State prison officials have denied parole for the second time to one of six men convicted in the 1992 death of Green Bay paper mill worker, Tom Monfils. But supporters of the convicted men haven't given up on trying to prove that all of them are innocent.
On November 22, 1992, Monfils' body was found at the bottom of pulp vat at the James River Mill with a weight around his neck. After an exhaustive three year investigation, a jury convicted six men for killing him. Wisconsin Innocence Project attorney Byron Lichstein says the parole ruling against Michael Hirn this week won't stop his efforts to free another of the Monfils Six, Rey Moore. Lichstein says the convictions of all the men hinge on what he considers very flimsy evidence. In particular, the testimony of a man who said he remembered a drunken conversation about the murder at a bar two years after the murder occurred, "To me what makes it remarkable is the extraordinary effort that went into the investigation, how little that ended up producing, and how dramatic the consequences have been for these guys."
Even the victim's brother, Cal Monfils, has joined the effort to have the men convicted of killing his brother freed. He says he was always uneasy about how the investigation was carried out, especially the fact that none of the six who remain in jail have ever wavered in their claims of innocence, "The hardest pill to swallow is the fact that you could have six people that are going to keep their mouth shut when they're facing a murder charge. You can watch any crime show on TV any true to life crime show and people always rollover people always to talk. It's human instinct."
One of those convicted, Mike Piaskowski, had his conviction overturned in 2001 for lack of sufficient evidence. He will lead a rally and walk for justice at the Brown County Court House on Saturday afternoon calling for the release of the five men who remain in prison.