Trial draws to a close

Trial draws to a close

A six-week triple-murder trial full of twists is drawing to a close.

RCMP Cpl. Joany Paradis who acted as crime scene manager at the Klaus family farm, was the last person to testify Tuesday morning, bringing the evidence portion of the trial to a close.

On Wednesday, defence lawyers for Jason Klaus and Joshua Frank, and Crown prosecutors, will make their final submissions to Red Deer Court of Queen’s Bench Justice Eric Macklin. Submissions are expected to take all day.

Then, Macklin will weigh the evidence and decide whether Frank and Klaus are guilty of three counts of first-degree murder for the deaths of Klaus’ parents, Gordon and Sandra, and his sister Monica in December 2013.

Paradis testified Tuesday that she was involved in marking the location of a frozen red substance found in the snow near the Klaus’ burned-out house on the farm, about 10 km northeast of Castor. The stain was later identified as Jason Klaus’ blood.

A team of three Crown prosecutors have been assigned to the trial. They have accused Klaus and Frank of planning the murders together, with Frank firing the fatal shots on the morning of Dec. 8, 2013. Shortly after, the Klaus farmhouse was burned to the ground in an effort to destroy evidence, the Crown has argued.

Testifying in his own defence, Klaus denied killing his family. He was lying when he told undercover police officers he had arranged the killings. Likewise, a confession given to RCMP after hours of questioning the day following his Aug. 15, 2014, arrest, was false, he testified.

Frank testified a detailed confession he gave a police undercover officer during a four-month RCMP Mr. Big sting in mid-2014 was a lie told to help Klaus establish himself with the supposed criminal organization.

Klaus blamed Frank for the killings and the arson. Klaus testified he did not know what had happened that night until Frank told him several days after the fire.

Frank testified that Klaus was responsible for shooting his family and setting the fire. Frank said he had gone with Klaus hoping to get drugs when they wound up at the family farm. He had no idea that Klaus was going to kill his family, he testified.

Both men said they did not go to police with what they knew because they had each threatened the other with death if they spoke up.

The trial featured lengthy voir dires to establish the admissibility of evidence gathered during interviews with Klaus and Frank in the days after their arrests. Macklin ruled a portion of the interviews with Frank were not admissible because his repeated requests to use the bathroom were ignored for almost two hours.

Voir dires are often described as a trial within a trial to determine the admissibility of evidence.

A second voir dire focused on the Mr. Big evidence gathered from April to July 2014. Aimed at Klaus, the sting operation convinced him he was becoming involved with a criminal organization. Twenty-six different “scenarios” involved Klaus, who had more than 150 hours of contact with undercover officers.

In the 14th scenario, Klaus confessed that he planned the murder of his family but did not pull the trigger. He would later repeat that version of events in a meeting with Mr. Big.


Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Alberta confirmed more than 1,500 COVID-19 cases Sunday

Alberta confirmed 1,584 COVID-19 cases Sunday afternoon. The total active cases went… Continue reading

Hockey Canada logo at an event in Toronto on November 1, 2017. A “non-core member” of Hockey Canada’s National Junior Team staff has tested positive for COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
Hockey Canada staff member tests positive for COVID-19 in Red Deer

A “non-core member” of Hockey Canada’s National Junior Team staff has tested… Continue reading

A man makes his way across an office tower bridge during the COVID-19 pandemic in Toronto, Thursday, Oct. 22, 2020. At least two provinces are reporting new highs for daily COVID-19 infections on Saturday, after the federal government’s latest modelling data showed Canada could see 20,000 cases each day if people keep up their current number of contacts and interactions. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
COVID-19 cases keep surging in Canada as four provinces report new one-day highs

OTTAWA — Four provinces reported new highs for daily COVID-19 infections on… Continue reading

Minister of International Trade Mary Ng watches pre-recorded footage from an earlier videoconference that she participated in with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson and International Trade Secretary Liz Truss, during a news conference on the Canada-United Kingdom Trade Continuity Agreement in Ottawa, on Saturday, Nov. 21, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang
Canada, Britain ink new trade deal, beating Brexit, incorporating expiring EU pact

