Alberta’s top court to hear sentence appeals of convicted triple murderers Jason Klaus and Joshua Frank

The minimum length of time convicted triple-murderers Joshua Frank and Jason Klaus must serve behind bars before seeking parole will be argued before Alberta’s top court on June 16.

The crown is appealing the judge’s decision to make Klaus and Frank’s three life sentences concurrent, which means they can apply for parole in 25 years. The Crown wants the three life sentences to run consecutively, which would mean Klaus and Frank can’t apply for parole for 75 years.

A three-member panel of Alberta Court of Appeal justices — Peter Martin, Jack Watson and Fran Slatter — will hear arguments from Crown and defence lawyers over the issue of consecutive parole ineligibility for the convicted triple murderers.

Klaus and Frank were convicted on three counts of first-degree murder January 2018 for the deaths of Jason Klaus’ parents Gordon, 61, and Sandra, 62, and his sister Monica Klaus, 40, on a farm near Castor on Dec. 8, 2013.

After a six-week trial in October to November 2017, Klaus and Frank were found guilty Jan. 22, 2018. They were sentenced Feb. 14, 2018, in Red Deer Court of Queen’s Bench by Justice Eric Macklin. Klaus and Frank were given three life sentences to be served concurrently. Justice Eric Macklin said no parole eligibility for 75 years would be unduly long and harsh.

As it stands, both Klaus and Frank can apply for parole in 2039. Their 25-year sentence started the day they were arrested in August 2014.

The Crown’s appeal claims that the sentences for Klaus and Frank of life in prison with no chance of parole for 25 years were “demonstrably unfit.”

The Crown claims Justice Macklin failed to address the principles of deterrence and denunciation as sentencing factors, and failed to consider aggravating and mitigating factors.

Within weeks of the deaths of the Klaus family, RCMP suspected Jason Klaus was involved but they didn’t have enough evidence to charge him so Calgary RCMP Major Crimes conducted an undercover sting operation known as “Mr. Big.”

The four-month undercover operation targeting Klaus- dubbed Project Kontingent – included fancy dinners, golf games and trips to strip clubs and $12,000 in payouts.

RCMP ran Project Kontingent from April to July 2014 and had more than two dozen encounters and involved numerous different scenarios that were designed to convince Klaus he was part of a criminal organization.

RCMP secretly recorded Jason Klaus and Joshua Frank talking about taking police to the location where they discarded the gun used in the murders.

In the videos, (which were played in Red Deer Court of Queen’s Bench during the triple homicide trial November 2017 – January 2018) Joshua Frank thought he was meeting with an organized crime boss but in fact, it was an undercover RCMP officer.

In the videos, (which were played in Red Deer Court of Queen’s Bench during the triple homicide trial November 2017 – January 2018) Joshua Frank thought he was meeting with an organized crime boss, but in fact, it was an undercover RCMP officer. Frank calmly described the night he snuck into the Klaus farmhouse and shot Gordon, Sandra and Monica Klaus.

“Mr. Big” (undercover RCMP officer) asked, “So would it be safe to say you’re a stone-cold killer?”

Frank smiled and replied, “I guess.”

In the undercover RCMP video, Joshua Frank gives a play-by-play account of how he shot and killed the Klaus family at the request of Jason Klaus.

-news@reddeertimes.ca