Wisconsin News

Eric Koula Trial: Day 4

LA CROSSE, Wis.-- Thursday was day four in the trial of Eric Koula, the West Salem man charged with killing his parents over money two years ago.

In court Thursday morning, the jury heard from some of Dennis and Merna Koula's neighbors.

A computer forensics expert also took the stand to talk about the last key strokes on the Koula family's computer. Merna Koula was found fatally shot at that computer.

They also heard from the credit union teller who talked to Eric Koula the day after the shootings when Koula deposited a $50,000 check he says was from his father.

The teller says he seemed less talkative than usual that day. "He was just there to deposit the check. He wasn't there to make conversation. (Prosecutor: Was that unusual?) Usually he would ask what the kids were doing or what was going on for the weekend. So a little bit more conversation," says First Community Credit Union teller Paula Tart.


A topic of debate in the afternoon session was the time of death. Koula found his parent's bodies early Monday morning. Authorities believe they were killed Friday evening.

One of the witnesses called was the forensic pathologist who did the couple's autopsies to discuss when medically the two could have been killed.

"(Prosecutor: Anytime Friday or anytime Saturday, or anytime Thursday?) Right. (Prosecutor: And that's the most specific you can get with any form of medical certainty?) Correct, except we know they were alive on Thursday, so that would be a mistake on my part," says Forensic Pathologist Dr. Lindsey Thomas.

Also called to the stands was one of Dennis' co-workers and friends. Both the prosecution and the defense focused on Dennis' relationship with his two kids, especially regarding money. During her testimony, she said Eric and Dennis were best friends.

The defense says a professional killed the couple, not Eric Koula.

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