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ABA publishes true-crime story of wrongful conviction with astonishing aftermath


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ABA publishes true-crime story of wrongful conviction with astonishing aftermath

By John Glynn

CHICAGO, July 17, 2014 — The story of Steven Avery, a man who spent 18 years behind bars for a brutal rape he didn't commit before he was exonerated through DNA testing, is the American Bar Association’s first foray into the true-crime genre.


The Innocent Killer” begins with a brutal assault on a remote stretch of beach on the Lake Michigan shoreline of Wisconsin, and ends two decades later in the most tragic of circumstances. Avery, who was on the brink of collecting possibly several million dollars for his wrongful conviction, is arrested and convicted for the brutal murder of a freelance photographer about two years after securing his freedom.

The book, written by long-time prosecuting attorney Michael Griesbach of Manitowoc, Wisconsin, tells a chilling story of Avery’s first conviction and later exoneration, as well as the 2007 conviction, which sent him to life in prison without the possibility of parole. Aside from chronicling these heart-wrenching events, Griesbach offers an insider’s view of the tragic, unintended consequences that can flow from a single wrong when those responsible for administering justice lose sight of their calling.

“‘The Innocent Killer’ is a shocking yet effective example of what can happen when our justice system fails,” writes Barry Scheck, co-founder and co-director of the National Innocence Project at the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law in New York. “It poses the provocative question — one which those involved in the criminal justice system must ask themselves time and time again: ‘What if?’ What if the investigation of Steven Avery's alleged crime and its prosecution had gone differently? Would the tragic event that happened 18 years later still have come to pass? Unfortunately, we'll never know. Griesbach's unflinching page-turner raises all the right questions and brings us closer to the truth.”

Griesbach was not involved in the initial case against Avery, but was part of the team that investigated the circumstances that led to his exoneration. He wrote the book to challenge the system and provide readers a better view of the inner workings of the criminal justice system.

Title:                          “The Innocent Killer”
Publisher:                  ABA Publishing
Pages:                        284
Product Code:           
SBN:                           978-1-62722-363-8
Size:                           6 x 9
Binding:                     Paperback
Price:                         $16.95
Orders:                      Order the book at ShopABA or call 800-285-2221.

What others are saying about “The Innocent Killer”:

“Brilliantly written, ‘The Innocent Killer’ is an instant true-crime classic that will either re-affirm or shake your faith in American justice. A nonfiction thriller with more twists and surprises than any fiction novel. This shocking true story will be talked about, and argued about, for decades to come.”  — Burl Barer, true-crime author and past winner of The Edgar Award, presented by The Mystery Writers of America

“Griesbach tells an electrifying story about how justice isn't just blind but downright narrow minded. ... Well-written, fast paced, with an avant-garde storyline, ‘The Innocent Killer’ is destined to be one of this year’s top true-crime books.” — Kim Cantrell, True Crime Book Reviews

“In a narrative that reads like a novel, Michael Griesbach … passionately lays out the differences between working for justice and just racking up a conviction. It should be required reading for criminal attorneys. It’s not just a good read. It’s an important read.” — Michael Kiefer, The Arizona Republic

“‘The Innocent Killer’ is about tragedy, but it's also about hope. I survived my own personal nightmare when I was assaulted on the beach that day only to learn years later that I unwittingly played a starring role in someone else's. The ripple effect of this single injustice has lasted for decades, with devastating consequences for other victims and their families. We can't unring the bell of an injustice; we can't right the wrong. But we must joust with humility and learn from our mistakes — because to do anything less would be unforgivable.” — Penny Beerntsen, crime survivor and nationally known restorative justice spokeswoman

Editor’s note: Author interviews and review copies are available by sending an email to Neal Cox at If you publish a review of this book, please send tear sheets or a copy for our files to Neal Cox, c/o ABA Publishing, 321 N. Clark St., Chicago, IL 60654.

With nearly 400,000 members, the American Bar Association is one of the largest voluntary professional membership organizations in the world. As the national voice of the legal profession, the ABA works to improve the administration of justice, promotes programs that assist lawyers and judges in their work, accredits law schools, provides continuing legal education, and works to build public understanding around the world of the importance of the rule of law. View our privacy statement online. Follow the latest ABA news at and on Twitter @ABANews.