A Castor man convicted of killing his entire family is appealing his conviction and sentence.
Calgary Court of Appeal confirmed that Jason Klaus had filed notice of appeal on Jan. 31.
Klaus and an accomplice, Joshua Frank, were each convicted of three counts of first-degree murder on Jan. 10 in Red Deer Court of Queen’s Bench.
Frank has not filed a notice of appeal so far.
Following a six-week trial that ended last November, Justice Eric Macklin said he was satisfied beyond any reasonable doubt that Klaus and Frank plotted the murder of Gordon, Sandra and Monica Klaus. He found that Frank shot each of the Klauses as they lay in their beds and then burned down the family farmhouse just outside Castor to cover their tracks on Dec. 8, 2013.
A six week trial ended last November and earlier this month, Justice Eric Macklin sentenced both men to life in prison with no chance of parole for 25 years, the automatic sentence for that crime.
Crown prosecutors had asked that the three murder charges be served consecutively, meaning neither man would be eligible to apply for parole for 75 years.
The judge’s decision to keep parole eligibility at 25 years dismayed relatives and Klaus family supporters, who criticized the judge for not throwing the book at the two killers.
Robert, older brother to Gordon, and his wife Christine Klaus, said on Thursday they are disgusted, but not surprised, that Klaus is appealing. They noted he filed the appeal even before his sentence had been handed down by the judge on Feb. 14.
Christine Klaus said her nephew should never be released.
“He needs to be locked away forever,” she said. “He has no remorse.”
Christine said an open letter they released last week sums up the emotional toll the crimes, trial and sentencing have taken on the family.
They wrote that the sentences gave Klaus and Frank “three murders for the price of one.”
In sentencing, the judge acknowledged the pain family members described in their victim impact statements.
“Each described immeasurable personal loss and emotional scarring as a result of these murders,” said Macklin.
The Klauses appreciated the judge’s sympathy but wrote it doesn’t “relieve the stress and continued grief” family members are still enduring and, now, will continue to endure through the appeal process.