His mom’s chilling phone call screaming “they are all dead, they are all dead” will haunt Matthew Thomson for the rest of his life.
“That was the longest phone call of my life but it only a lasted a moment,” Matthew said as he read his victim impact statement to the court and faced his first cousin Jason Klaus, 41, and co-accused Joshua Frank, 32, after they were found guilty in Red Deer Court of Queen’s Bench Jan. 10 of three counts of first degree murder.
Justice Eric Macklin ruled Klaus and Frank were guilty of murdering Gordon Klaus, 61, Sandra Klaus, 62, and their daughter Monica, 40, on Dec. 8, 2013, then setting their farmhouse east of Castor on fire.
Matthew’s voice chocked up when he described his close relationship with his Uncle Gordon, Aunt Sandra and cousin Monica and added, “Some of my most cherished memories were at that farm.”
Matthew told Jason Klaus that he once looked up to him and “cherished the ground he walked on” hoping to someday be half the man he thought Jason Klaus was.
“My dreams of becoming anything like you are gone forever.”
Jason Klaus, while sitting in the prisoner box, didn’t look up at Mathew and kept his head down.
Matthew’s sister Nicole, while reading her emotional victim impact statement, paused, her voice strong and looked directly at Jason Klaus sitting in the prisoner’s box.
“We share DNA but I will never be like you,” said Nicole. “Jason I used to love you and I will always treasure our time together, but who I thought you were died on Dec. 8 and I mourn your loss too.”
Jason Klaus looked up at his cousin and wiped his eyes. Joshua Frank kept his head and eyes downward.
“I have written this letter many times over the years, sometimes angry, sometimes resentful, sometimes heartbroken and sometimes resilient,” said Nicole.
She added that she lived in fear, saying if Jason Klaus could kill his parents and sister he is “capable of anything,” and “as long as you are both alive I will live in fear.”
Jason Klaus wiped his nose and then his eyes.
Nicole said some mornings she wakes up from a dream that they are all still alive and, “the smell of the house lingers on my hair in the morning,” and she momentarily forgets they are all dead.
“For a few seconds when I feel they are only a phone call and drive away, those precious moments, I savour them.”
Nicole said their grandfather Klaus came to Canada from Russia to make something of himself but Jason Klaus has “taken his name and smeared it with blood, greed and lies.”
“You are not worthy of the Klaus name,” she said, adding that she doesn’t want anyone to think the Klaus family (Gordon, Sandra and Monica) were anything like Jason Klaus.
“They are not liars, druggies and thieves and they are not evil. They were complex. They were lovely. They were funny. They were more than just a name, a (news story) tagline for murder.”
Nicole looked straight at Jason Klaus and Joshua Frank and said, “May God have mercy on your disgraceful souls.”
Nicole then looked at Jason Klaus and told him she would never forgive him or Joshua Frank.
“I will never do that. I know my uncle (Gordon Klaus) and he would never forgive you.”
Jason Klaus’s aunt Marilyn Thomson also read a powerful victim impact statement.
Marilyn recounted her horror at watching a police video recording played in court during the trial in November 2017 where her nephew, Jason Klaus, and his co-accused Josh Frank confess to the murders to undercover RCMP officers posing as fake crime bosses.
“I was horrified to hear your confession. It was incredibly overwhelming. I was absolutely devastated to hear it and watch your arrogance, the bragging, the conceit, the ignorance, the cockiness and the sheer happiness of Jason and Josh who were obviously buddies and proud of what they had done. That vision and cold words will never be forgotten by me.”
Marilyn said her nephew and co-accused don’t deserve forgiveness.
“I’m disgusted with both Jason and Josh and my hatred is immeasurable.
“Jason is dead to me (now). The whole family is gone.”
Marilyn’s husband, Barry Thomson, in his victim impact statement looked straight at Jason Klaus and asked him what could motivate someone to murder his immediate family.
“What arrogance to think his needs were greater than theirs.”
Jason Klaus looked up at his uncle and wiped his eyes.
“Can I grant forgiveness,” asked Barry as he looked at Jason Klaus before turning to the judge and saying, “No amount of time will ever be enough for this to happen.”
Jason wiped his eyes and used a Kleenex to blow his nose.
Two victim impact statements by Gordon’s brother Robert Klaus and his wife Christine Klaus, were read to the court by Crown Prosecutor Douglas Taylor.
Robert Klaus said because there were no remains for his sister-in-law Sandra Klaus, they put a portion of both Gordon and Monica’s remains in Sandra’s urn.
“They were a tight family and needed to share a sense of closeness.”