Jason Klaus said his friend and co-accused, Joshua Frank, told him he killed Klaus’s family.
“He said he’s the one that murdered my parents and sister,” said Klaus in an interview at Red Deer RCMP detachment with RCMP investigators the day after he was arrested in mid-August 2014.
Klaus, who denied any involvement in the crime, said he tricked Frank into admitting the killings by telling him he had bush cameras set up around his parents’ home that got pictures of Frank.
He told Frank he would destroy the camera if Frank told him where Klaus’s mother Sandra was in a confrontation about a week after the family home was burned down on Dec. 8, 2013.
The remains of his father, Gordon, and sister, Monica, were found in the debris. Sandra’s remains were never found.
“I just wanted to know where my mom was. And then he proceeded to tell me that he did this,” said Klaus in the interview recording played in Red Deer Court of Queen’s Bench on Monday.
Klaus, 41 and Frank, 32, are on trial for three counts of first-degree murder and arson in connection with the deaths of Klaus’s family.
RCMP believe all three were shot in the family farmhouse and then it was burned to the ground to cover up the crime. Frank is also charged with killing the family dog.
RCMP interview expert Sgt. Michael McCauley asked Klaus how he reacted to Frank’s admission.
“I was very upset,” he said, adding that he “actually wanted to hurt him.”
But Frank threatened him, saying if Klaus ratted him out he would be next.
Frank also tried to extort money from him, Klaus told police.
McCauley asked why Klaus did not go to the police with this information.
“I wanted them just to catch him themselves, instead of me ratting him out.”
Klaus said he believed that Frank stole his gun and used it in the killings. It was later recovered from the Battle River.
RCMP interviewed Klaus for hours on the day after his arrest, slowly prying information out of him.
Investigators played some of the interviews they recorded with others in which Klaus shared details of the crime.
Wendy Berry, a former wife of an uncle, told an RCMP investigator that Klaus told her in January 2014 that his murdered sister Monica’s spirit had told him the family was “at peace.”
“He said they were dead before they were burnt. He said mom’s in there,” Berry told police.
Berry said she asked Klaus what else Monica had to say. “And he said Monica had to be shot a second time because she wasn’t dead.”
In another interview, Keith Janes, a fire investigator with Global Forensics, said Klaus opened a conversation by asking if he believed in spirits.
Klaus went on to say he knew what had happened at the farm near Castor.
“He says Monica hears a noise, she sits up, she sees the guy, she says wha wha, the guy shoots her in the head.”
Klaus later described how the killer, whom he said Monica told him was a friend of his, took a can of fuel dumped in on the coal pile used to feed the house’s furnace and spread it around the basement before lighting it.
“And he said that’s how it happened.”
Klaus then told Janes his parents had been shot with a gun.
“I said, what kinda gun,” Janes says in the police interview. “He said a nine-millimetre handgun.”
Janes asked him where the gun was now. “And he says well Monica tells me it’s in the river.”