Dale Basten

Dale Basten, convicted in Monfils’ murder, granted parole

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

http://www.greenbaypressgazette.com/story/news/2017/09/05/dale-basten-convicted-monfils-murder-granted-parole/635210001/

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.

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
Click for the original link to the article on WBAY.com

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.

The men have long argued their innocence. A theory that Monfils killed himself has been presented in court.

THE CRIME

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
trial.

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.

PAROLE ELIGIBILITY

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.