Timeline: Key Events in the Thomas Monfils Murder Case (The Journal Times: January 10, 2001)

Racine, Wisconsin

By WIRE; Jan 10, 2001



  • Nov. 21 – Monfils, 35, disappears at James River Corp. paper mill after several fellow union members, including Keith Kutska, confront him with a tape-recording of an anonymous telephone call he made to police. The call informed on Kutska’s plan to steal electrical cord from the mill. Police had released a copy of the tape to Kutska at his request.
  • Nov. 22 – Monfils’ mangled body found with a 50-pound weight tied to his neck in a two-story vat of paper pulp, a mud-like substance used in paper-making. Autopsy finds he was beaten but died of suffocation.


  • Oct. 19 – Legislature passes “Monfils Law,” to protect identities of police informants.


  • April 12 – Kutska, Michael Hirn, Reynold Moore, Michael Piaskowski, Dale Basten and Michael L. Johnson arrested, charged with being party to first-degree intentional homicide.
  • Oct. 28 – All six defendants found guilty of being party to first-degree intentional homicide, carrying a mandatory life term. Jury for trial was selected in Racine County because of pretrial publicity in Green Bay area.


  • June 2 – Judge rejects motion of Piaskowski for retrial; similar requests by Baston, Johnson and Moore were denied earlier.
  • June 16 – Trial begins in U.S. District Court in Milwaukee in civil lawsuit filed by Monfils’ widow, Susan, accusing Green Bay officials, including several police officers, of negligence in the death.
  • June 27 – Jury awards more than $2 million to Monfils family. Susan was awarded $638,000 and her two children were awarded $650,000 each.
  • Sept. 23 – Kutska’s request for retrial denied.
  • Oct. 31 – Hirn’s request for retrial denied.
  • Nov. 28 – Federal court upholds $2 million damage award against Green Bay.


  • Feb. 17 – State appeals court upholds convictions of Basten, Johnson and Moore.
  • April 23 – State Supreme Court declines to hear requests for new trials by Basten, Johnson and Moore.
  • Sept. 22 – State appeals court upholds convictions of Kutska and Piaskowski.
  • Dec. 23 – Federal appeals court upholds $2 million in damages awarded to Susan Monfils.


  • Oct. 4 – U.S. Supreme Court upholds $2 million damage award.


  • Jan. 9 – Federal judge orders release of Piaskowski, finding there was insufficient evidence to convict him. State attorneys said they planned to appeal and seek a stay of release.
Posted on: February 15, 2017Jared Manninen