A La Crosse County judge on Tuesday rejected Eric Koula’s second attempt at a new trial for the 2010 murders of his parents.
Koula, now 47 and representing himself, argued in his motion filed in June that his six trial and appellate attorneys failed him, that he has discovered new evidence, and that another family member had the opportunity and motive to kill his parents. He asked for a hearing to prove his case.
Circuit Judge Scott Horne denied his motion without a hearing, ruling Koula did not provide “sufficient reason” for failing to raise his claims in his earlier attempt at a new trial.
“Koula received an excellent defense — the jury simply chose to give greater weight to the evidence adduced by the state, including Mr. Koula’s deceit at a time when investigators were treating him as a grieving son of two deceased parents,” Horne wrote. “Nothing that Koula proffers as ‘new evidence’ is new.”
Koula, overwhelmed by debt and a failing day-trading career, shot his parents, Dennis and Merna Koula, in their town of Barre house on May 21, 2010, to claim a substantial inheritance. He deposited a forged $50,000 check drawn from their account the day after the killings, and then lied and planted false evidence.
His defense team argued that the Koulas were the unintended victims of a hit man.
Horne sentenced Koula to consecutive life sentences after a marathon trial in 2012.
Koula argued on 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. A state appellate court in October 2015 rejected his appeal and the state Supreme Court later declined to review the case.
District Attorney Tim Gruenke asked the judge to deny Koula’s most recent motion because he failed to raise the claims earlier.
Online exclusive: Top crime stories of the year ... so far
Prosecutors Dec. 28 charged a La Crosse man with striking a drug investigator with his car while trying to escape arrest for selling methamphetamine.
Criminal charges filed Thursday accuse a La Crosse man of abducting an 11-year-old boy on New Year’s Eve.
A woman told authorities a La Crosse man shot by police Dec. 30 was suicidal and not taking his medications to treat anxiety and bipolar disorder, according to court records filed Friday.
Prosecutors Wednesday charged a mother and daughter with 29 crimes each after authorities discovered emaciated dogs, horses and rats living in squalor on their town of Onalaska property.
A former Onalaska police department records specialist was convicted of embezzling about $70,000 Friday after reaching an agreement with prosecutors.
Prosecutors Monday charged a La Crosse woman with homicide for dealing the drugs that killed a man in August.
A judge Wednesday sentenced a La Crosse man who was on community supervision when prosecutors charged him in a September shooting to four years in prison.
Prosecutors Thursday charged a Tomah man with shooting two men and firing at a squad car early Sunday in Tomah.
An Onalaska father admitted Tuesday to inflicting serious injuries to his infant son.
Here's a look at the biggest crime stories in 2016.
A La Crosse man admitted throwing roofing nails into driveways of residents who supported Republican candidates after someone stole his lawn sign supporting a Democratic candidate, according to La Crosse police reports.
A Holmen woman charged with stabbing a man multiple times while high on methamphetamine was sentenced Tuesday to three years on probation.
La Crosse’s assistant police chief is calling on the county’s justice system to hold accountable a high-ranking convicted drug dealer released from prison in March after officers arrested him Tuesday with drugs and a gun.
A La Crosse man placed on probation in 2015 for a violent domestic assault faces new charges that accuse him of battering the same woman.
Christopher Cleaves turned a child into a mother.
A judge Thursday sentenced an Onalaska woman shot while burglarizing a business in the town of Holland to 4½ years in prison.
A Warrens man charged in the November 2015 death of his infant son faces new charges that accuse him of abusing another child.
A La Crosse woman arrested with more than a quarter pound of meth while on supervision for drug dealing was sentenced Friday to four years in prison.
Prosecutors Friday charged a La Crosse man with claiming to be a police officer to intimidate the parents of a teenage girl he is accused of sexually assaulting.
A former Catholic school administrator from La Crosse has been charged with sexually assaulting a teenage boy in Marathon County.
Bryce Anderson killed Kristen Johnson’s spirit long before he took her life.
A La Crosse man was convicted Wednesday of sexually assaulting a teenager.
Chad Parker abused his infant son and then watched him suffer.
Prosecutors Tuesday charged a La Crosse woman with threatening to kill a man the day before she posted a video on social media that led to a shooting on State Street.
Surveillance video captured a man shooting at a La Crosse woman who provoked him early Monday evening with a video posted on social media, according to La Crosse police reports.
Prosecutors on Tuesday charged a La Crosse felon whose arrest was preceded by a seven-hour standoff with police last week with attempted homicide.
A former Onalaska police department records specialist who admitted embezzling about $70,000 will spend three years on probation.
A West Salem man charged with killing his wife and trying to cover up the crime by staging a traffic crash will be tried for her death late this year.
A Viroqua man on felony probation had heroin in his pickup truck when he crashed into a sport-utility vehicle on Monday, killing the driver, according to court records.
A La Crosse man charged with sending nude photographs of his ex-girlfriend to her boss will serve six months on probation.
A La Crosse man turned to his passenger and grabbed a loaded firearm during a traffic stop early Monday as a La Crescent officer approached his car.
A Black River Falls attorney accused of trading cash and legal services for sex has agreed to plead guilty to three misdemeanor charges, avoiding a trial.
A La Crosse County judge granted a new trial to a former Onalaska man serving a life sentence for child exploitation and pornography charges.
A La Crosse man was sentenced to probation and a year in jail Monday for his role in a 2015 home invasion that resulted in attempted homicide charges.
SPARTA — Torry Anderson Sr. committed vile acts against the woman he vowed to protect.
Police arrested an Onalaska man awaiting trial on 2016 charges with more than 12 grams of cocaine and nearly $15,000 cash at his home Tuesday.
Prosecutors have charged the brother of a man killed by La Crosse police earlier this month with threatening to kill two officers.
The last of 17 defendants was sentenced to prison Thursday for his role in a conspiracy to bring hundreds of pounds of high-grade methamphetamine to La Crosse.
Prosecutors charged a La Crosse man Thursday with child abduction and child sex trafficking after police caught him heading to Kenosha on Aug. 8 with a 17-year-old runaway.
La Crosse police identified career felon Roger Burzinski as the armed carjacker fatally shot by officers during a pursuit Sunday on the city’s South Side.
Prosecutors charged a La Crosse woman Wednesday with failing to protect her 9-year-old daughter for nearly three years when she was being sexually abused.
Prosecutors Friday filed a felony charge against a La Crosse grandmother who failed to notify authorities that her 9-year-old granddaughter was being sexually assaulted.