At a Christmas Day 2013 family gathering, accused triple-murderer Jason Klaus had a bizarre story to tell.
Alone for a few minutes with his aunt, Wendy Berry, Klaus asked if she believed in spirits.
“I said, ‘yes,’ ” Berry testified in Red Deer Court of Queen’s Bench Tuesday.
“He proceeded to tell me he was hearing from Monica through text message,” said Berry.
Monica, Klaus’ sister, and their parents, Gordon and Sandra, were killed and the family farmhouse just east of Castor burned to the ground on Dec. 8, 2013.
Klaus, and a friend, Joshua Frank, are on trial facing three counts of first-degree murder.
Berry asked why she didn’t show the messages to the police.
“He said Monica deletes them.”
Klaus then told her what happened the night of the murders, as relayed to him by Monica.
Klaus said a bearded man drove out to the family farm, walked up the laneway, shot the family dog and then gunned down the Klauses one by one.
“Monica was shot first and then Gordon came out of the bedroom and he was shot in the head.
“Monica had to be shot again because she didn’t die from the first shot. She was just paralyzed,” said Berry, breaking into tears on the stand.
Sandra, or Sandy as she was known to her family and friends, was also shot in the head.
Klaus told her the murderer then left and disposed of the murder weapon in a river.
Berry was asked by the Crown prosecutor what Klaus’s demeanor was during their talk in the basement of a relative’s house.
“He seemed a little nervous,” she testified. But there were “no tears.”
He spoke more softly as he told her the family members were now at peace. They were with a sister of Jason’s who died in a farm accident when she was two years old.
Keepsakes of the child’s short life had been burned in the fire, he told her.
“He seemed sad about it.”
Fire investigator Keith Janes was also asked about whether he believed in spirits by Klaus at a meeting at the family farm on Jan. 7, 2014.
Janes had joined an insurance company representative who went to the farm to meet with Klaus.
Janes said he was in the yard when he was approached by Klaus, who told him he had found a mushroomed bullet and a piece of bone in the debris in the basement of the destroyed home.
Klaus then told him he knew what had happened the night of the murders.
Janes asked if he meant he had a theory.
“No, I know what happened” was the reply.
Klaus then asked if he believed in spirits, and Janes said yes.
Klaus then said that his mother, sister and grandmother had appeared together. Klaus said he was then told how the murders had happened.
He described to Janes how Gordon and Sandra were shot. Monica was shot as she sat up in bed but her eyes were still moving said Klaus who demonstrated with a hand gesture. She was shot a second time and killed.
Klaus’s demeanor was non-emotional until he described Monica’s death and there was sniffling and tears.
The spirits told him the murderer was someone he knew well but that Klaus should not do anything about it but focus on the farm.
Janes asked why Klaus didn’t take this information to police.
Klaus said he did not want to end up in jail or a straightjacket. “He insisted people would think he was nuts.”
The trial, which is expected to continue for two more weeks, continues Wednesday.