Will his confession stand? Appellate court takes Brendan Dassey case under advisement; no decision yet

CHICAGO — He was convicted with his uncle for the rape and murder of a young photographer in Manitowoc County. But will Brendan Dassey's confession stand -- and keep him in prison for life? Those questions are now in the hands of the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago -- which heard oral arguments on Tuesday, February 14th.

CLICK the audio player below to hear Tuesday's oral arguments:

Teresa Halbach

Oral arguments in Brendan Dassey case

In a federal courtroom in Chicago Tuesday, State Attorney Luke Berg argued Dassey's confession after the 2005 crime should stand.

Judge Ilana Rovner questioned Berg.

Attorney Berg: "Brendan Dassey chose to confess, to release those terrible images of Teresa Halbach that were haunting him. The investigators encouraged him to get it out, but did not put on any undue pressure."

Judge Rovner: "Mr. Berg, help me with this. If a police officer says to someone who's being interrogated, 'let's get it all out today, and this will be all over'...I want you to imagine a 16-year-old with a very low IQ. That is extremely suggestable."

Oral arguments in Brendan Dassey case

A three-judge panel questioned Berg for 20 minutes. Then it was Laura Nirider, Dassey's attorney's turn.

Attorney Nirider: "'We already know what happened,' they said. And still, they offered him leniency. This message was repeated not once, not twice, but an accumulative drumbeat."

The family of Teresa Halbach sat in court listening. At the end of the statements, the state offered this final thought.

Attorney Berg: "He remembers her screaming 'help me' and seeing her naked and chained to the bed. He remembers her crying and pleading with him to stop while he raped her. He remembers her breathing after Avery stabbed her in the stomach."

Brendan Dassey

The former special prosecutor at the time Dassey was convicted spoke after the oral arguments were complete.

"There was no coercion on any occasion which would cause the statement to be tainted at all," said Ken Kratz.

The decision on whether the Dassey confession will be reinstated is expected in the coming months. There is no timetable for that decision. The three-judge panel took it under advisement.

Steven Avery and Brendan Dassey

Dassey, now 27, has remained in prison pending the appeal.

Avery was sentenced to life in prison in a separate trial. He’s pursuing his own appeal.