GREEN BAY, Wis. (WFRV/AP) – The last of six men convicted of killing a co-worker at a Green Bay paper mill more than 30 years ago has been granted parole, according to officials with the Wisconsin Department of Corrections (DOC) Parole Commission.
Keith Kutska, 72, could be released from prison in Prairie du Chien as early as Aug. 29, Local 5 has confirmed. He has served more than 27 years of a life sentence.
A statement provided to Local 5 from the DOC Parole Commission reads:
Mr. Kutska was determined to be statutorily eligible for parole consideration under Wisconsin Statute 304.06 and PAC 1.05, which states that the Parole Commission has the authority to parole a person-in-custody, sentenced before December 31st, 1999, who is serving a life term in a Department of Corrections facility after reaching their statutory parole eligibility date (PED). The criteria used to assess parole eligibility are: satisfactory institution conduct, programming completion, risk reduction, sufficient time served so as to not depreciate the seriousness of the offense(s), and an approved release plan.Wisconsin Parole Commission
The Parole Commission also added that Kutska has shown ‘exceptional conduct,’ with only one minor conduct report over his 27-year sentence.
It was also noted in the provided statement that, “Mr. Kutska has shown that he poses minimal risk to the community and his chance of recidivism is low. This is evidenced by his successful transition through reduced levels of security, while maintaining acceptable conduct, down to minimum community, the lowest custody level. He has shown his ability to effectively utilize the tools he has gained.”
Kustka and five other workers at the former James River mill— Dale Basten, Michael Johnson, Michael Piaskowski, Rey Moore and Michael Hirn — were convicted in a joint trial in connection with Tom Monfils’ death in 1992.
Monfils’ body was discovered at the bottom of a pulp vat in 1992. Prosecutors contended that Kutska and the others retaliated against him after he reported that Kutska had stolen an extension cord. All six men have maintained their innocence.
All of them were sentenced to life in prison with a variety of parole dates. A federal judge overturned Piaskowski’s conviction in 2001. The other four were paroled in recent years, leaving just Kutska in prison.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.