Who killed Dennis and Merna Koula?
The jury in Eric Koula's case deliberates 20 hours over three days. As Eric braces for the verdict, he acknowledges he played a role in placing himself at the defense table.
"I'm not a killer, did not kill them," he said. "I did two dumb things, yes. I wrote that note. And I said that my father signed the check."
But will the jury see Eric's lies as dumb or devious?
Eric is found guilty of killing both his parents as well as an additional charge of forging his father's name on that $50,000 check.
"I just couldn't believe it. I don't know how they -- arrived at that. You know, hear, 'Guilty, guilty, guilty,' over and over and over from each of 'em ... and I'm like, 'I didn't do it. I didn't do it.' Just reverberates in your head," he said.
"And my heart just stopped for a second there," Cindy Cowell said.
"It's like, 'Wow!' Eight-million thoughts through your head. 'Mom and Dad are dead. Their killer's going to prison, was found guilty. Wait a second. That killer's my brother.'"
Eric's wife, Christine, was dumbfounded.
"Total injustice, absolutely total injustice," she said.
"Have you ever had a moment of doubt?" Van Sant asked.
"None, ever, ever, never, ever, ever, no," she replied.
"I want people to know that this evil, cruel man that they've heard about that killed his parents is not my father. And that he had nothing to do with this, never has, never will," said Eric's son, Dexter.
"He didn't see my parents as parents. He saw them as an ATM machine. And when the ATM machine was out of cash on his debit card, he did the only thing he thought was what he could get away with," said Cindy.
Cindy Cowell also knows that one fateful last act by her mom helped convict her brother by punching a hole in Eric's alibi.
"The fact that when your mother died, she did touch that keyboard. And that told authorities the time of death, at 5:41," Van Sant noted.
"Your mother played a role in his conviction by hitting that key."
"Yeah. She did -- she did. She brought justice for her and Dad," Cindy said in tears.
Two months after the guilty verdict, Eric is back for sentencing. Cindy addresses the court.
"Your Honor, life is not fair. All I can ask for is justice," she said.
Eric also chooses to speak, seeking one last chance to be believed:
"I have been convicted of this crime, Your Honor, that I did not do. I did not kill my mom and dad. ... And I'm gonna go on and continue to fight for my innoc -- and prove that I am innocent to show people that I did not do this. I will not quit. Who is responsible for this is still out there."
Judge Scott Horne hands down Eric's sentence:
"You took the life of the two people who gave you life. And you'll spend the rest of your life incarcerated."
Eric is sentenced to life without the possibility of parole. Cindy Cowell has justice, but little peace.
"It's evil and it's still hard for me to believe that someone who once kissed me on my head when I was a baby could turn around and kill the mother and the father who were responsible for giving them life in the first place," she said.
Eric Koula received nothing from his parents' estate.
His children have filed suit to claim a portion of the money that would have been their father's.
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