Oct 28, 1995, Monfils Homicide: Case closer to the jury: Arguments end toda7 pg 1
SATURDAY, October 28, 1995 500 DDfD PFW Defendants shake hands after trial's 28th day By Paul Srubas and Anne Klemm Press-Gazette Press-Gazette Press-Gazette The 28th day of the Tom Monfils homicide trial ended with jurors deliberating, defendants wishing each other good luck, and lawyers packing up boxes of case material for perhaps the last time. '. The Racine County jurors nine women and three men were to resume work at 8:30 this morning morning after squeez ing in almost two hours of deliberations deliberations Friday night. Judge James Bayorgeon said he will let the jurors decide how long they will mmmmmmm work today. Police detectives, detectives, friends and relatives of Monfils hugged prosecutors or shook hands after the case went to the jury. Relatives and friends of the defendants did the same with defense lawyers and also wished defendants luck while filing out of the courtroom. The defendants shook hands with one another before jailers led the four still in custody back to the Brown County Jail. Mike Him, Mike Johnson, Keith Kutska and Rey Moore remain jailed in lieu of $300,000 bail. Mike Piaskowski and Dale Basten are out on bail. All six face charges of being Please see MonfilsA-4 MonfilsA-4 MonfilsA-4 More inside Tom Monfils' widow, Susan, recounts her ordealA-4 ordealA-4 ordealA-4 Closing arguments Closing arguments In the Tom Monfils homicide trial began Thursday morning. The prosecution presented its case first; defense lawyers argued their individual cases afterward. The prosecution followed with arguments rebutting defense allegations. The case went to the jury Friday night. I to u .. The N Monfils trial ij - , i Larry Lasee The prosecution Larry Lasee, arguing for the prosecution: prosecution: All of the defendants heard Keith Kutska's tape recording of Monfils telling police Kutska planned to steal an extension cord. All of them made negative comments about Monfils' behavior. behavior. Except for Rey Moore, all of the defendants place themselves with Keith KutSKa aDout 7:35 a.m., around the time Monfils' probably probably was beaten into unconsciousness. unconsciousness. Moore denies being there then, but other testimony testimony by disinterested witnesses witnesses proves he's lying. Defense lawyers are mistaken mistaken in assuming prosecutors believe the six killed Monfils in izm. I I a m ut rage, ne saia. Monfils 1 Dale Basten Nila Robinson, arguing for Dale Basten: Police investigators, especially Sgt. Randy Winkler, committed the day after Monfils' body was found to a conspiracy theory in which several several people beat Monfils near a bubbler early Nov. 21, 1992. Police bought the theory before there was evidence to do so, then fit later evidence evidence to that theory. Police also made a giant leap in connecting Monfils' death with Keith Kutska playing playing a tape for co-workers. co-workers. co-workers. The tape is of Monfils telling police Kutska planned to steal a mill extension cord. The state asks jurors to yt'r believe former mill worker I David Wiener. V v J Nila Robinson id... -.t -.t "I Mike Johnson I Eric Eric Stearn Steam, arguing for Mike Johnson: Johnson was only in the paper machine area that day because of a stock flow problem problem on the No. 9 paper machine. He listened listened to Kutska's tape but made only one statement about it, saying the union likely couldn't collect a fine from Monfils for what he did. Steam rejected a state suggestion that Johnson changed parts of his story to police under Basten's direction. Saying Basten spoon-fed spoon-fed spoon-fed a story to Johnson makes Johnson into a cartoon character, not a person. MB Mike Hirn Gerald Boyle, arguing for Mike Hirn: Boyle compared Monfils to a martyr being stoned by a mob. But he suggested the mob beating occurred as Hirn left the paper machine area and lasted until well after 8 a.m. Prosecutors place the beating, followed by someone dumping Monfils into the vat, between 7:35 and 7:50 a.m. Boyle places the beating in the 3-4 3-4 3-4 room, not the bubbler area prosecutors claim. Monfils was "flushed out" of a paper machine control booth and into the 3-4 3-4 3-4 room, where one or more people ambushed and beat him. There's no blood there because there was time for people to clean the scene. I CAI... I 0.'- 0.'- JlV 1 Gerald Boyle Trial prosecutor named judge Press-Gazette Press-Gazette Press-Gazette A prosecutor in the Tom Monfils ; murder trial is Brown County's newest circuit court judge. Gov. Tommy Thompson on Friday appointed Assistant District Attorney Bill Griesbach, 41, to serve part of the remaining term of Judge Donald Hanaway, who died Sept. 7. "It's a tremendous honor to serve the judicial system in that capacity," Griesbach said Friday during a break in the Monfils trial. Word of the appointment traveled traveled quickly, with many defense Nv- Nv- JasB They killed to save livelihoods' lawyers congratulating congratulating the adversary who GHesbach could preside over their next trial. Griesbach's appointment runs to August 1996, which means the seat is up for election next spring. Whoever wins that election will serve until August 1998. Circuit court judges earn $86,300 a year. Griesbach has served as an assistant assistant district attorney for almost nine years, handling juvenile and adult misdemeanor and felony cases. By Paul Srubas Press-Gazette Press-Gazette Press-Gazette The flaw in the defense strategy in the Tom Monfils case has been that defense lawyers have mistaken mistaken the state's position all along, prosecutor Larry Lasee said Friday. "Nobody is (saying) they left the coop with the intent to kill," Lasee said in his final argument before the case went to the jury. "Irrational anger led to the beating, beating, but the intent to kill was when they put him in the vat." That plugs the primary holes the defense lawyers tried to punch in the state's case, Lasee said. An alternate explanation for Monfils' death, as advanced by lawyers Tim Pedretti and Gerald Boyle, suggests somebody other than the six defendants waylaid Monfils in some remote part of the mill. But that would mean a single person became motivated to kill just because Monfils had reported Keith Kutska planning to steal an extension cord from the mill, Lasee said. "The state is not suggesting anything anything so absurd," he said. "No one would kill over a telephone call. No one has that capacity, certainly not any of these people. They killed to save their livelihoods." Defense lawyers have wondered how six people could become agitated agitated enough to commit murder, yet show no outward sign of stress when they mingled once again with other workers at the James River mill. "No one knew to look for changes in their personality, or to look for drops of blood," Lasee said. Defense lawyers have protested the state's theory that the beating happened near a drinking fountain because it's a heavy traffic area of the mill. But Lasee argued that Monfils' beating took just seconds, and defendants were too worked up to choose a more discreet spot. But then, after knocking Monfils unconscious, the defendants had time to set out lookouts while they disposed of his body, Lasee said. Lasee rejected defense lawyer arguments that the state's key whv nesses Dennis Servais, Brian Kellner, Connie Jones and David Wiener were lying. None had a motive to lie, he said. Their accounts closely match other facts and other testimony in such a way as to paint a complete picture of the events surrounding Monfils' death, he said.