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TMCNet:  Koula to '48 Hours': 'I would never kill anybody'

[February 08, 2013]

Koula to '48 Hours': 'I would never kill anybody'

Feb 08, 2013 (La Crosse Tribune - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) -- Eric Koula continues to maintain his innocence in the 2010 murders of his parents during his exclusive interview Saturday's edition of "48 Hours" on CBS.


"I would never kill anybody for money -- ever," he says.

The episode profiles the two-year investigation and month-long trial that led to Koula's conviction. It airs at 9 p.m.

Speaking publicly for the first time, Koula's wife Christine Koula calls the verdicts "total injustice" and said she understands why her husband wrote the "fixed you" note that claimed to frame him, correspondent Peter Van Sant said.

"He had nothing to do with this," the couple's son, Dexter, says on the segment.

After 20 hours of deliberations, a La Crosse County jury in June found Koula, 42, killed his parents, Dennis and Merna, inside their town of Barre house May 21, 2010, and deposited a forged $50,000 check from their investment account the next day.

The defense argued his parents were the unintended victims of a professional killer targeting a neighbor. Prosecutors argued deep debt and a floundering day trading career drove the West Salem man to kill to claim a substantial inheritance.

"He didn't see my parents as parents, he saw them as an ATM machine," the couple's daughter, Cynthia Cowell said. "And when the ATM machine was out of cash on his debit card, he did the only thing he thought he could get away with." Koula is serving two consecutive life sentences.

Van Sant said Koula showed "great emotion" during their interview.

"Watch the flutter of his eyelids and it says something," Van Sant said. "This is a case in a beautiful small community on the Mississippi River with some of the best people anywhere where a son of privilege committed the worse act imaginable and tried to talk his way out of it." Also featured on the episode are prosecutors, defense attorneys, witnesses and home videos of the Koulas. Staff from "48 Hours" used trial coverage and footage collected during several trips to La Crosse to produce the show.

A sit-down interview with four jurors will be posted online during the show, Van Sant said.

"They saw right through Eric," he said. "Eric's lies got him arrested. Eric's testimony got him convicted." ___ (c)2013 the La Crosse Tribune (La Crosse, Wis.) Visit the La Crosse Tribune (La Crosse, Wis.) at www.lacrossetribune.com Distributed by MCT Information Services

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