Jason Klaus and Joshua Frank have been handed a life sentence with no eligibility of parole for 25 years.
Justice Eric Macklin had the choice between 25, 50 or 75 years before possibility of parole.
Macklin delivered his sentence in the Castor-area triple homicide Wednesday after he heard submissions from the Crown and defence lawyers last month.
Macklin made it clear that Klaus and Frank would not be released from prison after 25 years automatically and would go through a rigorous parole system which by no means guarantees release — especially for those guilty of a triple-homicide.
Crown Prosecuter Douglas Taylor added just because they can, “Apply at 25 years, doesn’t mean they are going to get parole at 25 years, or ever for that matter.”
Allan Fay, defence lawyer for Klaus, said, “No one should walk away from this thinking that at 25 years, my client will walk out of jail. That will be up to the parole board.
“As Justice Macklin pointed out, there are very few multiple-murderers in Canadian jails who obtain parole at 25 years or very soon thereafter.”
Taylor, who had previously argued for a consecutive life sentence without the eligibility of parole for 75 years, said Justice Macklin’s decision was well-reasoned and extensive. He said he was not disappointed with the choice and that, “Sentencing is the province of the trial judge.
“The Crown made its submissions and we felt our submissions were appropriate. I gave him the ammunition he needed to consider the parole eligibility, whether it be concurrent or consecutive. He heard what we had to say and he clearly echoed what we had to say and he ruled as he did. I accept that.”
Fay said the decision is what he had asked for and was an, “Extremely well thought-out and reasoned decision by Justice Macklin.
“He considered all the factors that were necessary and imposed a sentence which reflected the egregious nature of the acts he found my client guilty of, but yet recognized that everyone is capable of redemption and rehabilitation. He left that possibility open.”
Josh Frank’s defence lawyer Toni Roulston said the choice was a, “Fair decision” and that it was,”Well reasoned and thorough.”
She said their next step is to review the decision and trial transcripts before they make any recommendations to their client.
Roulston did not comment on whether they were seeking to appeal the guilty verdict or the sentence.
The minimum sentence for first-degree murder in Canada is life in prison, without the possibility of parole for 25 years.
This means that if they were awarded consecutive sentences, both Frank and Klaus would have been sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole for 75 years.
Following the sentencing hearing, Marilyn Thomson spoke for the Klaus family thanking several groups including the Castor Fire Department, the RCMP, the Major Crimes Investigation Unit, the undercover officers in the Mr. Big Sting, the Crown prosecutors, Brady Flett, Justice Eric Macklin, courthouse staff and security, Joy Brown, Victim Services, the media and the many family members and friends who helped them since this began.
“Although this does not bring Monica, Sandy and Gordon back, we are very grateful that justice has been served and that we now have the opportunity to move forward with our lives,” Thomson said.
Klaus was originally charged with three counts of first-degree murder and one count of arson in relation to the deaths of his father Gordon Klaus, 61, his mother Sandra Klaus, 62 and his sister Monica Klaus, 40.
Co-accused Frank had also originally been charged with three counts of first-degree murder in relation to the deaths.
The remains of Gordon and Monica Klaus were found in what was left of a burnt-out house in Castor on Dec. 8th, 2013. The body of Sandra Klaus hasn’t been found because police believe her remains were consumed by the fire.