Crown prosecutors want convicted triple-murderers Jason Klaus and Joshua Frank to spend the rest of their lives in prison.
Documents were filed with Alberta Court of Appeal this week asking Klaus’ and Frank’s three convictions for first-degree murder be served consecutively, meaning they would not be eligible for parole for 75 years.
That was the position Crown prosecutors took at a sentencing hearing. However, Red Deer Court of Queen’s Bench Justice Eric Macklin ruled that sentence was “unduly harsh” and made the murder sentences concurrent, which would allow Klaus and Frank to be eligible for parole after 25 years.
Both Crown prosecutors and defence lawyers pointed out later parole was still a long shot given the seriousness of the crimes.
Klaus and Frank were convicted of plotting and carrying out the murders of Klaus’ parents Gordon and Sandra and sister Monica in December 2013.
The family dog was also killed, and the family farmhouse just outside Castor burned to the ground to destroy evidence.
The 25-year parole eligibility angered and frustrated many supporters of the murdered family who packed a Red Deer courtroom throughout a six-week trial last fall. Families issued statements critical of the judge.
Word of the Crown’s appeal quickly reached Castor, where it was welcomed Tuesday.
”I think it should be appealed,” said Philip Pals, who knew the Klaus family well. “Gordon and Sandi and Monica, they didn’t get a choice on how long they would be dead.”
Cliff Jordahl, who was best friends with Gordon and Sandra, does not believe Klaus and Frank deserve even a remote chance of getting out of prison.
”It would be nice to see the 75 years. Then it’s done and over with. Everybody can forgive and forget.”
Jordahl’s daughter, Tammy Spady, who grew up with Jason Klaus, also wants to see parole eligibility maxed out.
”I think it’s a blessing the Crown appealed. As far as I’m concerned (the sentences) deserve to be consecutive.
”I think the whole community would feel that way to be honest with you.”
Barrie Kilner agrees consecutive sentences are fit punishment.
”To me, they shouldn’t come out of jail.”
Allowing the possibility of applying for parole after 25 years is “just kicking the can down the road,” he said.
Both Klaus and Frank have also filed the paperwork to appeal their sentences.
Klaus argues the evidence gathered in an RCMP Mr. Big operation should not have been used against him in court. He also says his case took too long to get to trial.