Men who mur­dered fam­ily el­i­gi­ble for parole in 25 years

Saskatoon StarPhoenix - - CITY + REGION -

An Al­berta judge RED DEER, ALTA. has ruled that two men who mur­dered three fam­ily mem­bers won’t have to spend ex­tra time in prison be­fore they can ap­ply for parole.

Ja­son Klaus, 42, and Joshua Frank, 32, have in­stead been sen­tenced to life with no chance of parole for 25 years — which is au­to­matic un­der the Crim­i­nal Code for first-de­gree mur­der.

Jus­tice Eric Mack­lin told court in Red Deer, Alta., on Wed­nes­day that fac­tors in the case weren’t par­tic­u­larly un­com­mon com­pared with other mur­ders and didn’t war­rant con­sec­u­tive sen­tences.

He also sug­gested that the two men would have a better chance of re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion if they were not “bereft of hope.”

Klaus and Frank, seated in the pris­oner’s dock, didn’t change their ex­pres­sions as the judge spoke.

The bodies of Klaus’s fa­ther and sis­ter were found in their burned­out farm­house near Cas­tor, Alta., in De­cem­ber 2013. His mother’s body was never found but po­lice be­lieve she also died in the house.

The Crown had ar­gued that the two men de­served the max­i­mum of 75 years with­out hope of parole for what the prose­cu­tion called a “con­tract killing of sorts.”

The de­fence said the mur­ders weren’t as grue­some as other cases that re­sulted in con­sec­u­tive sen­tences.

There are pro­vi­sions in the Crim­i­nal Code to have sen­tences served one after the other for mul­ti­ple mur­ders. But Mack­lin said that although their crimes were hor­rific, de­lay­ing parole for Klaus and Frank would be “a de­ci­sion out of the or­di­nary.”

The Court of Queen’s Bench jus­tice said there’s a mis­con­cep­tion that mul­ti­ple mur­der­ers au­to­mat­i­cally get out of prison after 25 years. He said chances of that are slim, be­cause the Parole Board of Canada won’t re­lease any­one who is at a risk to re­of­fend.

Dur­ing the trial, court heard that Klaus was hav­ing prob­lems with his fa­ther and of­fered Frank money to kill the fam­ily. Klaus had a co­caine and gam­bling ad­dic­tion and forged cheques on his par­ents’ ac­count, promis­ing to pay them back.

Frank told po­lice after his ar­rest that he killed the fam­ily be­cause he was scared that Klaus would shoot him if he didn’t.

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