OTTAWA — Canada and Britain struck a new trade deal on Saturday,… Continue reading

Lynn Van Laar, Christmas Wish Breakfast organizing committee chair, said this year’s event was planned outdoors to minimize the risk of COVID. Photo by Mamta Lulla/Advocate staff
Outdoor Christmas Wish Breakfast helps central Alberta families this holiday season

The coronavirus pandemic isn’t going to stop children from having a merry… Continue reading

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau pauses after responding to a question about the holidays during a news conference outside Rideau Cottage in Ottawa, Friday, Nov. 20, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Trudeau joins G20 in promising COVID-19 aid to poor nations, rejecting protectionism

OTTAWA — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau joined leaders from the world’s 20… Continue reading

Justice Minister David Lametti responds to a question during Question Period in the House of Commons, in Ottawa, Thursday, Nov. 19, 2020. The federal bill revising the rules on medically assisted death in Canada has raised the ire of the Canadian Psychiatric Association over the proposed law’s explicit rejection of mental illness as grounds for ending a patient’s life. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Exclusion of mental illness in assisted dying-bill slammed by psychiatrists

OTTAWA — The federal bill revising the rules on medically assisted death… Continue reading

The Quebec flag is seen on the podium as Bloc leader Yves-François Blanchet responds to a question during a news conference Wednesday June 3, 2020 in Ottawa. Perennial anxieties around the state of the French language in Quebec have boiled over in the past week, with politicians seizing on a Liberal MP’s initial brush-off of the issue as evidence of indifference to a crisis. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Angst around French language boils over in Quebec, as politicians warn of ‘decline’

MONTREAL — Perennial anxieties around the state of the French language in… Continue reading

Numuch Keitlah, left, and Jake Thomas, centre, participate in a Coastal Nations search and rescue exercise off the coast of Vancouver Island in this undated handout photo. The recently operational Coastal Nations Coast Guard Auxiliary has more than 50 members from five Indigenous territories who are trained in marine search and rescue. They are on call day and night to respond to emergencies along some of B.C.’s most rugged and remote coastal areas. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, Jordan Wilson *MANDATORY CREDIT*
Canada’s first Indigenous-led coast guard auxiliary patrols B.C.’s rugged coast

VICTORIA — The winds were gusting at 110 kilometres per hour and… Continue reading

Toronto Raptors guard Fred VanVleet has sponsored the VanVleet Court at the BMO Harris Bank Center in Rockford, Ill. (Photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS)
Fred VanVleet signs four-year, US$85-million deal with Toronto Raptors

TORONTO — Fred VanVleet, one of the most coveted players in free… Continue reading

This undated electron microscope image made available by the U.S. National Institutes of Health in February 2020 shows the Novel Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, yellow, emerging from the surface of cells, blue/pink, cultured in the lab. Also known as 2019-nCoV, the virus causes COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, NIAID-RML
‘Hardship is not a new thing:’ Nunavut fights COVID-19 as cases continue to rise

IQALUIT — It has been just over two weeks since Nunavut declared… Continue reading

Pedestrians walk past Pfizer world headquarters in New York on Monday Nov. 9, 2020. Despite recent optimism over reported results from COVID-19 vaccine trials,<br>Two companies, Pfizer and Moderna, have recently announced they're developed COVID-19 vaccines that are 95 per cent effective. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, Bebeto Matthews
A long way from lab bench to bedside: Virus experts urge COVID-19 vaccine caution

Despite recent optimism over reported results from COVID-19 vaccine trials, virologists say… Continue reading

Alberta has 1,910 active cases of COVID-19 as of Wednesday. Red Deer is reporting five active cases, with 108 recovered. (File photo)
After COVID-related transplant delays, 16-year-old N.S. girl gets lung transplant

‘This is the difficult time now of seeing Tahlia in ICU hooked up to 15 IVs and sedated’

Most Read