Guilty verdict in Koula double murder trial

By: WEAU Staff Email
By: WEAU Staff Email

LA CROSSE, Wis (WEAU)- A guilty verdict was given in the Koula murder trial.

Erik Koula was found guilty of both accounts of 1st degree homicide.

Eric Koula is back behind bars tonight as he was found guilty of murdering his parents in their Barre Mills home, May of 2010.

The day started out with the jury deliberating just as they had every other day this week with no end in sight.

“They had a lot of testimony to go through and notes to review,” said Clerk of Courts Pam Radtke.

But at 3 pm we got word that the jury had come to a conclusion. Erik was found guilty of 2 counts of first degree homicide and one count of check fraud.

“He’s facing life imprisonment on the homicide counts and a max of 6 years on the forgery count,” said District Attorney Tim Gruenke.

After the trial Eric Koula’s family was escorted out of the court room by their attorneys, but other Koula family members stayed to thank District Attorney Tim Guenke..

“The family is very grateful to have it concluded. I don’t know if they’re happy, they are still sad Dennis and Merna aren’t here but they expressed their relief that the jury came up with the decision that they did,” said Gruenke.

Gruenke said it was Koula’s lying that played a big factor in the case.

“We thought it was a big factor he lied about Shopko and the note, and who signed the check, and the check to begin with.” said Gruenke.

The jurors themselves were ushered out quickly and did not wish to talk to us as emotions were high.

Koula will be sentenced in late August.

The Koula family did not wish to comment at this time.

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Jurors in La Crosse County find Eric Koula guilty of killing his parents.
Dennis and Merna Koula were found dead in their La Crosse County home in 2010. He's also guilty of forgery.

During the reading of the verdict, Eric Koula was shaking his head. Before the deputy led him out of the courtroom, Koula took a moment to sit down and bury his head in his hands.

The 68-year-old father and 65-year-old mother died instantly of gunshot wounds to the head May 21.

The jury has been deliberating since late Monday afternoon.
Prosecutors said through a circumstantial case that Eric Koula shot his parents, with the motive being money.

The defense said his parents were killed by a professional. Koula’s attorney told the jury there's no forensic evidence linking Koula to the crime, no fingerprints, no DNA, no murder weapon. Prosecutors also say Koula planted a false note and to forged his father’s signature on a check.

Reporter Alyssa Fenske will bring us the latest reaction on the verdict live on WEAU 13 News at 5 and 6.


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