Eric Koula in his second appeal argues that he is not responsible for his parents’ murders and claims he has uncovered evidence implicating another family member in their deaths.

Eric Koula


The person, who the Tribune is not identifying, had a financial motive and is unaccounted for when authorities believe Dennis and Merna Koula were shot in their town of Barre house on May 21, 2010, Koula writes in his appeal.

Koula, who is serving two life sentences for the killings, faults his attorneys for failing to pursue the alternative suspect.

“… there is not a shred of evidence suggesting that Mr. Koula was capable of murder, not a shred of evidence suggesting that Mr. Koula was filled with hatred towards his parents,” according to the appeal. “In respect to the (alternative suspect), there is an abundance of indisputable evidence establishing just that.”

Koula’s appeal is expected to be filed Wednesday with the District 4 Court of Appeals. He provided a copy to the Tribune.

Prosecutors at a marathon trial in La Crosse County Circuit Court in 2012 argued Koula, overwhelmed by debt and a failing day-trading career, shot his parents to claim a substantial inheritance. He deposited a forged $50,000 check drawn from their account the day after the killings, and then lied and planted false evidence to divert investigators.

His defense team argued that the Koulas were the unintended victims of a hit man.

Dennis and Merna Koula

Dennis and Merna Koula

Prosecutors argued Koula shot his mother at 5:41 p.m. May 21, the time of her last recorded keystroke discovered during an examination of her computer by La Crosse police Sgt. Mike Blokhuis, and his father about 20 minutes later during a time during which their son was unaccounted for.

Koula called Blokhuis’ analysis and opinion “fatally flawed” and faults his attorneys for failing to challenge the findings.

“Had the defense been able to discredit Blokhuis’ analysis and opinion at trial, the state’s case against Koula would have essentially collapsed,” according to the appeal.

Koula also argues that his attorneys presented a “half-hearted” defense against his financial incentive to kill.

Koula, who represents himself, raised the same issues in a motion for a new trial last year. Circuit Judge Scott Horne denied him a new trial.

The former West Salem man argued in his first appeal that his trial attorneys failed him with a faulty jury instruction, and that the judge erred when he allowed testimony that supported motive and excluded evidence that supported his innocence. A state appellate court in October 2015 rejected his appeal and the state Supreme Court later declined to review the case.

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Anne Jungen can be reached at ajungen@lacrossetribune.com or follow her on Twitter at @LCTCrimeCourts.


(3) comments


Dude give it up!! You killed them period end of story!! Man up and accept it...if you do the crime you do the time!!!


Anne, why do you put about 50 other clips of outstanding citizens after a current story? Just write the current story and include all the details.

Buggs Raplin

Not sure why the Trib is not identifying this person, as that person will be identified at some point.

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