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A jury has found Eric Koula guilty of murdering his parents inside their town of Barre house in 2010.

Koula, 42, faces a minimum of 40 years in prison when sentenced Aug. 24. He also was convicted of forging a $50,000 check from his parents’ investment account.

His was among the lengthiest trials in La Crosse County Circuit Court, where prosecutors said the struggling West Salem day trader shot Dennis and Merna Koula on May 21 for the inheritance. His attorneys blamed a professional killer who hit the wrong house.

Jurors were in their third day of deliberations before reaching a verdict this afternoon.

They found that Koula executed his mother at her home office computer, and then waited about 15 minutes for his father and shot him as he walked in the door.

Koula claimed he was grouting a bathroom and shopping for his wife’s anniversary present at the time. But a surveillance video outside the North Side Shopko didn’t support his alibi.

He confessed to jurors he signed the $50,000 check but said he had his father’s authorization to do so. He also admitted to fabricating a threatening note that claimed to frame him for the homicides because he was upset investigators had questioned his son in the case.

See Thursday's Tribune or for more on this story.

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(22) comments


It will never cease to amaze me---if people don't see the act with their own eyes---the person isn't quilty because they didn't see it??? The evidence was OVERWHELMING by any standard---and the pro hit thing--PLEASE --- I know you people out there aren't that stupid-are you? Pro it LOL -he is where he is suppose to be although I think he should get the death penalty for sure--for what he DID--he needs to die


I followed this story from start to finish. I tried my best to read all the blogs, but at times there were too many. As I beleive he either had a part in this, or he did it- I do not beleive they had enough evidence for a Guilty verdict. My thoughts were about the sister and her husband.. where were they during this time. Did the son in law have anything to do with this.. according to the wills the sister was also mentioned to get the money and everything along with Eric. I just have a hard time thinking with a lack of evidence pointing to one person that this jury could convict. Again, my thought is he had a part in this plan, not sure he actually killed them or not, but I also believe they left a big part out with not having the daughter (erics sister) talked to, on the stand or even show evidence as to where she and her husband were.. Makes you wonder


very true, didn't even think about that. Makes you think if Eric's sister knew that he was in terrible debt and the other circumstances, she took advantage of it. Then again I still think he killed her but you never know. Money is a strange thing, that makes people change.


What is wrong with you people? So the sister set Eric up? She knew that he forged a check, screwed with the video cameras at Shopko, made sure Eric didn't tell the police about the forged check until his arrest, she wrote the fixed you note and made him stumble around like a fool, made his "friends" lie on the stand, and she had such control over everything that she MADE Eric change his story and continue to lie to police the whole time? Wow this sister must be a great mastermind...You people are NUTS!!!!!


I would be willing to bet the sister and her husband had alibis and were witnessed to be elsewhere then her parents house at that time. I bet the police checked all that and confirmed that. She didn't have a forged check, lie to police or fabricate evidence. She also didn't owe the IRS or big CC debt. You go on with your BIG CSI BS. But this guy did it and deserves what is coming to him.


I still don't think he did it............The hit man was a really lame defence..........Camera's and veido's can be faulty......and where was the son in law???? and Eric's sister???? I think this was a set up....Who gets the inheritance now?????

Kevin Shirel

I do not know what the jury heard during this trail I hope they came to the correct verdict with that said the small amount that I have read I don't see how they came to a guilty verdict you can not find some one guilty for lying but I respect their conclusion and I guess it just comes down to who you beleive the most I am glad I was not on that jury. I would like to hear from those folks that came out during the trail I beleive they said they knew him for along time and there was no way he could have this horrific crime. Please give us your thoughts based on what you know about this case. To bad itis not always like CSI where they find something linking the killer to the crime. But of course that would be to easy. May god be the props that hold all that connected to the Koula's


AMEN to the jury...JUSTICE HAS BEEN SERVED !!! No doughts that he killed his parents..I only wish we would have had this jury for the Weibel triple homicides in 1992 (My dad, his wife and her daughter) I wish peace and healing for the familys.. RIP Mr and Mrs Koula <3<3


Pattie, the Weibel case still outrages me when I think about it. I never could understand how that jury reached their verdict. They must have been the only twelve people in La Crosse county that could have found him innocent. I hope that somehow, someday, that miserable SOB gets what he has coming to him.

