Killer who murdered two men almost 40 years ago in Chippewa County up for parole

Chippewa County (WQOW) – A convicted killer is once again up for parole nearly 40 years after the crime.

Charles Coogan murdered two men in Chippewa Falls in 1979. He killed John Murphy and Gene Donaldson as he robbed Four Corners bar in 1979.

Coogan is a Vietnam Veteran who claimed he had PTSD, and killed the two during a flashback of combat. He fought his conviction unsuccessfully all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court. In 2009, the state denied him parole. Coogan is now 72.

Curtis Folska, now retired, was a captain with the sheriff’s department when it happened. He his undersheriff were the first ones to get to the scene 39 years ago. Folska said he can still remember what it was like walking into the bar, the people inside terrified. “They were frightened when we came in because we had our guns drawn, they didn’t know if we were involved because we were in plain clothes,” Folska said.

Now that Coogan is back up for parole, Folska hopes he doesn’t get it. “It was just cold-blooded what happened,” Folska said. “I mean, these people were doing nothing, they were just having a normal day at the tavern and they hadn’t gone out and started anything, or it wasn’t a dispute between this man that came in and shot these two gentlemen.”

If Coogan is released on parole, it was proposed he would live with his brother and sister-in-law in Green County. That’s according to a letter filed by a probation and parole agent. Coogan’s family would have to agree to remove all guns and alcohol from the home before he could move in.

This was all part of a pre-release investigation, where officials give the parole commission as much information as possible about Coogan’s history and what life would look like if he was released.

That investigation is due May 12, then the parole commission will use it when considering whether to release him. So far, there’s no date set for a parole hearing.

Shannon Satterlee

Shannon Satterlee

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