March 12, 2018 7:25 pm

Crown appeals concurrent sentences for men who murdered Alberta family

Photograph of Klaus residence in Castor, Alberta, at the end of the fire

Supplied, RCMP
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The Crown is appealing the sentences given to two men convicted in a triple-murder case in central Alberta.

In February, Jason Klaus, 42, and Joshua Frank, 32, were sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole for 25 years.

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The sentence came after the pair was found guilty of the 2013 deaths of Klaus’ father Gordon, sister Monica and mother Sandra in Castor, Alta.

READ MORE: Alberta men who killed family near Castor won’t get parole chance for 25 years

Life in prison with no chance of parole for 25 years is automatic for first-degree murder, but there are provisions in the Criminal Code that can allow for sentences to be served one after the other for multiple murders.

In the appeals filed Monday, the Crown states the “concurrent periods of parole ineligibility imposed are not proportionate to the gravity of the offence or the moral blameworthiness of the offender.

“The sentence imposed, by reason of the concurrent periods of the parole ineligibility, is demonstrably unfit.”

The Crown said the sentencing judge failed to properly address the principles of deterrence and denunciation as sentencing factors. The judge also failed to properly consider aggravating and mitigating factors, the appeals read.

READ MORE: Lawyer questions credibility of Jason Klaus at central Alberta triple-murder trial

The Crown is seeking “a fit sentence” for both Klaus and Frank.

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 defence said the murders weren’t as gruesome as other cases that resulted in consecutive sentences.

The bodies of Klaus’ father and sister were found in their burned-out farmhouse near Castor in December 2013. His mother’s body was never found but police believe she also died in the house.

In his sentencing decision, Justice Eric Macklin was critical of a section of the Criminal Code that allows for consecutive parole ineligibilities.

READ MORE: Some relatives of Alberta triple murder victims concerned by killers’ sentences

Macklin told court that factors in the case were not particularly uncommon compared with other murders and did not warrant consecutive sentences.

He also suggested that the two men would have a better chance of rehabilitation if they were not “bereft of hope.”

Earlier this month, Klaus filed a notice of appeal of his first-degree murder conviction and sentence.

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