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The prosecution in the Eric Koula murder case says Koula didn't have much money two years ago, but he had a lot of wheels.
Jurors were told on Thursday that Eric Koula owned several vehicles at the time his parents were killed, including two all-terrain vehicles and a snowmobile. Which could lead observers to wonder...if he was short of money, why didn't he try selling some of those vehicles? Defense attorney James Koby posed that question to prosecution witness Mary Jo Werner, who's an accountant. Werner answered that Koula certainly could have sold his possessions to raise money, but he didn't.
Each side presented its own accountant as a witness...with evidence suggesting either that Eric Koula was driven to murder by huge debts, or else that he had lots of money and no reason to want to kill his parents. Today will mark the end of the second week of the trial, which could last another two weeks.
A West Salem man accused of killing his parents for their money was in bad financial shape two years ago, according to an accountant speaking at his trial.
That picture of Eric Koula is in sharp contrast to the defense claim that Eric had lots of money available and very few debts. Today, attorney Jim Koby asked accountant Mary Jo Werner if Eric could have borrowed money against his pickup truck or other vehicles he owned in 2010. Werner says auto loan businesses probably would have turned him down, because of their loan conditions, requiring customers to have a steady paycheck.
Investigators say Koula lost large amounts of money in stock trading, was not working, and was behind on his bills when his parents were murdered. The day after the shootings, Eric cashed a $50,000 check from his father which police think was forged.
The city of La Crosse put one of its prized possessions up for sale several months ago. Now, that prize is back on display.
The former M-T-U trolley was sold to the Lamers Bus Company after a dispute with Washington over how the vehicle was supposed to be used. Lamers and the city have worked out a schedule for sightseeing trolley rides for this year, with tours beginning today.
Regular trolley tours are scheduled on weekends through the summer and early fall. More than 40 private tours also have been booked by the Convention and Visitor Bureau
Plenty of safe places to work in the region. A meat-packing plant in Norwalk doesn't appear to be among them. OSHA has put the smackdown on the VPP Group meat packing facility for what the federal agency is calling a "zero commitment to worker safety and health." The action comes after the December electrocution death of a worker at the plant. OSHA says the worker was sent to work on a leaking water pipe near an electrical box. The fed agency found nearly a dozen violations in the plant, some not having anything to do with the electrocution. OSHA has recommended fines of nearly 190 thousand dollars to VPP.
Last summer, the threat of a federal government shutdown lingered for several weeks.
What are the chances of that happening again this year? Not as severe, says Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar. Speaking in Winona this week, she said that other leaders in Washington don't want to come that close to a crisis again.
Klobuchar voted last year to support a debt limit increase to keep the government from going into default. Republicans who have run against Klobuchar in this year's Senate race have criticized how Washington handled its economic problems.