Dale Basten, convicted in Monfils’ murder, granted parole

Jonathan Anderson, USA TODAY NETWORK-WisconsinPublished 7:02 p.m. CT Sept. 5, 2017 | Updated 3:21 p.m. CT Sept. 6, 2017


WAUPUN – One of the men convicted of murdering Green Bay paper mill worker Thomas Monfils in 1995 was paroled to a Fox Valley assisted living facility on Tuesday.

Dale Basten, 76, was released from the Dodge Correctional Institution in Waupun and transferred to the undisclosed care center, where he will be subject to constant monitoring and supervision, according to the Wisconsin Parole Commission.

In a written decision, the commission cited Basten’s “advancing, maturing age” and apparent cognitive decline for the move.

Commission officials met with Basten last month and found that, while he should be punished to the fullest extent possible for his involvement in Monfils’ death, he had “little awareness” that he was in prison and why he was there, the decision states.

Basten was generally unresponsive to commissioners’ questions and seemed unable or uninterested in talking with them.

“It is clear from this encounter that you have little or no orientation as to your surroundings,” the commission’s decision states.

It cost the state $93,000 per year to house Basten in prison, where he required constant supervision so he wouldn’t wander into prohibited areas, according to the decision.

Monfils’ brother, Cal Monfils, wrote to the commission in support of Basten’s release. Cal Monfils has said publicly he believes his brother committed suicide.

The commission found that Basten’s risk of harming others at the assisted living facility is “negligible.” The facility has alarms on doors to alert staff should he try to escape.

He also is prohibited from having any contact with victims, witnesses and co-defendants in the case.

In addition to Basten, five other men were found guilty of first-degree intentional homicide in the 1992 death of Monfils, 35, at the former James River Corp. mill, where they all worked.

Prosecutors alleged the men beat up Monfils and dumped his unconscious body into a vat of paper slurry. Monfils was later found dead in the vat with a weight and rope tied around his neck. An autopsy revealed that he had a broken jaw, fractured skull and numerous bruises.

Police believed the attack was retaliation because Monfils notified authorities that one of the men stole electrical wiring from the mill.

Most of Basten’s co-defendants — Michael Hirn, Michael Johnson, Keith Kutska and Rey Moore — are still serving life terms. Mike Piaskowski was released from prison in 2001 when a federal appeals court found there was not enough evidence to convict him.

Basten has always maintained his innocence.

Posted on: November 13, 2017Jared Manninen