Sentencing postponed in Castor triple homicide

Jason Klaus and Josh Frank will appear in court again Feb. 14th

Justice Eric Macklin will deliver his sentence in the Castor-area triple homicide on Feb. 14th after he heard submissions from the crown and defence lawyers.

Macklin will decide whether Joshua Frank and Jason Klaus should receive concurrent or consecutive sentences after they were both found guilty of three counts of first-degree murder.

The minimum sentence for first-degree murder in Canada is life in prison, without the possibility of parole for 25 years. This means that if they are awarded consecutive sentences, both Frank and Klaus would be sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole for 75 years.

Following the sentence hearing, Frank and Klaus both had the opportunity to address the court.

Klaus said it will always be with him what happened that night, and he said committing suicide was at one point something he considered.

He did maintain his innocence saying, “I did not kill my family and the little involvement I did have I will regret for the rest of my life.”

In a short verbal message, Frank apologized to the Klaus family for their pain and loss and apologized to his own family for the pain they had to endure.

Crown Prosecutor Douglas Taylor argued during sentencing proceedings that consecutive sentences would give particular weight to each of the three victims.

Taylor gave more than two dozen aggravating factors which encourages the use of a maximum sentence in this case. He paid particular attention to the fact that three innocent victims were murdered; that the Klaus family farm house was burned down to hide evidence of the crime; and that both Klaus and Frank misled the RCMP during the investigation.

The Crown also requested that both perpetrators must provide a DNA sample, be prohibited from owning firearms or weapons and that a no contact order be put in place for those named.

Allan Fay, defence lawyer for Klaus, urged the court to impose concurrent sentences rather than consecutive.

He argued that prior to the murders, Klaus had no criminal record and was an active member of the Castor community — including his time volunteering with the Elks Club.

Fay also argued that other triple homicides in the jurisdiction, namely the Derek Saretzky case and the Douglas Garland case, were more “gruesome” and the “stark horror” of those cases are absent in this one. Both Saretzky and Garland received the maximum life sentence without the possibility of parole for 75 years.

He also noted given that Klaus is 42-years-old, a 75-year without parole life sentence would mean he would likely die in prison.

Andrea Urquhart, defence lawyer for Frank, argued a life sentence without parole for 75 years would negate any chance of rehabilitation for her client.

She said rehabilitation is a “fundamental aspect of Canadian society” and that it is an “emphasis of our criminal justice system”.

Klaus was originally 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.

Co-accused Frank had also originally been charged with three counts of first-degree murder in relation to the deaths.

The remains of Gordon and Monica Klaus were found in what was left of a burnt-out house in Castor on Dec. 8th, 2013. The body of Sandra Klaus hasn’t been found because police believe her remains were consumed by the fire.

Justice Macklin will deliver his sentence on Feb. 14th at 2 p.m.

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