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Appeals court upholds Koula murder conviction

Brad Williams

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Eric Koula’s latest attempt to appeal his murder conviction has fallen short.

A Wisconsin appeals court has upheld a lower court decision not to give Koula a new hearing about his case.

Koula is the West Salem man convicted of murdering his parents at their Barre Mills home in 2010.

He argued that his trial attorneys didn’t properly investigate a theory that his brother-in-law may have been the murderer, or provide evidence against the prosecution charge that Koula had a financial motive to commit the murders.

Prosecutors say Eric killed Dennis and Merna Koula to get his inheritance, after going deeply into debt trading stocks on-line, and after his father reportedly threatened to stop giving money to his children.

Koula claims he was shopping in La Crosse for an anniversary present for his wife at the time of the murders, and did not find his parents’ bodies until three days after they were shot.

At trial, the defense team also argued that Dennis and Merna Koula might have been killed by a hit man who was hired to murder a neighbor but mistakenly went to the wrong house.

A native of Prairie du Chien, Brad graduated from UW - La Crosse and has worked in radio news for more than 30 years, mostly in the La Crosse area. He regularly covers local courts and city and county government. Brad produces the features "Yesterday in La Crosse" and "What's Buried on Brad's Desk." He also writes the website "Triviazoids," which finds odd connections between events that happen on a certain date, and he writes and performs with the local comedy group Heart of La Crosse. Brad been featured on several national TV programs because of his memory skills.

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