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Motive for murder: Money
Witness statesments, court records reveal sordid plot that killed Jack and Paula Futch
COULTER Alexandria for web
Alex Coulter
     After three years of investigation, hundreds of motions filed, evidence logged and other work leading up to a high-profile murder trial, the last of three defendants waited until the day after his jury was selected to change a "not guilty" plea to guilty.
      The two others pled guilty months ago in a deal to escape the death penalty, which prosecutors were seeking.
      Alexandra Elizabeth Futch Coulter, husband Dustin James Coulter and their friend Jerry James Easters all pled guilty in the stabbing deaths of Alex Coulter's father, Jack Futch, and his wife Paula Futch in their Windmere Drive home Nov. 21, 2005. The stately gray brick mansion remains empty; hauntingly regal as it sits alone on a large tract near Kennedy Pond off Ga. 46.
      Easters did the actual killing; Alex Coulter plotted the murders; and Dustin Coulter drove Easters to the Futch house the night of the murders and later picked him up, according to court records.
      Easters and Alex Coulter entered guilty pleas last summer, accepting sentences of life without parole. Dustin Coulter opted for a jury trial, changing his mind the day after court officials spent a long day, going into after-hours, choosing a jury.
      He was sentenced to life, and will be eligible for parole.
      Boxes upon boxes of paperwork, video and audiotapes, and photographs are stacked on top of each other in prosecutor Scott Brannen's office. Brannen is assistant district attorney with the Ogeechee Judicial Circuit.
      He, along with several local sheriff's investigators, Georgia Bureau of Investigation special agents, witnesses, other district attorney personnel and members of the families of both victims and the accused, waited almost three years to the day for closure.
      Then suddenly, there was no trial.
      Brannen sat in his office Monday, a stack of boxes containing the Futch murder files in a corner. The reams of paperwork appear overwhelming. A thick binder holds tabbed documents, including statements from witnesses, graphic photos of the crime scene, and other information such as a drawing of the Grim Reaper, and a short poem about death and murder by Alex Coulter.
      Court records also include copies of a letter a witness who socialized with the offenders sent to her boyfriend, who happened to be in jail with Jerry Easters - a letter detailing a lifestyle filled with drug abuse, group sex and other sexual perversions.
      The Statesboro Herald filed an open records request with the Ogeechee Judicial Circuit District Attorney's Office in order to review and copy documents in the Futch murder case files.

Admissions of guilt
     The murders of Jack and Paula Futch were planned, but evidence and initial statements made by the three involved didn't match the story Alex Coulter told law enforcement agents who found her after she called 911 - supposedly after she was tied up by the man who ransacked the Futch home and killed the couple.
      Bulloch County Sheriff's investigators and Georgia Bureau of Investigations special agents caught the discrepancies immediately, and the three were arrested the day of the murders.
      An emotional call to 911 set the stage for the investigation. Alexandria Coulter sobbed and sniffled during the minutes-long call, telling a 911 operator her father had blood on him and wasn't breathing. But it was just before deputies arrived at the Futch home - several minutes into the 911 call - when she told the operator she had been tied up and an "intruder" had ransacked the home.
      The Statesboro Herald obtained a recording of the 911 call through an open records request to Bulloch County E-911.
      Ms. Coulter told responding officers she was tied up and struck by the intruder. Later, it was discovered the murders and robbery were staged, and Ms. Coulter had remained on the couch - within sight of her father's bedroom and where she could see him lying in bed - during the entire ordeal, according to court documents.
      Police were waiting at Dustin Coulter's Marvin Avenue home when he and Easters returned from an area around Interstate 16 and Ga. 67, where Easters abandoned the van he stole from the Futch house after the murders. Statesboro Police Det. Sgt. James Winskey was watching when they came home, but after investigators knocked on the door, Coulter and Easters pretended they were asleep all night, court records state.
      In his first written statement, Easters claimed he was sleeping and was "awakened at 9:15 (a.m. Nov. 21) by numerous GBI agents questioning me and my roommate. I didn't find out till about 10:30 a.m. that they were there because Dustin's wife was missing."
      In Coulter's initial written statement he also said he was asleep when "I woke up then to the sound of GBI agents ... was informed that my wife, Alexandra, was missing ..."
      Ms. Coulter was not missing, but with law enforcement agents who were questioning her.
      After investigators continued interrogating the three suspects and their friends, Easters, Dustin Coulter and Alex Coulter were charged with murder.
      In his second written statement, written later that night, Easters said Alex Coulter had asked him about killing Jack Futch.
      "The first time she (Alex) approached me she said she and Paula (Futch) wanted to kill him. She said he had just changed his will so Paula would benefit ... two or three weeks ago she approached me again.  This time she said she wanted Paula and her Dad (dead) ... Alex told me where Paula and her Dad would be sleeping... She wanted to make sure it was on the day that the ... house sitter would not get hurt."
      Easters said in his second statement Alex Coulter called him around 4 a.m. Nov. 21, 2005, and said to "get ready." He said when Dustin picked him up, he talked about how Alex "was talking about killing Paula and her Dad. He knew I was going to do it because Alex told him to come and pick me up to do it."
      In his statement, Easters told how Dustin took him to the Futch house, where he found Alex Coulter "laying on the couch in the living room." He stated she ordered him to unplug a baby monitor, take the phone off the hook, and told him where knives were located.
      "I ask(ed) her which one first. She said Paula because if Jack started screaming she would wake up," he wrote. "I went upstairs stabbed Paula. Alex never left the couch."
      Easters' statement was graphic in his admission of stabbing Paula Futch to death, cutting her throat.
He admitted in the statement he dropped one knife in a box in the Futch garage, and threw the other in a Dumpster near the home. He admitted taking CDs, wine, silverware, movies, guns, bullets and pills, but said he threw most away. "The only thing I kept was the pills."
      Brannen said several items of significant value, including jewelry and guns, were left behind.
Easters continued in the statement, describing how he killed Jack Futch next. "I came out and she (Alex Coulter) ask was it done and she started directing me to where things were... she told me to go through and ransack the house. She stayed on the couch the entire time. After this she told me to tie her hands and feet with the monitor cord."
      Easters stated Ms. Coulter directed him to do several things to make the murders appear to be part of a break-in, and "she said take the knife and push it to her neck. She said slap me. I slapped her. The knife may have not left a mark."
      He described in the statement how he then left the home and called Dustin Coulter to meet him. While telling how he dumped stolen items, and which route he took, Easters made the odd comment: "I was covered head to toe."

