Oct 28, 1995, Monfils Homicide: Case closer to the jury: Arguments end toda7 pg 2

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Oct 28, 1995, Monfils Homicide:  Case closer to the jury: Arguments end toda7 pg 2 - A-4Green A-4Green A-4Green Bay Press-Gazette...
A-4Green A-4Green A-4Green Bay Press-Gazette Press-Gazette Press-Gazette Saturday, October 28, 1995 j? ? 45 '" - Unthinkable news abaiptly ended Susan Monfils' frantic, 36-hour 36-hour 36-hour search Susan Monfils had no idea she would go through 36 hours of hell when she left for work the morning of Saturday, Nov. 21, 1992. Her husband, Tom, already had left for his job at James River. She had been called in unexpectedly to work Saturday morning at Nelco, a business form company company in Ashwaubenon. That night, they were planning to go to a movie a few precious hours of relaxation relaxation in the hectic life of a two-income two-income two-income family in the '90s. But she never saw Tom alive again. And before she learned of his grisly death, she fought panic and terror as she desperately searched for her missing husband. husband. Thirty-six Thirty-six Thirty-six hours of not knowing what had happened. And then, nearly three more years of almost daily reminders of Tom's death. It began with a seemingly innocuous phone call from her daughter, Theresa, 11 at the time, at 9 that morning. "Mom, someone from the mill called and said Dad's not at work." She must have shrugged, perplexed but not really worried. Not yet. Strange, she thought. Nearly three years later, she would testify: "I was like, 'What do you ' mean, he's not at work? He's always at work.' " No desperation, yet. No lump of rising panic in her throat, yet. Only a perplexed nagging feeling that something wasn't right. Where is Tom? Is something wrong? Susan had no knowledge of millworker Keith Kutska's theft of an extension cord. She knew nothing of the fateful tape of her husband's voice informing police about Kutska. Tom hadn't talked to her about any of that. Nothing in his behavior suggested anything was wrong. The night before, he had taken Theresa and her 8-year-old 8-year-old 8-year-old 8-year-old 8-year-old brother, John, roller skating. Drove to the mill She left work and drove to the mill, more vexed than worried. She walked through the gatehouse and ' almost reached the mill entrance when the guard gently put his arms on her shoulders and said she couldn't go in. It was then that she heard Kutska's name mentioned for the first time in connection connection with her husband's disappearance. disappearance. She would recall on the witness stand: "The guard said something about Keith Kutska being a bully." Where is Tom? What happened here? So rather than going directly to Tom's Nov. 13, 1993: Almost a year after her husband's death, Susan Monfils, left, stood somberly behind her daughter, Theresa, and son, John, at a tnemorial dedication for Tom at the NEW Zoo. From A-l A-l A-l Monfils party to homicide in Monfils' death at the James River paper mill Nov. 21, 1992. Nearly three years of waiting has left Monfils' mother, Joan Monfils, hoping for answers. She said she thinks prosecutors did a good job but wouldn't speculate speculate on the verdicts Friday night. "We've never been through a trial before," she said. The case went to jurors at 8:15 p.m., after jurors heard two days' worth of closing arguments from prosecutors and defense lawyers. Friday, Hirn's lawyer, Gerald Boyle, advanced his own theory about what happened to Monfils. Monfils was beaten in a different plane at a slightly different time than prosecutors claim, Boyle suggested. suggested. Prosecutors have said the six defendants confronted Monfils after hearing a tape Keith Kutska played at the James River paper mill early Nov. 21, 1992. The tape was of Monfils telling police Kutska planned to steal a mill extension cord. The confrontation led to a beating, beating, then a hasty decision to get rid of the evidence Monfils by throwing him. alive into a paper pulp vat, prosecutors have said. Boyle, like some other defense About this narrative This account of Susan Monfils' search for her missing husband, Tom, was largely based on her testimony testimony in the murder trial, where the case is before the jury. Additional information came from previous Press-Gazette Press-Gazette Press-Gazette coverage and information from other family members. The lines in italics are intended to illustrate the thoughts running through Susan Monfils' mind as she continued to search for her husband. Six James River millworkers Keith Kutska, Mike Piaskowski, Rey Moore, Mike Him, Dale Basten and Mike Johnson are charged with party to first-degree first-degree first-degree intentional homicide in Monfils' death on Nov. 21, 1992. workplace on the No. 7 paper machine, Susan was routed to the office of Jack Yusko, James River personnel director. Tom's parents, Joan and Ed Monfils, were there. As the four of them talked, Susan tried to think like her husband. She tried to search office areas because Tom had once worked there when he was recovering from an injury. But the lump of panic was rising in her throat. And