May all the victims rest in peace.


Me to Awecomeon, me to .. May they all rest in peace

Johnny A

I think he killed his parents, but the prosecution did NOT meet their burden of proof. It always amazes me when a jury hands down a guilty verdict in a murder trial when there is reasonable doubt.


What was the reasonable doubt as you see it?

Johnny A

A neighbor who told the police that he had been getting death threats, and who was 90% sure he saw the Koulas after the time the police said they were murdered. The prosecution only proved that the camera at the northside Shopko didn't show Eric's truck, not that he wasn't there when he said he was (lots of obstructions in the garden center). No witnesses, no murder weapon, no physical evidence. I don't believe he could kill his parents and then go out to celebrate his anniversary without his friends noticing there was something wrong. I think you could drive a truck through the reasonable doubt in this case, and I don't know him or his family.


beyond a reasonable doubt..JohnnyA. And do you believe the neighbor? No accused showing on camera, so...was he really there? Was it actually the accuseds' receipt for the purchase? Did 'someone' give him that receipt for the timeline to work out? Doubts, but not reasonable Johnny. Evidence does not need to be in front of you..physical. Too many coicidences to have it be an innocent verdict. There would have been more hysterical reaction, the past 2 years, as well as today IF he truly were innocent. Nothing came up these past 2 yrs with any leads as well.


All you doubters, read this case and the similarities between it and the Koula case. Kind-of gives you the chills:;contentBody

I don't believe an innocent person would tell so many lies (only fessing up when caught) AND the biggest thing that told me that he did it: the "fixed u" note.

The hitman theory was about as credible as a boogeyman theory.

My heart goes out to the children. I really truly feel they are innocent victims along with Dennis and Merna.

Guest 03

I have to say I was shocked... I never thought they would convict!! Thank you again to the Trib for the live blog to follow along and to all the people we were able to share our thoughts, bounce ideas & questions off of. I do hope the rest of his family and friends of the family can now begin their healing process and move on with life.


Excellent job jury! I am most impressed....I was not familiar with anyone related to this but followed along via Tribune, Tribune live blog (thank you Trib for this as it was very engaging and made you feel connected to the process) wxowlive for streaming, and I came to the same conclusion. Guilty! Kudos to the Jurors! My prayers to his children to have the strength and the courage to overcome this tremendous barrier and not look down in shame for something they had no control over....move forward....strive for greatness, and always choose on the basis of love


Lynnyrd, very well said, and I also agree with your statement about prayers to his children..the innocent ones, also victims. With the help they'll need, I also hope they can get over this barrier and not look down in shame. Very hard to do, but please, please God, help them.


Lynnrd, Well Said.. I also followed this trial with no connection or knowing anyone. I did watch the live feed and read all Trib. blog comments - never posed any or responded to any (was tempted at times) comments or questions. I did not want to talk about the case as the jurors were told. But I did get to see questions and comments posted from blog. Unfair--Yes.. Jury asked the identical questions that bloggers were asking. This jury was not going to be fooled. They did not fall for the lies, lies, lies and more lies, as I did not. The lies appeared to happen for me with the fake 911 call. And continued thru and probably still more lies. I am so glad I know how to be a faithful juror now--they showed me the way.. Thanks to The Jurors for same conclusion I had... GUILTY would have been my vote on all charges. Sad for family - but now they can get on.


Justice is served in Wisconsin! Rest in peace Merna and Dennis cuz he didn't get away with it after all! Amen!


Amen Hedunit !!

David Jarzemski

Told ya so.

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