Three calls from a cell phone in Steven Avery's name were made to a freelance photographer within about two hours on the day she was last seen alive, a wireless telephone company technician told jurors at Avery's murder trial Tuesday.
On two of the calls, the caller used a Cellcom service called "star 67 feature" that would have blocked Teresa Halbach from knowing who the call was from, said Bobbi Dohrwardt, team leader for the wireless company's technical support department.
Avery, 44, and his nephew, Brendan Dassey, are accused of killing Halbach, 25, on Halloween 2005 and burning her body. Dassey, 17, is scheduled for trial in April.
The calls were made from Avery's phone to Halbach's the afternoon of Oct. 31, Dohrwardt testified. The first two calls, one lasting only seven seconds and the other apparently hung up before it was answered, were placed around 2:30 p.m. used the blocking feature.
The third call was placed about two hours later.
That morning, Avery's phone was also used for a nearly three-minute call to Auto Trader magazine, where Halbach worked as a freelance photographer, Dohrwardt said.
Prosecutors are trying to convince a jury that Avery lured Halbach to the family salvage yard by booking an appointment with the magazine, using the name of his sister Barb Janda, to take a picture of a red minivan that Janda wanted to sell.
Jurors have already heard a telephone message that Halbach left on Janda's telephone answering machine that said she would be at the family salvage yard "around 2 o'clock."
Halbach's phone records show she got one call from Auto Trader on Halloween morning and a second call about 2:27 p.m., said Laura Schadrie of Cingular, Halbach's cell phone provider. The second call lasted five minutes, suggesting she was alive then.
Halbach's phone records show she got a call from Avery at 4:35 p.m. that lasted 13 seconds but she couldn't tell if it was answered or went into voice mail, Schadrie said.
In other testimony Tuesday, Avery's nephew Blaine Dassey, 18, and Janda's then-boyfriend Scott Tadych told the jury they saw Avery standing by a large bonfire behind his garage the night Halbach disappeared.
The flames at about 8:45 p.m. were "almost as tall as the garage, 10 feet tall, maybe," Tadych said.
But neither witness talked to Avery or saw what was being burned, they said.
Dassey, 18, testified that he and Brendan got off the school bus at home at 3:40 p.m. that day. The brothers, their mother and stepfather lived next door to Avery at the salvage yard.
Blaine said he played video games before leaving about 5 p.m. to go trick or treating, and when he returned about 11 p.m., he saw the bonfire. He said he went home to bed without talking to his uncle and couldn't remember whether Brendan was at home in a bedroom, too.