UPDATE: Green Bay’s Paper Mill Murder: WI Supreme Court Denies Keith Kutska's Final Appeal For New Trial

UPDATE: April 19, 2017

Keith Kutska, convicted of murdering Thomas Monfils in 1995, will not get the chance to present his case before Wisconsin's highest court. The Wisconsin Supreme Court denied Kutska's petition for the review of his case on Friday, April 14, 2017. Kutska had hoped for a new trial as his lawyers argued that Kutska's conviction was unfair because they believed Monfils committed suicide, and that lawyers relied too heavily on forensic pathologists.

This latest ruling is a significant blow as Kutska has now exhausted all of his appeals for this case.


In April 2016, I published a blog titled, Green Bay’s Paper Mill Murder: the death of Thomas Monfils. To give a brief recap of this story, on November 22, 1992, 35-year-old Thomas Monfils was found dead at his place of employment, James River paper mill in Green Bay, WI.  His body was found at the bottom of a two-story paper vat with a 50 lb. weight tied around his neck. Monfils had been beaten and suffocated and his death was ruled a homicide by the Brown County Medical Examiner’s Office. Six of Monfils’ coworkers, Michael Johnson, Dale Basten, Michael Hirn, Rey Moore, Michael Piaskowski, and Keith Kutkska were subsequently arrested, charged and convicted with Monfils’ murder. Piaskowski was released after his conviction was overturned by a federal judge in 2001 for lack of evidence.

 Keith Kutska in court. Courtesy: Green Bay Press Gazette

Keith Kutska in court. Courtesy: Green Bay Press Gazette

Since being convicted in 1995, Keith Kutska maintains his innocence and has filed multiple motions in an attempt to have his conviction overturned. In mid-2015, Kutska requested a new trial claiming that evidence was not presented during his 1995 criminal trial, including information that Monfils committed suicide, as well as evidence that Monfils’ death was improperly ruled a homicide. In January 2016, Kutska’s motion for a new trial was denied by reserve Judge James Bayorgeon. Kutska appealed this decision to Wisconsin’s Third District Court of Appeals, which also denied Kutska’s motion. Last week, Kutska’s attorneys announced they will ask Wisconsin’s Supreme Court to consider if Kutska should get a new trial.

I will continue to update this story.


Adam Quirk, MCJ & MBA is an accomplished criminal justice professional with over 15 years' experience in the field.