Statements from Alex, Dustin Coulter; others
     In a second statement written around 10 p.m. the date of the murders, Dustin Coulter told a bizarre tale about marital problems he and his wife experienced, and how she wanted relationships with other people as well as with him.
      Court documents include written statements by friends and witnesses who knew Easters, Alex Coulter and Dustin Coulter, detailing perverse sexual games and drug abuse, including ecstasy and cocaine.
      In a statement by witness Kathryn Harrison, she wrote about a party held at a house on Lydia Lane where Alex and others "had already consumed an unknown amount of cocaine when I arrived."
      The party was held Nov. 20 - the night before the murders occurred in the early morning of Nov. 21, 2005.
      Harrison wrote in her statement about how several people snorted cocaine, smoked "a laced cigarette" and then marijuana. She stated she rode with Alex Coulter to a store to buy a small cigar to roll a laced blunt.
      Ms. Coulter also joked about snorting cocaine, Harrison wrote. "She talked about her new cocaine habit ... joked that she'll probably have to get a nose job by 25 because the coke will have eaten it away by then."
      She also stated Alex complained about having to leave to go care for her father, saying she had to leave at a certain time so Paula Futch would not be upset by her lateness.
      In her statement, Alex Coulter mentioned how she talked with Easters at the same Lydia Lane house about the planned murders .
      The tenant of that house, Amanda Broward, issued statements that are court record, telling GBI agents how Ms. Coulter "bragged about how much money her parents were worth and how much financial difficulty she was in" and that she was concerned her father was leaving everything to Paula Futch, whom Broward said Alex complained "traveled all the time and left her ... to be a care giver for her father .."
      Dustin Coulter said during times when he and she were trying to maintain their relationship through an "open" marriage, Alex Coulter "began jesting about doing away with her Dad and Paula ... I dismissed them as jokes as part of her dealing with the stress of her job."
      A witness who also made statements to police said Alex Coulter was being paid to care for her father at night. Ms. Coulter also mentioned in statements she cared for her dad at night.
      "She had taken the job to help settle past issues with her and her father,"Dustin Coulter wrote.
      He described how Alex typed messages into a cell phone text screen "and told me she wanted them dead. She wanted them dead that night."
      Coulter described how Alex told him to pick Easters up. He said he left Easters at the Futch home, went to the library, then home until Easters called him asking to be picked up.
      In his statement, Dustin Coulter wrote " ... I honestly did not think he would have gone through with it, even on the way to their house when he has asked me not to hold what he was about to do against him."
      In her one and only written statement, which Alex Coulter wrote at 11:15 p.m., hours after her father and stepmother were stabbed to death, she talked about caring for her father, who suffered from terminal lung cancer.
      She wrote about watching his health condition deteriorate and complained that Paula Futch did not do her share of caring for Jack Futch. "She gets a good night's sleep every night while dad and I do not," she wrote.
      Alex Coulter said her father told her several times before the murders that he was "ready to go."
      She described how Easters suggested "there's always other ways to fix that" when she talked about her father's suffering. "He said he had done some things, fixing other people's problems. I said I didn't want my Dad to suffer."
      Coulter said Easters told her she couldn't have her father killed without killing Paula Futch too, and also said he could not use guns because Paula would hear shots and be awakened.
      "I realized I was driving around talking about having my father killed," she wrote. " I asked him if he was serious and he said he was 'deadly serious' and laughed about that," she wrote.
      She said she awoke in the early morning hours of Nov. 21, 2005 to Easters standing next to her on the couch, and said she thought he killed Jack and Paula Futch while she was asleep, and didn't hear anything. She said he tied her up and began stealing items from the home.
      She described hobbling to the bathroom for the phone and calling 911.
      During the 911 call Ms. Coulter sounds panicked and frightened, speaking in a stressed tone, crying and mumbling unintelligibly. The operator tries to calm her and get information while deputies are on the way, but Alex Coulter sobs and reveals little information aside from her father's cancer, and his being covered in blood.
      Not until deputies arrive and the operator asks whether they can get inside does Ms. Coulter tell the operator she is tied up and the house was ransacked, and that she had encountered someone else in the home.
      Among the stacks of paperwork in the Futch murder case files, Alex Coulter's short poem is found. It reads: "Many a person will need to know/not many will care. The end is near, come and listen every ear./ Screams, shouts, everyone running about/Death. Dying. Ill. Murder./ The time is near ... the time is nearer .... the time is here. Final judgment. 1 ... 2... 3. .. Here we go."

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