TOMAHAWK, Wis. (WBAY) – One of the men dubbed as the “Monfils 6” has been released from prison after nearly 24 years behind bars.
Michael Hirn, 54, was released from McNaughton Correctional Center in Tomahawk Tuesday morning. Action 2 News was the only local news station at the prison for the release. Hirn spoke with us for a local news exclusive to air Tuesday on Action 2 News.
In 1995, Hirn and five other men were convicted of 1st Degree Intentional Homicide for conspiring to kill co-worker Tom Monfils at a Green Bay paper mill. Monfils’ body was found weighed down in a pulp vat in 1992.
During trial, the prosecution said the men conspired to kill Monfils, who had heard one of the suspects, Keith Kutska, talk about stealing an electrical cord from the mill. It is alleged that Monfils reported it to authorities, but his anonymity was compromised when Keith Kutska obtained a tape of Monfils’ call to police.
The prosecution accused Kutska and the other men of forming a group to take revenge on Monfils.
The men came to be known as the Monfils 6. They were all convicted at jury trial. They have maintained their innocence.
Of the six, Kutska, Michael Johnson and Rey Moore remain behind bars.
Michael Piaskowski’s conviction was overturned by an appeals court in 2001. The court ruled that there was not enough evidence to prove his involvement.
Dale Basten was granted parole in September 2017 due to his failing health. He died at age 77 in June.
Earlier this month, a parole commission granted Michael Hirn’s request for parole. The commission called him a “model prisoner.”
A commission report said Hirn completed vocational programs and earned minimum community custody in 2015, and began working full- and part-time jobs. He’s also an animal handler providing therapy to dogs that have been traumatized.
Michael Johnson has a parole hearing in March. Rey Moore’s parole hearing is in July. Kutska’s next hearing is in 2021.
Keith Kutska mounted an appeal based on what his attorneys claimed was new evidence in the case. The defense was granted an evidentiary hearing to present an argument that Monfils killed himself.