Men who mur­dered fam­ily face 75 years with­out pa­role

Edmonton Journal - - CITY -

RED DEER An Al­berta man con­victed along with a friend of killing his mother, fa­ther and sis­ter de­nied he was a killer Mon­day, but ex­pressed re­morse for the “lit­tle in­volve­ment” he had in their deaths.

Ja­son Klaus, 42, and Joshua Frank, 32, were found guilty ear­lier this month on three charges of first-de­gree mur­der.

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

“I did not kill my fam­ily and the lit­tle in­volve­ment that I did have I will re­gret for the rest of my life,” said Klaus, who choked back tears in a ram­bling apol­ogy dur­ing sen­tenc­ing ar­gu­ments be­fore Jus­tice Eric Mack­lin and a packed court­room.

“I can­not ex­press my sor­row about what has hap­pened to my fam­ily, to your fam­ily. It will al­ways be with me for the rest of my life.

“I won’t ever be able to say how sorry. I made a mis­take that night. I loved my fam­ily.”

Klaus and Frank each blamed the other for the killings of Gor­don Klaus, his wife San­dra Klaus and their daugh­ter Mon­ica Klaus. Both con­fessed to an un­der­cover RCMP of­fi­cer.

Court heard 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 did it be­cause he was scared Klaus would shoot him if he didn’t.

Frank gave a brief apol­ogy to mem­bers of both the Klaus fam­ily and his own.

“I’m truly, truly, truly sorry for your loss and all of the pain you’ve all had to en­dure and will have to en­dure and also to my fam­ily thank you for all the sup­port and all the pain there and the hard­ship you’ve had to en­dure as well,” Frank said.

“I love you guys.”

Life in prison with no chance of pa­role for 25 years is au­to­matic for first-de­gree mur­der, but there are pro­vi­sions in the Crim­i­nal Code to have sen­tences served one af­ter the other for mul­ti­ple mur­ders.

Crown pros­e­cu­tor Doug Tay­lor told the court the two men should spend the rest of their lives — 75 years — in prison with­out a chance of pa­role for in­volve­ment for what he called “a con­tract killing of sorts.”

But the judge ques­tioned why two men should spend more than 25 years in prison be­fore be­ing el­i­gi­ble

I did not kill my fam­ily and the lit­tle in­volve­ment that I did have I will re­gret for the rest of my life.

for pa­role.

“Why are we tak­ing this out of the hands of the pa­role board?” Mack­lin asked. “They’re the gate­keep­ers.”

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