Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Bulletin: Expert: Keith Kutska: Wisconsin; Kutska's lawyers have called a forensic pathologist in a bid to show evidence that Tom Monfils may have committed suicide, and evidence supporting that theory wasn't properly presented and evaluated at the trial. Green Bay Press Gazette;

"Defense lawyers for Keith Kutska tried to use a forensic pathologist's testimony on Wednesday morning to cast doubt on Kutska's conviction for his involvement in the death of Tom Monfils at the former James River Mill in Green Bay.
Kutska, 64, and four others are serving life sentences for Monfils' death. Monfils, 35, was found dead in 1992 in a pulp vat at the mill with a 50-pound weight tied to his neck. Kutska, 64, is serving a life term in Columbia Correctional Institution in Portage. He is arguing his 1995 conviction was unfair because evidence suggesting that Monfils may have committed suicide wasn't presented at his trial in Brown County Circuit Court. Wednesday's early testimony focused on conclusions drawn from the autopsy performed on Monfils' body. Dr. Mary Ann Sens, a forensic pathologist and medical examiner in North Dakota, said it would have been difficult if not impossible to determine a cause of death through an autopsy on Monfils' body, given the degree of decomposition. "I and my colleagues felt it should have been undetermined," she said under questioning by defense lawyer Steven Kaplan of Minneapolis. The late Dr. Helen Young, who performed the original autopsy, concluded that Monfils' death was unlikely to have been a suicide, according to an officer's statement that Kaplan presented. Sens testified that would not have been a reasonable conclusion to draw based simply on the autopsy. She agreed with Young's findings that Monfils would have been alive while in the vat but said she could not tell what injuries might have occurred before he went in or happened after he went in. Sens said she could not exclude being struck by the vat propeller as the cause of a fracture on Monfils' skull. Prosecutors previously indicated they believed the fracture was caused by someone striking Monfils on the head. Retired Outagamie County Judge James Bayorgeon, who heard the original case, is presiding over Kutska's hearing, which is expected to conclude Friday.......... Prosecutors argued Kutska stole a piece of electrical wire from the mill, then became angry when he learned Monfils reported the theft. Kutska allegedly incited the others to rough up Monfils, and the group conspired to dump him unconscious into the pulp vat, according to the prosecution's case. Kutska now argues there's evidence to show Monfils may have committed suicide, and evidence supporting that theory wasn't properly presented and evaluated at the trial. Among other witnesses planned for the three-day hearing are a Coast Guard knot expert, expected to testify regarding the kinds of knots Monfils likely would have learned during his stint in the Coast Guard. The defense also is expected to present testimony by Royce Finne, Kutska's original lawyer, and is expected to call an expert lawyer to testify to the reasonableness and effectiveness of Kutska's original defense. Part of Kutska's arguments also center on retired Green Bay police detective Randy Winkler and whether he may have bullied witnesses into giving false testimony."