Day 2 testimony in Eric Koula trial - WXOW News 19 La Crosse, WI – News, Weather and Sports |

Day 2 testimony in Eric Koula trial

Posted: Updated: June 6, 2012 12:36 PM CDT
Sgt. John Zimmerman shows the jury the .22 rifle found in the Koula home Sgt. John Zimmerman shows the jury the .22 rifle found in the Koula home

LA CROSSE, Wisconsin (WXOW) - More testimony from investigators in the second day of testimony in the Eric Koula double homicide trial.

Witnesses included La Crosse County Sheriff's Department Sgt. John Zimmerman.  His testimony began with going over the 9-1-1 call that Eric Koula made on May 24, 2010-the day his parents were found dead in their Barre Mills home.

The 9-1-1 call, which was heard Tuesday, was played once again for the jury Wednesday.

Koula showed no visible emotion as he listened to his distressed voice calling in the discovery of his parents.  Both his wife and sister were in the courtroom during this morning's testimony.

Zimmerman and District Attorney Tim Gruenke then went over photos of the Koula home taken during the investigation.   

They then showed the jury a .22 rifle found in a closet in the Koula home.  Both Dennis and Merna Koula were fatally shot with a .22.  Jurors later asked a question of Zimmerman if the rifle had been fired around the time of the murders.  Zimmerman told the jury he could not answer that.

Zimmerman also testified that drawers in the Koula home looked unnaturally pulled out with nothing missing.  He stated that it looked like a "staged burglary"

"The drawers are all pulled out partially," Zimmerman said, "the top drawer further than the rest, which is out of the ordinary."

"A common person wouldn't start at the bottom of a dresser if you were to be looking through it. You'd start at the top and work your way down," he added.

"My sense was from your testimony ... was that it looked like a fake burglary," said defense attorney Keith Belzer.

"That is correct," Zimmerman responded.  

Some of the questions from the defense covered the lack of any dried grout that at the scene.  According to what he told investigators, Koula was helping a friend with tiling until 530pm, shortly before Merna Koula was shot at what was believed to be 5:41pm.

Gruenke said the investigators were not aware that Koula had been tiling when the bodies were found.

"Did anybody know on May 24 to be looking for any tile grout?" Gruenke asked Zimmerman during the latter's testimony.

"No, we did not," Zimmerman replied.

But Belzer quickly responded.

"In your earlier testimony you said you were looking for everything on the floor near Mr. (Dennis) Koula's body, correct?"

"Anything we could observe, yes," Zimmerman said.

"So anything out of the ordinary would have been gathered. True?" Belzer said.

"Correct," Zimmerman responded.

The defense also asked Sgt. Zimmerman if bullets found in the home matched those found in the victims.  He responded that he couldn't determine that since he was not a ballistics expert.

Testimony from Investigator Fritz Leinfelder went over Koula's alibi for the crime.  Koula said he worked until 530pm, went to the Bridgeview Shopko, then Onalaska Shopko, and got home at 630pm. 

Before the lunch break, Leinfelder also went over a video he shot of the Koula home during the investigation.

Testimony will resume this afternoon.

Pete Zervakis will have more from the trial tonight on Live at Five and the 6 and 10pm Reports. 


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