Klaus trial continues with cross-examination of undercover officers

The Castor-area triple homicide trial continued on Friday

The Castor-area triple homicide trial continued on Friday with a cross-examination of one of the undercover officers involved with the Mr Big sting operation.

The crown entered into a voir dire Thursday morning in regards to the Mr. Big sting to determine the admissibility of statements made by accused Klaus, who was the target of the investigation, and co-accused Frank.

Klaus has been charged with three counts of first-degree murder and one count of arson in relation to the deaths of his father Gordon Klaus, 61, his mother Sandra Klaus, 62 and his sister Monica Klaus, 40.

Frank has also been charged with three counts of first-degree murder in relation to the deaths as well as one count of arson and one count of injuring or endangering an animal in relation to the shooting death of the family dog.

The remains of Gordon and Monica were found in what was left of a burnt-out house in Castor on Dec. 8th, 2013.

The body of Sandra has never been found and during a press conference in Calgary in 2014, RCMP Insp. Tony Hamori said police believe her remains were consumed by the fire.

On Thursday, the undercover RCMP officer, who cannot be named due to a publication ban, told court details of 26 scenarios used in the Mr. Big sting which took place from April 1st, 2014 to July 21st, 2014.

“The purpose was to find out if Jason Klaus had any knowledge about the homicides,” said an officer in Thursday’s testimony, whose role in the operation is known as a ‘cover’ person who develops different ‘scenarios’ within the undercover operation and monitors the scenarios by listening to them live as they play out. “He was targeted due to suspicions and evidence that the homicide unit came up with.”

In the Mr Big. sting scenarios, the officer testifying on Thursday said Jason was led to believe he was working for a supposed criminal organization. Over the course of the Mr. Big sting, Jason was given $12,430 for various reasons, with the bulk coming from rent after he allowed the organization to store vehicles and other recreational equipment on the Klaus farm.

The undercover officer testifying on Friday, who was involved in the sting, said it was important for the officers to establish, “Honesty and loyalty”, as the central theme of the criminal organization. This, according to the officer in cross-examination, was designed to eventually have Jason reveal his alleged crimes and have him be honest about it.

To establish this trust, the officer who testified on Friday said that in one scenario during the Mr. Big sting, the development of personal relationships was key with Jason. The officer told the story of how a fight with an ex-girlfriend ensued over drugs and how the officer had ‘killed’ her by strangling her. The officer then alluded that the criminal organization made the crime disappear.

In another scenario, the officer testified they had become aware that Jason was suspicious that they were police officers. The officers decided to show Jason a scene of beaten woman in a trunk of a vehicle. The officers wanted to convey to Jason that the organization was capable of extreme violence.

They also wanted to convince Jason the woman was convinced to not speak to authorities. This was to establish that they could make problems go away.

The officer also testified about another scenario which involved Jason, Frank and three undercover officers at the Klaus farm. Frank, according to the officer, took them through a reenactment of how the dog was killed.

The trial continues in Red Deer. The crown is expected to wrap up their case today with the defense case beginning on Monday.

todd.vaughan@reddeerexpress.com

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