RED DEER, Alta. — A central Alberta man accused of killing his family told an aunt his dead sister was communicating with him about how she and her parents died.
Jason Klaus and Joshua Frank are each charged with three counts of first-degree murder in the deaths of Gordon, Sandra and Monica Klaus four years ago.
Klaus's aunt, Wendy Berry, testified at his trial in Red Deer Court of Queen's Bench that he told her his sister's spirit was sending him electronic messages with details about the family's murder.
Court has already been told that their farmhouse near Castor, Alta., was engulfed in flames by the time fire crews arrived on Dec. 8, 2013.
The trial has also heard that Klaus told police that Frank shot the victims and set the house on fire.
Berry testified that Klaus outlined to her at a family Christmas gathering that year what his sister had told him from beyond the grave, but he made no mention of the killer's name.
"He proceeded to say he was hearing from Monica through some sort of electronic device," Berry testified Tuesday.
Her nephew told her he didn't take his sister's messages to police because she always deleted them, Berry said. Klaus also told her that the gunman shot the family dog before entering the house.
Berry said Klaus said his sister was shot in the body before his father was shot in the head after he came out from his bedroom.
Monica Klaus was paralyzed but still alive, so the killer shot her in the head before also shooting Sandra Klaus in the head, Klaus told the aunt.
He said the house was set on fire and the gun dumped in the river.
Acknowledging he was already under investigation at that point, Klaus told his aunt that he was "one step ahead" of police thanks to the information he was receiving from his sister's spirit, Berry said.
She said the conversation lasted between 20 and 30 minutes and ended when they were called upstairs at her brother's house for Christmas dinner.
Berry also recalled that Klaus said his sister had told him the three victims were dead before the fire started and were at peace with Lisa, his sister, who died when she was two years old.
Over the next few months, following their Christmas day talk, Berry and Klaus texted each other from time to time but never again discussed the murders, she said.
Earlier Tuesday, Christopher Kerr, a civilian RCMP forensics expert, told court he was able to confirm that the bullet which killed the Klaus's dog was fired from the same 9-mm handgun recovered from the Battle River.
Odd Gunderson, who handles dogs trained to detect fire accelerants and human remains, told court his canine identified 16 locations where remains and/or accelerants were found in and around the Klaus home after the fire.
Justice Eric Macklin, who is hearing the case without a jury, has said the trial needs to be completed by Nov. 27 because defence lawyers are scheduled for other cases. It was originally to last four weeks, but was delayed by 14 days, so Macklin said court will sit longer each day and on Saturdays, if necessary, to meet the deadline.
(RD News Now)
Troy Gillard RD News Now, The Canadian Press
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