Walk for Truth and Justice (October 26, 2014)
Rally held for men convicted in 1992 Monfils murder
Supporters of the men convicted in the 1992 murder of Thomas Monfils rallied at the Brown County Courthouse Saturday, buoyed by the hope that they can soon ask a judge to reconsider the case.
“The legal team has been working with witnesses and experts to prepare a motion showing why the men were wrongfully convicted,” said Denis Gullickson, who has written a book claiming that the six were wrongly convicted. “We expect that a motion will be filed with the court in the very near future and the reasons why the convictions were wrongful will then become clear.”
The six were convicted in 1995 in the killing of Monfils, who was a 35-year-old worker at what was then the James River Corp. paper mill when he was slain. Dale Basten, Michael Hirn, Michael Johnson, Keith Kutska and Rey Moore are serving time in state prison; Michael Piaskowski was freed in 2001 after his conviction was overturned when an appeals court found that there had been insufficient evidence to convict him.
Gullickson told about 40 people gathered outside the courthouse in twilight Saturday that a Minneapolis attorney and the Minnesota and Wisconsin Innocence projects are preparing a court filing on behalf of the men who remain in prison.
Supporters carried signs bearing slogans like “Walk for Truth, Walk for Justice,” and “Stand Witness to Innocence.” After listening to Gullickson and justice advocates Joan Treppa and Trudy Baltazar, they marched to Green Bay Police Department headquarters and back, chanting the name of each man followed by “not guilty!”
Police and prosecutors, however, have not wavered in their belief that the convicted men were involved in Monfils’ murder. Retired Detective Randy Winkler, who led the Green Bay Police Department’s investigation into the case, recently characterized Gullickson’s book and its claims that the men are innocent as “toilet paper.”
Monfils’ body was found in a pulp vat at the paper mill where he had worked for 10 years, a 45-pound weight around his neck. He died of suffocation and strangulation.
Prosecutors say the six men had confronted Monfils after Monfils told police that Kutska planned to steal electrical cable from the mill, and that one of the men struck Monfils in the head with a wrench or other blunt object. Jurors convicted the men in October 1995 after a six-week trial.Posted on: February 15, 2017Jared Manninen