Crown appeals sentences in case where bodies were found in burned farmhouse
CALGARY — The Crown is appealing sentences handed to two Alberta men convicted of murdering a family whose bodies were found in the charred remains of their home.
Notice of the appeals, filed Monday in Calgary, claim the sentences for Jason Klaus and Joshua Frank of life in prison with no chance of parole for 25 years were “demonstrably unfit.”
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 bodies of Klaus’s father, Gordon, and sister, Monica, were found in their burned-out farmhouse in central Alberta in December 2013.
His mother Sandra’s body was never found but police believe she also died in the house.
In January, Justice Eric Macklin convicted both Klaus and Frank on three counts of first-degree murder, saying each had played a crucial role in executing the plan.
There are provisions in the Criminal Code to have sentences served one after the other for multiple murders, but the judge said details of the case were not particularly uncommon compared with other murders and did not warrant consecutive sentences.
Macklin also ruled that although their crimes were horrific, delaying parole for Klaus and Frank would be “a decision out of the ordinary.”
He also suggested that the two men would have a better chance of rehabilitation if they were not “bereft of hope.”
The appeals, however, argued the judge erred by refusing to give effect to Parliament’s sentencing intent. They state that allowing the men concurrent periods of parole ineligibility is “not proportionate to the gravity of the offence or the moral blameworthiness of the offender.”
Klaus, meanwhile, has already filed a notice of appeal of his conviction and sentence.
During the trial, court heard that Klaus was having problems with his father and offered Frank money to kill the family. Klaus had a cocaine and gambling addiction and forged cheques on his parents account, promising to pay them back.
Frank told police after his arrest that he killed the family because he was scared that Klaus would shoot him if he didn’t.
The Canadian Press