NEWS
10/27/2017 13:53 EDT | Updated 10/27/2017 14:00 EDT

Trial hears RCMP told suspect they believed he shot parents, sister in head

RED DEER, Alta. — RCMP told a central Alberta man that they believed his parents and sister were each shot in the head before the family's farm house was set ablaze — and that they believed he did it.

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 today.

The video showed Sgt. Rob Kropp telling Klaus that police had overwhelming evidence that he was responsible for the deaths.

Kropp said one piece of evidence in particular prompted police to start a homicide investigation — the family dog was found shot to death near the burned-out home.

Had it not been for that, Kropp admitted foul play may never have been suspected.

In the interview, Kropp laid out other pieces of evidence police gathered, including a firearm recovered from the Battle River and a jerry can containing gasoline found not far from the charred home.

There were also expended shell casings and the discovery of Klaus's pickup truck abandoned near the river.

Klaus, 42, is charged along with Joshua Frank, 33, who faces an additional charge of cruelty to an animal.

Gordon Klaus and his daughter, Monica, were found in the burned-out home in the Castor area in December 2013. Sandra Klaus was never found, although police believe her body was also in the house.

Court heard that Kropp explained to Klaus that the forensic inspection of the fire lasted a week — "well beyond typical" for a crime scene examination.

"This was a more thorough examination than anything I've seen," Kropp, a 12-year homicide investigator at that point, is heard saying on the video.

Klaus showed little to no emotion in the interview. He mad minimal eye contact while staring at a screen showing pictures of some of the evidence.

The trial is to resume Monday. The Crown expects to finish presenting its evidence early next week after which the defence will have a chance.

The presentations before the judge hearing the trial are part of a voir dire to determine the admissibility of the evidence.

(RD News Now)