Canada Jason Klaus, Joshua Frank convicted of first-degree murder in killings of Alberta farm family

22:31  10 january  2018
22:31  10 january  2018 Source:   CBC

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Jason Klaus and Joshua Frank were found guilty of first - degree murder for shooting Klaus ’ parents and sister on a central Alberta farm .

Joshua Frank and Jason Klaus are both charged with three counts of first - degree murder and arson in the deaths of Gordon and Sandra Klaus and their daughter Monica Klaus .

Jason Klaus, Joshua Frank convicted of first-degree murder in killings of Alberta farm family:  © Facebook

Jason Klaus and Joshua Frank have been found guilty of three counts of first-degree murder in the December 2013 deaths of Gordon, Sandra and Monica Klaus.

"Together they planned and carried out the three murders," Court of Queen's Bench Justice Eric Macklin said in his decision, delivered in a packed Red Deer courtroom Wednesday. "Each one played a crucial role in executing the plan."

Macklin said he was satisfied beyond a reasonable doubt that all three victims were shot to death and their bodies were burned in the Klaus home on a farm near Castor, Alta.

Klaus and Frank did not show any reaction when Macklin delivered his decision.

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Klaus is on trial for first - degree murder in the Dec. 8, 2013 killings of his mother, father and sister. His friend and associate, Joshua Frank , is being tried at the same time on the same charges.

Klaus and Joshua Frank are each charged with three counts of first - degree murder in the deaths of Gordon and Sandra Klaus and their daughter Monica Klaus four years ago.

The Crown wants both men to serve life sentences with no chance of parole for 75 years. A sentencing hearing has been set for Jan. 22 in Red Deer.

The court was set to hear victim impact statements Wednesday afternoon.

Judge rejected testimony from both accused

Macklin rejected the testimony of both of the accused and accepted evidence from an undercover operation.

Macklin found that in the early morning of Dec. 8, 2013, Klaus dropped Frank off and Frank went into the home, shot the three victims dead and then poured gasoline in the home before shooting the family dog, Keela, and setting the house on fire.

Frank drove off in a white GMC truck and the two men met at the location where the truck was left. The next day, Frank threw the handgun used in the killings into the Battle River.

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A trial in the triple murders of Gordon, Sandra and Monica Klaus is now focusing on co-accused Joshua Frank . He was interrogated for days after he was arrested in August 2014. Joshua Frank , 32, faces three counts of first - degree murder . (Facebook ). Janice Johnston.

He said Jason Klaus planned the killing and Josh Frank carried it out. Court heard closing arguments in Klaus and Frank ’s triple first - degree murder trial. The pair are accused of killing the Klaus family on Dec.

Frank shot the victims and set the house on fire, Macklin said. "He did this according to this planning and deliberation with Mr. Klaus. Mr. Frank knew exactly what Mr. Klaus expected of him and he carried out the murders in accordance with their plan."

Macklin found that Klaus encouraged Frank to kill the victims, provided him with a handgun and information and paid him for his participation, promising that further payment would come.

During the six-week trial, both accused took the stand in their own defence and pointed the finger of blame at each other for the crime. But the most crucial evidence was presented through secret recordings of undercover RCMP officers talking to both Klaus and Frank.

  • 2 liars and 3 murders: trial wraps up in Red Deer
  • 'Stone cold killer': Video captures Joshua Frank confession

The undercover operation

On April 1, 2014, Mounties launched a so-called Mr. Big sting targeting Klaus that was dubbed Project Kontingent.

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A central Alberta man accused of killing his family told an aunt his dead sister was communicating with him about how she and her parents died. Jason Klaus and Joshua Frank are each charged with three counts of first - degree murder in the deaths of Gordon

The two friends are charged with three counts of first - degree murder in the deaths of Gordon, Sandra and Monica Klaus . According to Klaus , he and Frank came up with a drunken plan to commit insurance fraud by stealing his family 's farm truck.

For four months, Klaus believed he had joined a group of organized criminals that provided him with friendship and easy money.

He repeatedly confessed to his new friends that he had planned the deaths of his parents and sister. He also maintained he had convinced his friend, Joshua Frank, to pull the trigger.

When Frank met "Mr. Big," he corroborated Klaus's story by admitting he shot Gordon, Sandra and Monica Klaus.

On tape, Mr. Big asked, "So would it be safe to say you're a stone-cold killer?"

Without missing a beat, Frank smiled and replied, "I guess."

During closing arguments, prosecutor Douglas Taylor submitted the Crown's theory on motive for the crimes.

"Simply put, Klaus's motive was his disdain for his family and the way in which he was being treated by his parents and sister," Taylor said.

"He was worried his forgery of cheques and theft of money from his parents would lead to him being marginalized and left on his own. With them gone, he could do what he wanted and the family farm would be his."

Regarding the co-accused, Taylor said, "Conversely, Frank's motive was unoriginal, yet pronounced — greed for money, pure and simple. He was an unemployed, destitute drug addict. He saw an opportunity for easy money and he took it."

Klaus and Frank were arrested and charged on Aug. 15, 2014. They have been in custody ever since.

The Red Deer courtroom was packed with the victims' friends and family members for every day of the six-week trial.

They declined comment during the trial, but clearly found much of the graphic evidence and testimony difficult to hear.

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