Alberta men who killed farm family denied new trial

Two killers who murdered an Alberta family will not be allowed a new trial, after a panel of judges made a bench judgment dismissing their appeal.

Jason Klaus and Joshua Frank were convicted on three counts of first-degree murder in January of 2018 for the deaths of Gordon, Sandra and Monica Klaus.

The three victims were the parents and sister of Jason Klaus. 

They were shot to death in 2013 and their bodies were burned in the Klaus home on a farm near Castor, about 140 km east of Red Deer.

In Calgary on Tuesday, defence lawyers argued before a panel of Court of Appeal judges who dismissed the appeal before hearing from prosecutors Sarah Clive and Iwona Kuklicz. 

The judges said written reasons would follow.

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The two men were handed life sentences but their ineligibility for parole was set to be served concurrently at 25 years instead of the consecutive sentences the Crown was seeking, which would have meant they couldn't apply for release until they had served 75 years in prison.

The Crown is appealing the sentences but a date for those arguments has yet to be set.

The crime took place in the early morning of Dec. 8, 2013.

Klaus drove Frank to his home. Frank went inside and shot the three victims, who were in bed at the time. He then poured gasoline in the home and set the house on fire.

Both men confessed to the murders to undercover police officers.

Klaus didn't like the way his family was treating him and he was worried his parents would find out about the money he had been stealing and cheques he had been forging, the prosecution argued.

The family farm would be his after their deaths.

Frank, said the Crown, was motivated by money offered to him by Klaus.