Murder of Dennis and Merna Koula by their son Eric Koula investigated on A Time To Kill

Mugshot of Eric Koula
Eric Koula is serving a life sentence for the murder of his parents, Dennis and Merna Koula. Pic credit: La Crosse County Sheriff’s Office

A Time To Kill is examining the murder of Dennis and Merna Koula at their home in Barre Mills, Wisconsin. The older couple were killed by their son, Eric Koula, because he wanted to pocket the inheritance money.

Koula has long insisted he is innocent and continues to maintain that an assassin killed his parents in a case of mistaken identity.

On May 21, 2010, married couple Dennis and Merna Koula were shot dead in their home. The 65-year-old Merna was shot while she was typing on her computer; the cops were able to put an exact time on the shooting because her last keystroke was recorded. The cops believe 68-year-old Dennis was shot about 20 minutes later when he arrived home.

The police were initially confused as to who would want to commit such a crime. It looked like the work of a professional assassin, a hit. A neighbor of the couple, Steve Burgess, came forward to say he had received death threats, leaving the cops to wonder if it was a case of mistaken identity.

This theory gained further traction when it was discovered that typing Burgess’s address into Google Earth caused the Koula house to come up instead.

However, as the investigators delved further into the case, alarm bells began ringing around the couple’s son, Eric Koula. The cops learned that Dennis had spoken about cutting off his children financially. This was a problem for Eric as he was in serious debt at the time. But he did stand to inherit a lot of money if his parents died.

Eric Koula forged a check in his father’s name

The cops later learned that a check for $50,000 had been cashed in Dennis Koula’s name on the day after his murder. They concluded that Eric had forged his father’s name in an effort to get cash as quickly as possible.

Watch the Latest on our YouTube Channel

When asked about his location at the time of the murder Koula said he was grocery shopping at the mall. However, the police obtained surveillance footage from the mall and can see zero sign of him there.

Koula has continuously insisted he is innocent and claims that his parents were the victims of a hitman. He pointed to a note purportedly found in his mailbox that read “fixed you” as evidence that there was a hitman out there. However, he eventually admitted he’d planted the note himself.

Eric Koula was eventually charged with first-degree murder in the double homicide. In June 2012, he was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of release to supervision.

More from A Time To Kill

Follow the links to read about more murderers profiled on A Time To Kill.

James Marrs broke into the home of his neighbor, 66-year-old Sharron Erickson, and sexually assaulted and strangled her to death. The police caught him after DNA from the crime scene matched his profile.

Torey Adamcik and Brian Draper were two twisted teenagers who decided they wanted to kill someone. They chose 16-year-old Cassie Jo Stoddart, who was by herself minding a home for relatives. The killers broke into the house and brutally butchered their so-called school friend.

A Time To Kill airs at 9/8c on Investigation Discovery.

Notify of

1 Comment
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
2 years ago

Your article says the police believe Dennis koula was killed about 29 mins later than his wife. Eric had a receipt timestamped for 6:15 pm from Shopko, if that’s true then Eric did not have enough time to call commit the murders. There’s no way he shot his mom at 5:41 waited 20 mins and shot his father at 6:01 and was checked out at Shopko by 615. Doesn’t add up.

Would love your thoughts, please comment.x