile, be happy. I didn’t know what to do. I didn’t want to get hurt."
In order to get away from Avery, she said she took drastic measures. "I ate two boxes of rat poison just so I could go to the hospital and get away from him and ask them to get the police to help me."
Stachowski said she hasn't watched Making a Murderer and asked the show's creators, Moira Demos and Laura Ricciardi, to not include any footage of her in it. When they asked if she wanted to be interviewed again before the docu-series came out, she told them she didn't want any part in it because, "It's all lies because Steven called me and told me it should be all out on police phone records, that if I didn't say anything good and nice about about him, I'd pay." Stachowski also said she never loved Avery.
HLN said they reached out to Avery's attorneys for a response, but they declined to comment.
Avery was convicted for Halbach's murder and has since been serving his sentence in prison. He filed an appeal earlier this week in an appeals court in Madison, Wis. A Change.org petition asking for President Barack Obama to pardon Avery garnered nearly 430,000 signatures.
Eds. note: An earlier version of this story mistakenly said that Penny Beerntsen was murdered, but she is alive. LAist regrets this error and has since corrected it.