Oct 10, 1995, Monfils Homicide: Wiener testifies Pg 1
The Monfils trial Name triggered memory about incident near vat By Paul Srubas Press-Gazette Press-Gazette Press-Gazette David Wiener was so afraid of Dale Basten that he wouldn't use the bathroom at work unless someone someone stood guard with a knife outside outside the door. However, it wasn't that fear but hearing the mysterious name "Rodell" six months after Tom Monfils was killed at the James River paper mill that sparked his memory, Wiener testified Monday in the 12th day of the Monfils murder trial. After Wiener heard the name, he recalled that on Nov. 21, 1992 the day Monfils died he saw Basten and Michael Johnson, Johnson, two of the defendants, defendants, carrying something something to the paper pulp vat where Monfils' Monfils' body later was found. Wiener gave some of the strongest testimony testimony that the state has presented so far against Basten and Johnson, but he had little to say about defendants defendants Keith Kutska, Mike Piaskowski, Rey Moore and Mike Hirn. All six are accused of being party to homicide in Monfils' death at the James River paper mill. However, Wiener's testimony also revealed a personality fraught with anxiety, a hair-trigger hair-trigger hair-trigger temper and unexplained memory lapses that defense lawyers tried to seize to show he can't be believed. Among Monday's developments: Wiener believes his life is in danger in prison because he's testifying testifying for the prosecution. "There's a contract out on me in the prison system right now" for testifying, said Wiener, who is serving a 10-year 10-year 10-year sentence for killing his brother at Wiener's Allouez home. Wiener testified he was work ing in the repulper area of the mill Upcoming witnesses Testimony likely today: Jack Yusko, human resources director at the James River mill. Paperworker Allen Kiley. The jury also may hear portions of a transcript of Mike Johnson's previous previous sworn testimony. testimony. near the vats on the morning Monfils disappeared when he saw Basten and Johnson facing each other and slightly bent as if carrying carrying something between them. A roll cutting machine blocked them from about the waist down, so Wiener couldn't see what they were carrying. Wiener said Basten saw him. "I believe there was eye con tact, he said. Wiener had given numerous different different accounts to police and in previous previous testimony of what time he supposedly saw Basten and Johnson Johnson that morning, but Monday, he said it would have been 7:30 a.m. at the latest. Other witnesses have testified seeing Monfils alive at about 7:35 a.m., and prosecutors have said he died between 7:35 and 7:50 a.m. Wiener told police nothing about what he saw until May 1993. "I had a mental block or something, something, I don't know," Wiener said when Brown County District Attorney John Zakowski asked why he said nothing. Wiener had talked to police several several times and testified at a secret John Doe hearing, a fact-finding fact-finding fact-finding hearing, in March 1993 without saying anything about seeing Basten and Johnson that morning. On May 15, 1993, Wiener was at a wedding reception at the Swan Club in De Pere, when someone mentioned the name "Rodell." Wiener said he knows no one by that name, but somehow hearing it triggered his memory about seeing Basten and Johnson on the morn- morn- Please see TrialA-2 TrialA-2 TrialA-2 Jurors show their Packers spiritA-2 spiritA-2 spiritA-2 Monday's highlightsA-2 highlightsA-2 highlightsA-2 . -T -T - , I - V - M. V " n I; 4 I in r .11 I 4 1 A ;ii I ifv,. ,. jt- jt- u 1 i 1 1 v ' 11 I 1 ( - T ' .1 kl V I 115 t . . .,. Press-Gazette Press-Gazette Press-Gazette photo by John Robb Wiener on stand: Brown County District Tom Monfils murder trial Monday. Wiener is Attorney John Zakowski shows David a former James River paperworker in prison Wiener a document during testimony in the for killing his brother.