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Co-accused in murder of couple and their daughter says he had 'no choice'

November 08, 2017 - 10:51 AM

RED DEER, Alta. - The co-accused in the deaths of a central Alberta couple and their adult daughter says he was blackmailed and threatened into killing the family by the couple's son.

Gordon and Sandra Klaus, along with Monica Klaus, were shot and their farmhouse near Castor, Alta., burned down in December 2013.

Jason Klaus and Joshua Frank each face three counts of first-degree murder.

Court in Red Deer, Alta., heard a recording on Tuesday of a police interview with Frank in August 2014 in which he gave interrogators multiple versions of how the three Klauses died.

The turning point came when investigators asked him if he had ever been abused by Jason Klaus, and he told them of a sexual encounter with Klaus when Frank was 14 years old.

After that, Frank gave investigators an in-depth description of what happened the night the Klaus family was murdered.

"I never told anybody that before, nobody knows," Frank told police about Klaus demanding Frank perform sexual acts. "I just tried to pretend it never happened."

Frank told investigators that after parking a short distance away, Klaus followed him up the driveway, tracing his footsteps to the Klaus family farmhouse before they went inside. Frank said Klaus was stride for stride with him as the events unfolded.

"If I didn't do it, I'd be the first one shot," Frank told police. "I had no choice but to go in there and do what he wanted me to do."

Frank said Klaus led him to his parents' bedroom and turned on the light before Frank shot each of them in the head. He then went in the next room and shot Monica Klaus after she awoke and saw what was happening, Frank said.

Klaus was standing right behind him, armed with a rifle, telling him what to do, Frank told police.

"Jason patted me on the back and said, 'Good job. Go get the gas,'" Frank recalled.

He said in the interview that next thing he did was head to a nearby Quonset for a can of aviator fuel. He said Klaus used a butane barbecue lighter to set the house ablaze.

Frank then told police Klaus shot the family's dog before the two men fled the scene. Frank also said it was him who later threw the murder weapon, a 9-mm handgun, into the Battle River.

The trial before judge alone had already heard that Klaus told police he was not at the house when the murders happened and that Frank "offered to take care of things."

Frank said he went through with the killings because he feared Klaus would kill him if he didn't. He was also scared Frank would tell others about their sexual past, and worried the community would think of him as gay because of it.

The voir dire to determine whether Frank’s statement to police can be admitted as evidence was scheduled to conclude Wednesday.

(RD News Now)

News from © The Canadian Press, 2017
The Canadian Press

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