RED DEER, Alta. — A central Alberta man accused of shooting his parents and sister in the head before the family’s farm house was set ablaze told police investigators it was his co-accused who committed the crime.
Video from a police interview with Jason Klaus following his arrest in August 2014 was played at his first-degree murder trial in Red Deer on Monday.
Klaus, 42, told officers it was Joshua Frank who killed his relatives and he had nothing to do with it but he learned details of the crime from the spirit of his dead sister, who visited him shortly after the killings to tell him who was responsible and how they died.
Frank, 33, is also on trial for first-degree murder in the deaths of Gordon and Sandra Klaus and their daughter, Monica, in December 2013.
In the video, investigators told Klaus he’d given them information about the murders only the killer could have known.
Klaus countered by saying he’d gotten Frank to confess to the killings by telling him bush cameras hidden on the farm caught him in the act.
“He said he was the one who murdered my parents and sister,” Klaus told investigators. “I got that out of him two or three different times.”
Klaus said Frank also told him he’d shot the family dog before entering the house.
“He said the door was open,” Klaus told police. “(He) went into Monica’s room, shot her. Went into my parent’s room, shot them. And then came back and shot (Monica) again.”
Klaus told RCMP that Frank then went to a nearby Quonset for a can of gas before returning to the home and setting it on fire.
“He didn’t say a specific reason,” Klaus said in regards to Frank’s motivation for killing the trio. “We had talked before, just how, you know, he said before he had no trouble killing anybody. It was just hearsay talk though. Booze talk and whatever.”
Klaus claimed Frank then tried to extort money from him after confessing to the murders, saying he would be next if he didn’t pay up.
The remainder of Klaus’ interrogation tape will be played on Tuesday. Justice Eric Macklin, who is hearing the case alone, will then decide if Klaus’ statements were made voluntarily and can be admitted as evidence.
Following that, another voir dire will get underway to determine the admissibility of statements made by Frank.