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Wisconsin man to file appeal in 2010 deaths of parents

July 25, 2018

LA CROSSE, Wis. (AP) — A Wisconsin man plans to file a second appeal that argues he isn’t responsible for the deaths of his parents and alleges that he’s uncovered evidence implicating another family member.

The La Crosse Tribune received an advance copy of Eric Koula’s appeal, which is expected to be filed Wednesday. Koula alleged another relative, who the newspaper isn’t identifying, had a financial motive and is unaccounted for during the time authorities believe Dennis and Merna Koula, 68 and 65, respectively, were killed. He said his attorneys failed to pursue the other suspect.

The appeal argues that there isn’t “a shred of evidence suggesting that Mr. Koula was capable of murder.”

Prosecutors argued in 2012 that Eric Koula shot his parents in their Barre home on May 21, 2010 due to being overwhelmed by debt and a failing day-trading career. They alleged he sought to claim a substantial inheritance. Eric Koula is serving two life sentences for the killings.

An analysis by La Crosse police Sgt. Mike Blokhuis found Merna Koula was shot in the evening at the time of her last recorded keystroke on her computer. Dennis Koula was allegedly shot 20 minutes later. Their son was unaccounted for during that time.

Eric Koula called Blokhuis’ analysis and opinion “fatally flawed” and also faulted his attorneys for failing to challenge the findings.

“Had the defense been able to discredit Blokhuis’ analysis and opinion at trial, the state’s case against Koula would have essentially collapsed,” according to the appeal.

Koula’s defense argued that his parents were unintended victims of a hit man.

Koula argued in his first appeal that his trial attorneys failed him with a faulty jury instruction, and that the judge erred when he allowed testimony that supported motive and excluded evidence that supported his innocence. The appeal was rejected in 2015.

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Information from: La Crosse Tribune, http://www.lacrossetribune.com