Koula continues his testimony - WXOW News 19 La Crosse, WI – News, Weather and Sports |

Defense Witness Calls Koula Killings Work of Professional

Posted: Updated: June 19, 2012 03:37 PM CDT
Eric Koula testifying in his homicide trial as prosecutors question him about the deaths of his parents. Eric Koula testifying in his homicide trial as prosecutors question him about the deaths of his parents.

LA CROSSE, Wisconsin (WXOW) – Eric Koula took the stand for the second day in a row in his double homicide trial Tuesday, with prosecutors again attempting to poke holes in his alibi for May 21, 2010 – the night his parents were shot.

Prosecutor Gary Freyberg, of Wisconsin's Department of Justice, also repeatedly accused Koula of killing his parents, Dennis and Merna, in their Barre Mills home.

"It's one thing to shoot someone; it's another to go back three days later and see their decomposing bodies, isn't it?" Freyberg said.  

"I didn't shoot anybody," Koula responded from the witness stand.

Koula's defense team argued the shootings were the work of a professional assassin, with former FBI Scientist William Tobin testifying both Dennis and Merna were shot up close and personal, through the head, with a .22 caliber gun.

Tobin called that the "weapon of choice" for many paid killings.    

"It's low cost, so for those up and close personal hits where you want to dispose of the weapon it doesn't hurt you in the pocketbook as bad," Tobin said.

"It also has a lower acoustic profile," he added, "or sound volume, so you effect assassinations or hits without detection easier."  

But the state maintained Koula is responsible for both homicides, accusing him of killing his parents in order to inherit part of their estate.  

"You couldn't believe you got caught, could you? You thought you were smarter than everybody," Freyberg said.

"I'm not smarter than everybody," Koula responded.

"You thought you were smarter than the cops, didn't you?" Freyberg countered.  

"No I did not," said Koula.

Among the prosecution's pieces of evidence against Koula is a $50-thousand check.  

It's made out to Eric and signed by Dennis, but Koula admitted on the stand this week he signed Dennis's name. 

He testified that he did so with his father's permission, after Dennis gave him a blank check on Thursday May 20, 2010 and told him to fill it out. 

But Koula did not deposit the check until Saturday the 22 – one day after Dennis was shot – despite testifying he drove by his bank three times the day of the homicides.  

Freyberg said Tuesday that was because Koula fabricated the story – instead retrieving the check on Friday after his parents were dead.

"You had money problems, you'd bounced a check that morning, you had a $50-thousand check and you drove by your bank three times," Freyberg said to Koula, "but you didn't deposit it ."

"No I didn't," Koula said.

"Because you didn't have it?" asked Freyberg.

"The check was at home," Koula said.


LA CROSSE, Wisconsin (WXOW) - Eric Koula spend another day on the stand in his double homicide trial.

Among the prosecution's biggest pieces of evidence against Koula is a threatening note which Koula admitted during his trial he sent to himself.

Koula reported the note to police exactly one week after his parents were killed.

Back on May 28, 2010, he told officers he found it in his mailbox.  It simply read, "Fixed You"

Squad car video shown in court shows Koula reacting when police responded to Koula's home.

In cross examination, prosecutor Gary Freiberg hammered Koula about the note and this video, saying Koula lied to police about writing the note, then lied again by ramping up the theatrics upon finding it.

Koula previously testified he wrote the note because he was afraid his son was becoming a suspect in the investigations.  He said that fear arose after police interviewed his son for almost an hour the day before he dropped the note in his mailbox.

Prosecutors countered that police stated that Koula's son was laughing and joking around with them in that interview.  Prosecutor Freiberg today accused Koula of planting the evidence not to protect his son, but himself.  Koula said that wasn't the case.

Tuesday afternoon, the defense presented a metallurgist William A. Tobin.  He testified that the murders of Dennis and Merna Koula were the work of a professional hitman.  This hitman, according to Tobin, probably used a handgun. 

Pete Zervakis will have more on today's testimony on Live at Five and the 6pm Report.


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