Brady Flett says he knew within days of the deaths of an Alberta couple and their daughter that the supposedly grief-stricken son was involved somehow.
Flett, though, did not see Jason Klaus as a killer at first, despite details he kept dropping that pointed to Gordon, Sandra and Monica Klaus having been murdered.
“What I wanted to believe was maybe he owed some bad people a whole lot of money, and they ended up taking out his family for that reason,” said Flett, who was Monica’s boss and friend at Vortex Production Services in Stettler, Alta.
“Never did I want to believe that he would do that.”
The Klauses were shot and killed early on the morning of Dec. 8, 2013. Their farmhouse just outside Castor, Alta., was burned to the ground. The family dog was killed and left in the yard.
Flett was a key witness in the trial of Klaus and his accomplice, Joshua Frank, who were sentenced last month to life in prison. Flett recently discussed his participation in the case with the Red Deer Advocate.
Dead dog raised suspicions
During the trial, court heard that Klaus had a cocaine and gambling addiction and forged cheques on his parents account. He offered Frank money to kill the family. Frank told police he killed them because he was scared Klaus would shoot him if he didn’t.
After a number of disturbing conversations with Klaus, Flett was convinced that he was directly responsible. On Jan. 15, 2014, Flett volunteered to become a police informant and encouraged Klaus to open up.
He went to police after Klaus told him bizarre stories of ghosts providing details of the crime, including the kind of gun used, where it was dumped and the use of aviation fuel to start the fire.
On one occasion, standing with Flett in the debris-filled basement of the remains of his family home, Klaus performed a chilling pantomime. Pointing his finger like a gun, he mimicked how his parents and sister were killed.
“That’s the time where I had no doubt in my mind this was done out of a pile of anger,” Flett said.
From mid-January 2014 to the arrest of Klaus and Frank the following August, every conversation and phone call Flett had with Klaus was secretly recorded by police.
The evidence he gathered built a case against Klaus and led to the RCMP deciding to try to ensnare him in a four-month undercover sting.
Police informant was a lonely role and Flett could not breathe a word until his testimony was completed at the trial, which ran for six weeks last October and November.
It was especially hard on his wife, Norma.
“There were times I’d be gone from 2 o’clock in the afternoon to three in the morning and there was zero communication I could have with her.”
She feared for their own children and five grandchildren. She even looked at moving to another country to get far away from Klaus and Frank.
Flett said he was fully aware of the peril if Klaus had found out his role.
“If you can take out your own family, taking out my family wouldn’t have been a big issue.”
Wife feared killers would walk
His wife’s fears were heightened when lawyers for Klaus and Frank went before a judge last August to ask that their charges be stayed, because the case had taken too long to go to trial. She was terrified the two would walk free.
After 11 tense days, a judge dismissed the applications.
Testifying in court, Flett was asked why he got involved.
“For Monica,” he said.
Flett still thinks about his executive assistant and close friend every day, he said.
A photo of her and her beloved dog, Patches, hangs in Vortex’s lobby.
“Monica sat side by side with me for 10 years,” Flett said.
“There’s nothing I did that Monica didn’t know of and there was nothing that I needed done that Monica didn’t take care of.”