RED DEER, Alta. — A central Alberta man admitted to police that he was involved in the deaths of his parents and sister after he heard emotional pleas from family members desperate to learn the truth.
A Red Deer court was told Tuesday that the confession of Jason Klaus came last August after a gruelling day-long interrogation by RCMP investigators.
Court heard Staff Sgt. Mike McCauley laid his final card on the table when he showed Klaus videos from his grandparents and a cousin.
They begged him to be a hero and tell the truth about what happened at the Klaus home near Castor, Alta., in December 2013.
Klaus then shared his account of what took place the night Gordon and Sandra Klaus and their daughter Monica were shot and killed and their house burned down.
Klaus said he was not at the house when the murders happened, but waited at the end of the driveway after giving co-accused Joshua Frank a ride.
“Tell the truth what happened,” Klaus's grandparents had begged in the video. "Do it for us ... only you can tell us.”
A cousin told Klaus in an even more emotional video that he had always been a role model.
“Growing up you were my hero ... everything I wanted to be,” the cousin said to Jason.
“I need you to be my hero again and be that guy I know you are and wanted you to be. We all need to know why.”
Court heard that Klaus told McCauley that the original intent that night was to break in and steal a trophy deer rack from the living room. Things evolved to the point where Frank offered to kill the family, Klaus said.
“I didn’t flat out ask him, but he offered to take care of things,” Klaus told McCauley.
Klaus said he tried to back out at the last minute, but it was already too late. Frank had already lit the house on fire after shooting the three victims.
“What was in it for him?” McCauley asked.
“Some cash down the road,” replied Klaus, who explained he’d promised to pay Frank $20,000 to $25,000.
The interrogation ended with Klaus crying and expressing regret over what happened.
“I’m not a bad guy, Mike. I’m not,” he sobbed. “My family meant the world to me.”
Justice Eric Macklin ruled on Tuesday that the Klaus statements to police were given voluntarily and are admissible as evidence.
A second voir dire is to he held regarding admissibility of statements made by Frank.
(RD News Now)