Jason Gordon Klaus – charged with killing his sister and parents in 2013 – pointed the finger at his co-accused Joshua Gregory Frank saying Frank killed his family.
“He said he’s the one that murdered my parents and sister,” Klaus said in an Aug. 16, 2014, recorded interview at the Red Deer RCMP detachment, a day after he was arrested in Stettler at his sister’s home. The recording was played during the trial in Red Deer Court of Queen’s Bench that started Oct. 23 and continues through November.
Both Klaus and Frank are charged with three counts of first degree murder and arson in connection with the deaths of Monica Klaus, 40, Gordon Klaus, 61, and Sandra Klaus 62, Dec. 8, 2013.
On the recordings Klaus is heard denying any involvement in the shootings and arson. He claimed he tricked Frank into admitting that he did the killings by telling Frank that he had bush cameras set up around his family’s farmhouse and that there were pictures of Frank.
Klaus said he told Frank he would destroy the evidence if Frank told him where Klaus’ mother was. Her remains weren’t found in the farmhouse but police believe she was consumed by the fire.
Klaus told Staff Sgt. Mike McAuley that he didn’t inform police because he didn’t want to be a “rat.”
“I wanted them just to catch him themselves, instead of me ratting him out.”
Klaus said he believed that Frank stole the gun from him and used it to kill his family. He said that Frank threatened him that he would be next. Klaus also said that Frank tried to extort thousands of dollars from him.
During one of the police recordings Klaus is heard asking, “Will you guys be able to tell if guns are involved” considering that the “fire would have destroyed the evidence?”
During a Jan. 7, 2014, interview at the Stettler RCMP Detachment where Calgary Major Crimes Sgt. Rob Kropp told Klaus that he is a suspect, Klaus said that he’s “not a cold-blooded killer” saying, “I have a conscience. If I shoot a deer and it doesn’t die right away it bugs me.”
Klaus says he sees his deceased sister’s spirit
Klaus told Sgt. Kropp that he has “spirits in my house all the time. Spirits are part of my world.”
Klaus said that his sister Monica’s spirit visited him twice since the Dec. 8, 2013, murders. He said the first time her spirit visited was about two days after she died. He said, “My sister has come to me and said ‘We miss you. We’re all together. We’re safe.’”
Klaus said that his parents were behind Monica when she appeared to him and added that Monica told him “they didn’t feel the fire and that they’re okay.”
“She said I have to stay focused. I have to trust them. I have no idea what that means.”
Klaus told Sgt. Kropp that he was sure Monica’s spirit would come to him again and that next time she would provide clues about who the killer was and he would pass this information to RCMP.
A former wife of an uncle of Jason Klaus told RCMP that Klaus told her in January 2014 that Monica’s spirit told him they were all “at peace.”
“He said they were dead before they were burnt,” said Wendy Barry. “He said ‘mom’s in there.’”
Barry also said that he told her that Monica had to be “shot a second time because she wasn’t dead.”
In a conversation with fire investigator Keith Janes, Klaus started the conversation with Janes by asking him if he believed in spirits. Klaus told him that he knew what had happened.
“He says Monica hears a noise, she sits up, she sees the guy, she says ‘wha wha,’ the guy shoots her in the head.”
Klaus then said that Monica told him the killer is a friend of his and that he took a can of fuel and dumped it on the coal in the basement before lighting it.
“That’s how it happened,” Klaus told the fire investigator.
Klaus told Janes his parents were shot with a gun and that it was a nine millimeter handgun. Janes asked Klaus where is the gun now and Klaus replied, “Monica tells me it’s in the river.”
Klaus later admitted to police that him and Frank had only planned to steal a trophy deer rack from the living room but Frank offered to kill his family. He said he promised to pay Frank about $25,000.
At the end of one police interrogation Klaus cried and said he regretted what happened.
“My family meant the world to me.”
Life on family farm rigid says Klaus
The police recordings reveal that Klaus continually said that his father was demanding.
“Dad was a tough father,” said Klaus. “He was stern and hard. I respect that. Made me who I am today.”
Klaus said he worked seven days a week on the farm and would leave by 7:30 a.m. to make the three-minute drive from his trailer on the property to the family farmhouse and would try not to be late.
Klaus said farm work was first and even the family dog was ruled strictly. The chocolate lab was only allowed inside the house past the porch if it was minus 40 C or colder.
Gordon Klaus was in bad health and about a year and a half before his murder he was diagnosed with blocked arteries. Jason Klaus said he quit his job in Castor so he could work on the farm full time.
The evidence was presented in a voir dire, a trial within a trial to determine the admissibility of the evidence. Justice E. C. Macklin ruled Oct. 30 that Klaus’ statements to police were given voluntarily and thus admissible in court.
The trial continues in Red Deer Court of Queen’s Bench.
by Lisa Joy
ECA Review Reporter