Koula Trial: Different Bullets Could Have Been Used in Homicides - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Koula Trial: Different Bullets Could Have Been Used in Homicides


Retired state agent John Christopherson returned to the stand Wednesday in the trial of Eric Koula.

The 42-year old Koula is accused of killing his parents, Dennis and Merna Koula, in their Barre Mills home May 21, 2010.

The state alleges Koula's motive was to collect an inheritance and solve his own financial troubles.

Now-retired agent John Christopherson was among the lead investigators on the Koula case, and testified Wednesday about a threatening note left in Eric Koula's mailbox one week after his parents were killed.

The note read "fixed you."  

Koula called police to report it, and officers who responded to his house that day said he looked frail and shaken up over the threat.

Squad car surveillance video shows Koula as unsteady on his feet.

In earlier opening arguments, defense lawyer Jim Koby said Koula wrote the note and dropped into his mailbox himself, because he was nervous about police interviewing his son Dexter.

Koby said Koula was scared that Dexter was becoming a suspect in the homicides, and thus wanted to deflect attention away from him.

But Christopherson, who questioned Dexter that day, said he didn't get that impression.

"The entire conversation wasn't about Dexter?" asked District Attorney Tim Gruenke.

"No," replied Christopherson.  

"Did the defendant seem upset during that interview?" Gruenke replied.

"Not at all," Christopherson said. "He never mentioned any problems with Dexter and did not indicate to us in any way that there was a problem with Dexter and our interviewing of him."

Also on the stand Wednesday morning was a firearms examiner from the state crime lab.

William Newhouse said he analyzed the bullets pulled form the bodies of Dennis and Merna.

Newhouse said both were .22 caliber rounds.

He testified the bullet that killed Dennis was probably a long shot round, while the bullet used in the shooting of Merna could have been either a long or short shot.

A box of .22 short shot round was found in an upstairs closet at the crime scene.

Newhouse also testified he did not perform any tests to check the emission of gunshot residue from the rifle found in that same closet.

He said gun shot residue testing is often done in comparison to GSR patterns left at the scene, or captured in crime scene photographs.

However, since no GSR was found on or near Dennis and Merna at the scene, Newhouse said there was no basis for comparison.

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