Joan Treppa

How a Minnesota Woman Found Peace Crusading for 6 Murder Convicts (FOX 9: April 26, 2015)

A FOX9.com (Minneapolis) feature about the Monfils’ Case and Joan Treppa, the citizen advocate who has been working on it for the past six years.

How a Minnesota woman found peace crusading for 6 murder convicts

POSTED:APR 26 2015 09:07PM CDT

UPDATED:APR 26 2015 09:47PM CDT

http://www.fox9.com/archive/1826477-story (There is a 10 minute video at the FOX 9 link)

This is the story of how the incarceration of 6 Wisconsin men brought freedom to a Blaine, Minn. woman named Joan Treppa.

More than two decades ago at the James River Paper Mill in Green Bay, a mill worker named Tom Monfils was found at the bottom of a vat, a jump rope tied around his neck and to a weight. Several days earlier, Monfils had called the police warning them that a coworker named Keith Kutska might retaliate if he found out about a 911 call he made.

This is the story of how the incarceration of 6 Wisconsin men brought freedom to a Blaine, Minn. woman named Joan Treppa.

More than two decades ago at the James River Paper Mill in Green Bay, a mill worker named Tom Monfils was found at the bottom of a vat, a jump rope tied around his neck and to a weight. Several days earlier, Monfils had called the police warning them that a coworker named Keith Kutska might retaliate if he found out about a 911 call he made.

In 2009, authors Denis Gullickson and John Gaie published “The Monfils Conspiracy,” arguing all 6 workers were innocent. This is where Treppa comes into the story. She started writing to the men. She even found Johnny Johnson, a retired investigator, who had just bought a motorhome with the intention of traveling the country. Instead, he’d travel to Green Bay and re-interview witnesses and gather evidence.

“There was merit in everything she said, and coupled with her ability to carry it emotionally, I was touched. I was convinced. I was convinced she knew something that she didn’t really know yet,” Johnson said.

Treppa wasn’t done. She convinced the Minneapolis firm Fredrikson and Byron to help. Attorney Steve Kaplan filed a 152-page brief arguing for Kutska to get a new trial. There were plenty of documents in his office and in Piaskowski’s basement. The brief’s main arguments are that the bruises and cuts on Monfils’ body came from the blades in the vat — not from any attack – and that the key witness recanted and Kutska’s alleged confession was fictitious. In addition, the brief claimed there were problems with the lead detective’s interrogations and the timeline. Most importantly, the brief claimed it was a suicide.

The brief brings up something never mentioned in the trial: Monfils was suicidal, mortified by his 911 call, and even left behind notes, an argument supported by Monfils’ own brother. Lawyers argue that Monfils was fascinated with drowning since his Coast Guard days where he learned to tie the knot found around his neck.

The state’s reply calls the brief “entertaining, arguably compelling” that “reads more like a well-written work of fiction,” which is a reminder that the future for these five men is still uncertain. As for the past, just a few years ago, before Treppa took up this cause, she was shy and afraid, lost in the mix as one of 13 siblings. Now, she only just realized why the 6 strangers in Green Bay were no strangers at all.

“Realistically, I could relate to people who’d been wrongfully convicted because those are the same characteristics they have. They feel lost in the mix, they feel left out, they feel forgotten,” Treppa said.

Now, thanks to the crusade, she found a new feeling: Hope, because there is one little girl who is now free.

Interview with Citizen Advocate Joan Treppa (March 9, 2015)

An audio interview between Charlotte View Internet Radio hosted on Blog Talk Radio and citizen advocate Joan Treppa and her work on The Monfils Case. The episode is titled Charlotte View: Joan Treppa, the ‘Erin Brockovich’ of the Wrongfully Convicted. Also featured on the program is private investigator Johnny Johnson and the step-daughter of Michael Johnson (one of the convicted men) Joan Van Houten.

Audio Interview with Citizen Advocate Joan Treppa (February 25, 2015)

An audio interview between citizen advocate Joan Treppa and Alex Okoroji of The Naked Talk on Blog Talk Radio. The episode is titled A Voice for the Hopeless with Joan Treppa. The interview discusses Joan’s experience as a citizen advocate for the wrongfully convicted men of the Monfils’ Case. Also featured in the interview are call-ins by retired private investigator Johnny Johnson (who has provided pro bono services for the case) and Joan Van Houten, the step-daughter of Michael Johnson, one of the convicted men.