February 18th, 2018

Men who killed Alberta family won’t get parole chance for 25 years

By Bill Graveland, The Canadian Press on February 14, 2018.

Crown persecutor Doug Taylor, centre, leaves court after Joshua Frank and Jason Klaus were pronounced guilty by a judge in Red Deer, Alta., on January 10, 2018. The pair were found guilty of first-degree murder in the shooting deaths of Klaus's parents and sister in a rural home near Castor, Alberta in December 2013. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh

RED DEER, Alta. – An Alberta judge has ruled that two men found guilty of murdering three family members will not have to spend additional time in prison before they can apply for parole.

Jason Klaus, 42, and Joshua Frank, 32, have instead been sentenced to life with no chance of parole for 25 years – which is automatic under the Criminal Code for first-degree murder.

Justice Eric Macklin told court in Red Deer, Alta., on Wednesday that factors in the case were not particularly uncommon compared with other murders and did not warrant consecutive sentences.

He also suggested that the two men would have a better chance of rehabilitation if they were not “bereft of hope.”

Klaus and Frank, sitting in the prisoner’s dock, did not change their expressions as the judge spoke.

The bodies of Klaus’s father and sister were found in their burned-out farmhouse near Castor, Alta., in December 2013. His mother’s body was never found but police believe she also died in the house.

The Crown had argued that the two men deserved the maximum of 75 years without hope of parole for what the prosecution called a “contract killing of sorts.”

The defence said the murders weren’t as gruesome as other cases that resulted in consecutive sentences.

There are provisions in the Criminal Code to have sentences served one after the other for multiple murders. But Macklin said that although their crimes were horrific, delaying parole for Klaus and Frank would be “a decision out of the ordinary.”

The Court of Queen’s Bench justice said there’s a misconception that multiple murderers automatically get out of prison after 25 years. He said chances of that are slim, because the Parole Board of Canada won’t release anyone who is at a risk to reoffend.

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