Crown persecutor Doug Taylor, centre, leaves court after Joshua Frank and Jason Klaus were pronounced guilty by a judge in Red Deer, Alta., Wednesday, Jan. 10, 2018. The pair were found guilty of first-degree murder in the shooting deaths of Klaus’s parents and sister in a rural home near Castor, Alberta in December 2013. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh

Two men guilty in murders of Alberta family could face 75 years

The pair were found guilty of first-degree murder in the shooting deaths of Klaus’s parents and sister in a rural home near Castor, Alberta

An Alberta judge is expected to hear arguments today that two men who murdered three family members and burned their bodies should spend the rest of their lives in prison without parole.

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

The bodies of Gordon Klaus and his daughter, Monica, were found in their burned-out farmhouse near Castor, Alta., in December 2013. Sandra Klaus was never found, although police believe her body was also in the house.

The victims were Jason Klaus’s father, mother and sister.

Crown prosecutor Doug Taylor said he will be seeking to keep both men behind bars for 75 years before either are eligible to apply for parole.

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.

“Part of the reason that the legislation was enacted was to recognize the value of each individual life in a case like this,” Taylor said after the conviction.

“We feel it’s appropriate to be asking the court to impose consecutive penalties on counts two and three totalling what would be effectively life, no chance of parole, for 75 years.”

Klaus’s lawyer doesn’t think consecutive sentencing should apply.

“I’m hoping to avoid it. From what I have seen of the law where sentences of that kind have been imposed … there have been cases where there are truly horrifying facts not present in this particular case,” said Allan Fay after the verdict was released Jan. 10.

“I’m specifically referring to the Crowsnest triple-murder case that was recently decided in Lethbridge.”

Derek Saretzky was sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole for 75 years last August after being convicted of three counts of first-degree murder for killing two-year-old Hailey Dunbar-Blanchette, her father Terry Blanchette and senior Hanne Meketech in the Crowsnest Pass in 2015.

Consecutive periods of parole ineligibility have also been imposed in Alberta in other triple-murder cases.

Douglas Garland was sentenced last February to life in prison without parole for 75 years for killing Alvin and Kathy Liknes and their five-year-old grandson, Nathan O’Brien, in 2014.

And armoured-car guard Travis Baumgartner was sentenced in September 2013 to life in prison with no chance at parole for 40 years for killing three of his colleagues during a robbery in a mall at the University of Alberta in June 2012.

Klaus and Frank each blamed the other for the killings and both had confessed to an undercover RCMP officer.

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

Bill Graveland, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Pay guarantee removed for some Kootenay on-call paramedics

Guarantee phased out as BCEHS introduces a new “scheduled on call” model

No active confirmed COVID-19 cases in Interior Health: BCCDC

Numbers from the BCCDC’s dashboard show 193 of the 195 COVID-19 cases in the region have recovered

RDEK urges residents to be prepared for emergencies including flooding, wildfire

The East Kootenay region has been placed on a high streamflow advisory

Hosmer Fire Department sends thank you to anonymous gift donor

A handmade wooden plaque was left in front of the Hosmer firehall on May 28

Castle Project seeking public input

The comment period surrounding the expansion closes on June 23

March dental conference key to many of B.C.’s COVID-19 cases

Early infections from China, Iran were quickly contained

Regional District of Kootenay Boundary rescinds all Grand Forks-area evacuation orders

Evacuation alerts for 1,136 Boundary properties remain in effect as officials monitor forecasts

MAP: Dr. Henry reveals which B.C. regions have seen most COVID-19 cases

B.C. health officials release a first look at how the novel coronavirus has reached all corners of the province

Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation woman, 26, fatally shot by police in Edmundston, N.B.

Police were conducting a well-being check at the time of the incident

Seniors to receive up to $500 in promised COVID-19 emergency aid in early July

The Liberal government first promised the extra help in mid-May, but had to create a new system to deliver the aid

Introducing the West Coast Traveller: A voyage of the mind

Top armchair travel content for Alaska, Yukon, BC, Alberta, Washington, Oregon and California!

VIDEO: Revelstoke bear wanders into Animal House pet store

Staff got ready to chase it out with a broom

Nelson counsellor works online with university students in central Asia during pandemic

Robin Higgins is home from her job in Tajikistan because of COVID-19

New study is first full list of species that only exist in Canada

Almost 40 per cent of them are critically imperilled or imperilled and eight are already extinct

Most Read