she somehow knew the answer wasn't in the office. The answer was back in the mill, back around the No. 7 paper machine. Yusko refused to let Susan search for her husband. Instead, he suggested she , go to the Green Bay Police Department and file a missing persons report. She and her father-in-law father-in-law father-in-law father-in-law father-in-law left for the police department at about 1 in the afternoon. afternoon. On the way out, she saw Tom's green Ford Fairmont station wagon in the parking lot. Still, she refused to let herself believe harm had come to her husband. She was afraid he would be angry with her and embarrassed if she filed a missing persons persons report. Then she heard the tape of her husband husband telling police that Kutska was going to steal an extension cord from the mill. A police officer played it for her. It may have been the moment apprehension gave way to stark fear. Where is Tom? I have to find Tom. She went home to find a photo of her husband to use with the missing persons report. She arranged to have members of Tom's family pick up the kids. All-night All-night All-night search She wanted to search for Tom and she wanted to do it alone. She drove 60 miles north to their cottage cottage on White Potato Lake near Pound. Nothing. She returned to Green Bay her mind racing and went to their rental property property on Cherry Street. Nothing. She checked the home of Louise La Luzerne, an elderly woman Tom had befriended when his sister lived next door to her on South Roosevelt Street. Nothing. All the lights were off. Where is Tom? The pace got more frantic. Susan went to the emergency entrance at Bellin Hospital, but there was no record of a patient named Tom Monfils. She went across South Webster Avenue to Bellin Psychiatric Center. Tom wasn't there, but staff members tried to calm her down. The word was out. Tom's picture had lawyers, didn't deny that Monfils' death was gruesome. "This poor young man is like a martyr, stoned to death by people absolutely out of control," Boyle said. But that "out of control" mob didn't include Hirn, who was already on his way from the paper machine area to his job in the shipping shipping area at the time the killing started, Boyle said. Prosecutors say the beating happened happened between 7:35 and 7:50 a.m. near a bubbler. Boyle said it lasted longer than that and happened in a paper storage storage room, where Monfils went after being "flushed out" of a nearby nearby paper machine control room. One or more people ambushed him and beat him, then cleaned up any blood with absorbent paper stored there, Boyle said. That paper was Monfils' casket as he was thrown into the vat, Boyle said. Hirn's protest of innocence should be believed because he said things a killer wouldn't gay, including that he may have been the last person to see Monfils alive, Boyle said. "How can a person see someone brutally beaten and kicked to death, thrown into a vat, then return to the scene and say he has knowledge about it?" Boyle asked. Nila Robinson, one of Basten's m lawyers, also had unanswered questions for jurors to consider. She questioned the credibility of prosecution witness David Wiener, who's in prison for killing his brother. Wiener testified that several months after Monfils' death, he remembered he had seen Basten - ? '-.' '-.' '-.' - v I; ; o -jI -jI ".-X ".-X ".-X . h -V -V v-t v-t v-t '- '- f Vf.! ai Press-Gazette Press-Gazette Press-Gazette file photos Difficult memories: Early in the trial, Susan Monfils struggled with tears on the witness stand while recounting her agonizing search for her husband husband after learning he was missing from work Nov. 21, 1992. been on the 10 o'clock news. She was racing racing now. She knew something was wrong, very wrong. If Tom's car was still at the mill, Tom was still at the mill. She had to get into that mill. The answer was in the mill. Fifteen hours had passed since her daughter had called her. It was after midnight, midnight, but she was no closer to finding Tom. Back to the mill She drove to James River and initially parked in an adjacent Wisconsin Public Service lot. She could see the East River and fleetingly wondered if police were dragging the bottom for her husband. Then she drove to the James River visitors' visitors' lot with her lights oft Now, the urge to get into the mill was overpowering. She got out of her car quietly, leaving her purse and keys behind. Susan walked around the gatehouse, circumventing the guards. She entered the mill and walked past a breakroom. So far, so good. No one had noticed her. She went up a flight of stairs and darted into an area strewn with scrap paper. There, a forklift operator spotted her. She pressed against a wall for a moment, trying to hide, and then entered what she would latar describe as "a tunnel with motors." She was trying to find the paper machines. That's where it started. That's where the answer had to be. Cln I. 1 1 ' tt 1 1 n one uegan tunning xor jviarnn unaries, me union president, i om s in tne union. Marlin is union president. Why isnthe trying to find out what s going on with Tom? Finally, she saw a man sitting hi a