After surprising news comes to light, it’s an old cliché to say “people don’t believe it,” but in the case of the Koula homicides, a lot of people really don’t believe it.
On Sunday authorities arrested 40-year-old Eric Koula and charged him with the cold-blooded murders of his parents, Dennis and Merna Koula. Eric called authorities back in May after, he said, he found their bodies at their La Crosse area home while doing a welfare check.
Eric Koula was in Neillsville over the weekend to play golf in the Neillsville Country Club Invitational. His partner was his brother-in-law, Mark Sydorowiscz. When he says he can’t believe Eric did it, he really means it.
“Just a total shock,” he says, “I still don’t believe he committed the crime they say he did.”
After all, Sydorowiscz says the Koula family was extremely tight. They did things together all the time. Eric Koula was an amazing father.
“Just a great guy. Super, great family man. Loved his parents. They were over there all the time,” he recalls.
“It’s unbelievable, really.”
Even in retrospect, Mark can’t think of anything out of the ordinary with Eric’s behavior over the weekend, except his obvious devastation over his parents’ murders.
“After the first round of golf, we talked about it a little bit. We both got extremely emotional. We both did. It’s just really tough, you know,” Sydorowiscz says. “There’s no way you can fake that, you know?”
“We’ve been playing together for probably six years. There was absolutely nothing different than any other time we played together.”
The Koulas lived in Neillsville for many years, before moving to the La Crosse area in 2000. Merna served on the City Council. Dennis helped run a local pharmacy.