Joshua Frank told police he shot and killed the Klaus family but his confession isn’t admissible in court because RCMP didn’t give him a bathroom break.
Joshua Gregory Frank and Jason Gordon Klaus are on trial in Red Deer Court of Queen’s Bench charged with arson and three counts of first-degree murder in connection with the deaths of Gordon, Sandra and Monica Klaus on Dec. 8, 2013, near Castor.
Justice Eric Macklin said, on Nov. 10, that he has “reasonable doubt” Frank’s statements to police were voluntary.
“Reasonable access to a washroom, like provision of food is a fundamental physical necessity that must be accommodated and arranged by police for interviewees.”
Frank and Klaus were arrested Aug. 15, 2014, and placed in Red Deer RCMP Detachment cells where they were questioned separately over the weekend. During an Aug. 16 police interview, Frank asked five times to use the bathroom but was denied.
It was during this time that Frank tearfully told police he was sexually abused by an adult Jason Klaus for three years starting when he was 14. Frank then confessed he shot the Klaus family but did it at gun point. Police then gave Frank a bathroom break.
“He was questioned on substantive and deeply personal matters and provided previous undisclosed information,” stated Justice Macklin. “He may have concluded from the delay that access to a washroom was contingent on ‘giving something’ to the interviewers or agreeing to their leading questions.
“He may have chosen to speak and offered statements in response to sometimes leading questions, simply in order to allow him to get to the washroom as soon as possible.”
Justice Macklin took two days to reach his decision. He said it wasn’t so much the number of times that Frank asked to use the bathroom but rather the length of time he was forced to wait.
“A two-hour wait is a long time for anybody to wait to go to the bathroom,” he said.
Justice Macklin also ruled statements Frank made Aug. 17 weren’t admissible.
Warning: Graphic content
Frank reveals Jason Klaus sexually abused him
A sobbing and inconsolable Joshua Frank was seen in police videos as he revealed how Jason Klaus sexually abused him and got him hooked on cocaine when he was only 14 and Klaus was 24.
“I’m just trying to bury it like it never happened,” said Frank.
“Was he forceful?” asked an officer.
“Very,” said Frank who explained that in one incident, after he refused to do what Klaus wanted, Klaus “beat the sh**” out of him.
“I think I was just 14 then,” said Frank. “I tell you I wanted to die every day since. I still do though.
“Please, I really don’t want anybody to find that out,” pleaded Frank to the officers. “Not my family, not anybody.”
While this 2014 police video played in court, Joshua Frank sat in the prisoner’s box, sobbing. Jason Klaus, however, had a smirk on his face throughout. Justice Macklin called a short recess to give Frank time to stop crying.
Previous versions of murders
Before confessing to shooting the Klaus family, Frank told police he drove Jason Klaus’s suburban and that Jason Klaus did the killings.
Frank said after Klaus ditched the pick up truck near the Battle River and got into the suburban for the drive back to Castor, that he had “a weird feeling” during the drive with Klaus.
“It was almost like I was sitting by the devil himself,” said Frank. “His eyes were beyond glassy. It was almost like he looked right through me instead of at me. It was pretty scary.”