control control room for one of the paper1 machines. She asked where she could find Charles. The man pointed toward the No. 8 machine. "It was like he knew who I was," she Mm WTWT7UrTW ' Press-Gazette Press-Gazette Press-Gazette photo by Ken Crowded courtroom: Spectators at the ! closing arguments Friday in Brown Tom Monfils homicide trial listen during County Court. and Johnson carrying something heavy near the pulp vats that morning. Johnson's lawyer, Eric Steam, also attacked Wiener's ability to suddenly recall seeing Basten and Johnson months after the fact. Wiener "saw the light" after drinking heavily and went intoxi ski, r 4r,v would recall later. Then she encountered a millworker she knew and he took her to Charles, who was sitting in the area of the Nos. 3 and 4 paper machines. Charles was there with a number of other men. "It looked like they were having a good time," she would testify nearly three years later. By this time, word had spread that Susan Monfils was in the mill looking for her husband. YUsko showed up with a security guard; But Susan was desperate, and she had to talk with Charles. She wanted an Al. 'lris w Uto u w w' aft TOrhMclthi rh 'Sf 1 w t a.u.Jefv- a.u.Jefv- ,ruts H- H- ,Cfs w. I'Cfc- I'Cfc- To.m A ) T t2. Monfils 1 ; hi cated to the Green Bay police to give his statement, Steam said. Using that type of evidence to try to convict Johnson is insulting, Stearn said. "Mike Johnson is guilty of .nothing .nothing except for doing his joh," Stearn said. In fact, Johnson had been explanation from Charles, but she wanted wanted it alone. "Do you want to do thia in front of an audience?" she asked Charles.", He asked the others to leave. What Charles said to her is still unknown, because his lawyer said he'd take the Fifth Amendment if questioned during the trial. But after a short conver sation, he helped search for Tom. Charles and Susan scoured the mill. They went out near the railroad tracks, back to the gatehouse, through the mill, the breakroom and then to his locker. When she touched his combination padlock, it fell open. She looked for his keys and felt strangely relieved when she couldn't find them. If Tom had his keys, he'd be coming into work. But where was Tom?- Tom?- It was early Sunday morning when she finally left the mill. Yusko took her to the Blackstone Cafe, an all-night all-night all-night downtown downtown restaurant, and they drank tea. Yusko was trying to calm her. She knew that. Eventually, he seemed sure she was at least OK and he left. Susan stopped at a Sentry Foods store to pick up some things for the kids. She was grasping at straws now. She thought maybe Tom would call her from work that morning and say he'd been up all night thinking and had decided to go back to work. That call never came. Others did, lots of them. People had heard the news. Where's T,om? What happened? She couldn't give them any answers. Finally, the news She must have slept sometime during the day between phone calls and when she wasn't in the total grip of panic. Finally, Sunday night, she returned to the police department. She carried a notebook and pen. She wanted to keep searching, and she wanted the police to tell her how to do it. Motels. Men's shelters. The YMCA. Carry Tom's picture. Has anybody seen this man? Those thoughts crowded into her mind and she wanted to know what police thought of them. At the police department, an officer asked her if she had heard a rumor. Could Tom possibly be in some kind of a vat? For God's sake, what's happening here? Where's Tom? She refused to believe it. In a vat? ; There wouldn't be anything left of him. Then there was a knock on the door and other officers came into'the room. Yes, they said, they had found Tom. They had found her husband. He was in a pulp vat at James River. And he was dead. Susan Monfils' search for her husband was over. The search for his killers, though, had just begun. 3 JL :( '1. sM ? WWII '"J.. ' " you We want your reaction After the verdicts are announced in the Tom Monfils! murder trial, call the Press-Gazette Press-Gazette Press-Gazette Newsline to tell us what you think is? about the M resTuJ!s- resTuJ!s- Newsnne recording will tell vouwhat the ver- ver- f diets are and ' ask you for your -comments. -comments. The local num-' num-' num-' bers are 436-7838 436-7838 436-7838 and 436-7839. 436-7839. 436-7839. The toll-free toll-free toll-free numbers are (800) 510-5353 510-5353 510-5353 and (800) 820-5858. 820-5858. 820-5858. Please leave your name and phone number so we can verify the call. Wesely DreDarinor tn an on nutWi - O D " w vuuui 1UU1IUB when Basten, his boss, told him to go up to the No. 9 machine to check a problem, Stearn said. "He had his hand on that jacket. Two more seconds would have saved him three years of hia ljfe," Stearn said! i

Clipped from Green Bay Press-Gazette28 Oct 1995, SatPage 4

Green Bay Press-Gazette (Green Bay, Wisconsin)28 Oct 1995, SatPage 4
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  • Oct 28, 1995, Monfils Homicide: Case closer to the jury: Arguments end toda7 pg 2

    jodysharon2004 – 03 Dec 2016

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