Dale Basten, convicted in Monfils case, released to assisted living center

Dale Basten (Photo source: Wisconsin Dept. of Corrections)

(WLUK) – Dale Basten – one of the five men serving a life prison term for the 1992 murder of Green Bay paper mill worker Tom Monfils – was released from prison Tuesday. His failing heath was cited as the reason for his parole.

Basten, 76, was most recently at the Dodge Correctional Institution. He will be placed at an assisted living center in the Fox Valley, subject to electronic monitoring.

Basten, Keith Kutska, Rey Moore, Michael Hirn, Michael Johnson and Michael Piaskowski were all convicted in the murder. Piaskowski’s conviction was later overturned by a federal judge. The other five all remained in prison, until Basten’s release. All of the men continue to say they are innocent.

Brown County District Attorney David Lasee’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Portions of the documents obtained by FOX 11 are blacked out due to the personal & medical nature of the information.

“This Commissioner has personally witnessed (blacked out) to worsen significantly since (blacked out), presently to the point where you seem unaware of your surroundings and communicate very little. Further, your brother (Lee Basten) has made similar observations, as have the staff at DCI that work with you on a regular basis,” the recommendation to the parole commission reads.

The release order reinforces the medical issues:

In its analysis, the Chair is mindful that punishment includes a component of awareness, awareness that one is being punished - one is suffering a loss of liberty, a loss of freedom to act, and a loss of comfort - all as a result of bad act(s). In your case, you have little awareness of who you are, where you are, and why you are where you are. In essence, you are no longer being punished… During the 45 minute visit, we discussed (or more accurately attempted to discuss) several matters (but not the merits / facts of your case) including who you are, current events and your general awareness of your environment. It is clear from this encounter that you have little or no orientation as to your surroundings.

The order also notes that Basten and the others have maintained their innocence over the years.

The record and facts of this case reflects you participated in this homicide yet the strength of the brotherhood bond with your co-actors has acted as a concealment of the details: no one has ever come forth and told the complete truth as to how the victim died at your and / or the hands of your co-workers. It has been said that loose lips sink ships. In your case and the case of your co-actors, nobody had loose lips and yet you still all went down with convictions for murder. One could argue that given the nature of your and co-actor's conduct, and given the circumstances of the victim's death, (namely he was killed for merely reporting the theft of wire from your place of work), you all should be punished to the fullest extent possible and die in prison. The laws governing Parole Commission decisions do not operate in such a manner. The Commission must and will follow the law.

The decision also suggests the prison system does not have the proper tools to supervise Basten, given his mental condition.

If not locked in your cell, you require constant supervision so that you don't wander in prohibited areas. These records and representations corroborate the Chair's personal observations of your overall condition… Though not a factor in considering your release, the Commission is mindful of the fact that as you sit in (information blacked out) of a maximum security prison - which is required given your overall (information blacked out) - taxpayers are paying $93,000 a year to house you. In addition, given the notoriety and nature of your crime, your (information blacked out) and the fact that you're penniless, securing a permanent placement upon your release from prison is challenging to say the least. There are simply a very limited number of options available to DOC in placing you outside of the prison walls.

In November 1992, Tom Monfils was found dead in a paper vat at the James River Mill in Green Bay. Monfils' body was found with a rope and weight around his neck, with a broken jaw and fractured skull. The so-called 'Monfils Six' were convicted in 1995, with Piaskowski's conviction being overturned in 2001.

For further reactions, we have tried contacting Dale Basten's brother, Tom Monfils' wife and brother, as well as attorneys for the original trial. We have not heard back.

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