Canada Triple-murder trial begins in Red Deer for man accused of killing parents, sister

21:31  10 october  2017
21:31  10 october  2017 Source:   cbc.ca

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A six-week murder trial is set to begin in Red Deer on Tuesday, almost four years after Gordon, Sandra and Monica Klaus were killed on their family farm near Castor, Alta.

RED DEER , Alta. — A triple - murder trial has been delayed for a central Alberta man accused along with a friend of setting his family’s home on fire and killing his parents and sister . The trial for Jason Klaus on arson and first-degree murder charges was to begin in Red Deer on Tuesday

Triple-murder trial begins in Red Deer for man accused of killing parents, sister © Facebook Triple-murder trial begins in Red Deer for man accused of killing parents, sister

Four years ago, Jason Klaus told CBC News he cried himself to sleep every night.

He had just lost his parents and sister in a house fire, and in an exclusive interview on Christmas Eve 2013, Klaus insisted he had nothing to do with their deaths.

"No, I did not start this fire," he said angrily during a telephone interview. "I had nothing to do with this fire."

"I had nothing to do with killing my parents, if they did get murdered."

The medical examiner ruled in February 2014 that the three deaths were homicides. Klaus was charged months later.

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A six-week murder trial is set to begin in Red Deer on Tuesday, almost four years after Gordon, Sandra and Monica Klaus were killed on their family farm near Castor, Alta.

The triple murder trial for two men accused of killing a couple and their adult daughter was supposed to start in Red Deer on Tuesday. One of the accused is the son and brother of the victims. But before any evidence was called, the judge granted a two-week delay.

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On Tuesday, he will face a judge in Red Deer as his trial on three counts of first-degree murder begins.

A friend and associate named Joshua Frank will be tried at the same time on the same charges.

Frank faces an additional charge of injuring or endangering an animal for shooting and killing the family's dog. The pet's body was found outside the burning house.

It took RCMP more than eight months to lay charges against the two men. At the time, RCMP Insp. Tony Hamori said investigators had reason to believe the killings were planned and premeditated.

Hamori told the media the discovery of a "key piece of evidence" led to the charges. He refused to reveal what was found when dive teams were deployed in July 2014 near Big Knife Provincial Park, 190 kilometres southeast of Edmonton.

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The decision, written by Court of Queen's Bench Justice John Little, was in a response to a pair of defence applications to have the murder charges stayed because of excessive delay.

"Where the allegation is that an accused and his friend killed the family of one of the accused, possibly in a particularly cruel manner," Little wrote, "I must balance the rights of the accused to a trial within a reasonable time against the right of society to have a serious case heard on its merits."

Little also revealed how detailed and complex the trial will be.

In addition to the Mr. Big evidence, Little said the Crown is expected to call at least seven experts to testify about identification, firearms and arson. The judge said the case includes 16,000 pages of disclosure, 47 statements and 187 hours of audio and video.

To make matters more complex, the farmhouse fire that claimed the lives of Gordon, Sandra and Monica Klaus was so intense the remains of Sandra Klaus have never been found.

The judge noted that fact "leads to additional problems of proof for the Crown."

The trial was originally supposed to be heard by a judge and jury. But after Little released his decision on the Jordan applications, lawyers from both sides agreed for the case to be heard by judge alone.

Justice Eric Macklin will preside over the six-week trial.

Klaus and Frank have been in custody since they were charged in the summer of 2014.

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