Seven weeks is set aside for jury selection and a trial in Red Deer Court of Queen’s Bench in late 2017 for co-accused Jason Gordon Klaus, 41, and Joshua Gregory Frank, 31, on three first-degree murder and arson charges.
Frank and Klaus were arraigned in Red Deer Court of Queen’s Bench April 4. The court has Oct. 10 to Nov. 24, 2017, booked for jury selection and trial. They both elected to be tried by judge and jury. Jury selection starts on Oct. 10.
The two men 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, in a fatal fire at a farmyard east of Castor. In February 2014 police announced that the three victims were targeted and called it a triple homicide.
Klaus and Frank were arrested August 2014 and charged with triple homicide. Police said Frank is a friend and associate of Jason Klaus. But since their arrest, Klaus and Frank must be kept apart at the remand centre because of a security risk.
“It is my understanding that my client and his co-accused 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,” Jason Klaus’ defence lawyer Allan Fay of Calgary, previously said in an interview.
“The usual reason is that there is hostility between the individuals, which might lead to confrontation,” he added.
A preliminary hearing was held last month to see if there’s enough evidence for Joshua Frank and Jason Klaus to stand trial on three counts of first-degree murder. After the hearing the two were ordered to stand trial.
In a phone interview with Klaus from the remand centre after the preliminary hearing in March, Klaus said the preliminary hearing answered a lot of questions he had. There is a ban on publication on the evidence presented at the preliminary hearing. Klaus added that the crown doesn’t have to give a lot of evidence for the case to go to trial and added that he hopes to get bail.
Frank and Klaus were arrested after a dive team from RCMP’s E Division in B.C. retrieved what police call a “key” piece of evidence from the Battle River near Big Knife Provincial Park on July 27, 2014.
The Castor Fire Department was called to the Klaus family farmyard Dec. 8, 2013, about 7 a.m. The remains of Gordon and Monica were identified in the ashes of the fire and police believe Sandra died there as well. The family dog was found shot in the farmyard with a gunshot wound.