By Dianne Yaceyko
With files from Lisa Joy
Two men charged in connection with a triple have been ordered to stand trial on first-degree murder and arson charges. They will be arraigned in Red Deer Court of Queen’s Bench on April 4 when a trial date will be set.
Co-accused Jason Gordon Klaus and Joshua Gregory Frank appeared in court March 7, 8 and 9 for a preliminary hearing. A preliminary hearing is held to determine if there’s enough evidence for the accused to stand trial on the charges.
Klaus, 40, and Frank, 31, are charged in connection with the Dec. 8, 2013, deaths of Gordon Klaus, 61, his wife Sandra, 62, and their adult daughter Monica Klaus, 40.
Throughout the first two days of the preliminary hearing, accused Jason Klaus kept his head down and took notes. On the second day of testimony, tears streamed down Klaus’ face during witness testimony. The third day of testimony Klaus looked up more, and around the courtroom. Throughout, Joshua Frank sat very straight in the prisoner’s box.
Members of the Klaus family were noticeably absent from the preliminary hearing, with only one family member attending. About 15 family members and friends of Joshua Frank packed into the courtroom.
The remains of Gordon Klaus and his daughter, Monica Klaus, were found in the burned out farmhouse east of Castor. No remains were found for Sandra Klaus but she is believed to have perished in the fire. The family’s dog was found dead outside from a gunshot.
RCMP announced in February 2014 that the deaths were a homicide and the family was targeted. Jason Klaus and Joshua Frank were arrested Aug. 17, 2014, after a B.C. dive team from RCMP’s E Division retrieved what police call a “key” piece of evidence from the Battle River near Big Knife Provincial Park on July 27, 2014.
Co-accused Jason Klaus and Joshua Frank are being kept apart at the Red Deer Remand Centre because of a security risk and Klaus was moved temporarily to the Edmonton Remand Centre. Klaus’ lawyer, Allan Fay, said the two are considered “incompatibles,” which is a term used within the jail system for individuals who should not have contact with each other for a variety of reasons.
“The usual reason is that there is hostility between the individuals, which might lead to confrontation,” said Fay.
The preliminary hearing was set for Feb. 29 but was postponed until March 7.
“We agreed that, in light of the admissions that myself and counsel for the co-accused were prepared to make for the purpose of the preliminary hearing that two weeks would not be needed,” said Fay.
There is a publication ban on evidence presented at the preliminary hearing.