MONFILS SIX: Dale Basten granted parole due to failing health
Posted: Tue 2:42 PM, Sep 05, 2017 – Updated: Tue 2:59 PM, Sep 05, 2017
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GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) – One of the “Monfils Six” has been granted parole 22 years after he was
sentenced to life for a murder that shocked the Green Bay area.
Dale Basten, 76, is being placed in an assisted living facility in the Fox Valley, according to a parole decision obtained by Action 2 News.
The Department of Corrections document states that the parole commissioner has “personally witnessed [redacted] to worsen significantly since [redacted], presently to the point where you seem unaware of your surroundings and communicate very little.”
The parole commissioner’s recommendation states that Basten’s conduct during his time in prison was satisfactory. The commissioner notes there is “no known victim opposition in your case.”
The Parole Chairman ordered Basten be released no sooner than Sept. 5. Basten will be monitored by the Department of Corrections.
Basten and five other men were convicted of 1st Degree Intentional Homicide in 1995 for the death of paper mill co-worker Tom Monfils.
Basten is the second of the “Monfils Six” to be released from prison. In 2001, Michael Piaskowski’s conviction was overturned for lack of evidence and he was freed.
Keith Kutska, Michael L. Johnson, Reynold Moore, and Michael Hirn remain behind bars. The Parole Board has either denied or deferred their requests for parole.
The men have long argued their innocence. A theory that Monfils killed himself has been presented in court.
In 1992, Tom Monfils’s body was recovered from a pulp vat at the James River mill in Green Bay.
Three years later, police arrested the Monfils Six and they were charged
with 1st Degree Intentional Homicide.
The prosecution said the men conspired to kill Monfils, who had heard Kutska talk about stealing an electrical cord from the mill. It is alleged that Monfils reported it to police, but his anonymity was compromised when Kutska obtained a tape of Monfils’ call to police.
The prosecution accused Kutska and the other men of forming a group to take revenge on Monfils.
Investigators said Monfils had been beaten and a weight had been tied around his neck.
Another co-worker told police that Kutska had told him all the details of
the killing of Monfils.
That led police to arrest the Monfils Six. They were convicted at jury
In 2015, Keith Kutska was granted an evidentiary hearing to allow his
attorneys to present a theory that Tom Monfils killed himself. Kutska’s case has been taken up by the Minnesota Innocence Project, a group
that works to get new trials for people they believe were falsely convicted of crimes.
Some witnesses claimed law enforcement intimidated them into signing
statements that were not true. Tom Monfils’ brother, Cal, also believes his brother killed himself.
Kutska’s attorneys questioned lead investigator Randy Winkler about a lack of physical evidence in the mill.
Attorney: “During the entire course of your investigation you found no blood anywhere in the mill that was connected, or could be connected to any beating of Mr. Monfils.”
Winkler: “That is correct.”
A judge ruled there was not evidence to grant Kutska a new trial. The judge said some of the arguments presented at the evidentiary hearing were “speculation” and he didn’t think a jury would reach a different verdict if the case was re-tried.
Kutska appealed to the Wisconsin Supreme Court. The state’s high court denied a petition to review his appeal.
Kutska is now asking the United States Supreme Court to review the decision of a lower court.
Kutska, Johnson, Moore, and Hirn are still able to request parole.
Moore is eligible in 2017, and the other three men are eligible in 2018.Posted on: September 5, 2017Jared Manninen