Kleman confessed to slaying pastor's child

Ross Edward Kleman confessed to killing the daughter of an Edson, Alta., pastor after he was charged in her 2008 death, according to court documents.
Ross Kleman is led out of the courthouse in Hinton, Alta., on April 26. ((CBC) )
Ross Edward Kleman confessed to killing the daughter of a pastor from Edson, Alta., shortly after he was arrested and charged in her death on Dec. 4, 2008, according to newly released court documents obtained by CBC News.

Kleman, 44, was originally charged with first-degree murder in the teen's death but pleaded guilty on April 26 to a lesser charge of second-degree murder. He will be sentenced this fall.

Emily Stauffer, 14, was killed along a walking path in the Alberta town on the afternoon of Sept. 27, 2008. Witnesses saw a man strangling her with a yellow rope. Her throat was also slashed.

Soon after he confessed, Kleman went to the scene and re-enacted the crime for investigators, the documents say.

The documents also detail how police were able to narrow their search to Kleman in the weeks after Stauffer's murder, and what they found when they searched Kleman's minivan, residence, rental property and work locker.

They do not provide any insight into Kleman's motive for killing the teenager.

RCMP found DNA belonging to Kleman on this homemade garotte. ((RCMP))
According to the previously sealed affidavits, police were able to identify Kleman and seven other persons of interest after receiving more than 400 tips in the weeks after Stauffer was killed.

Kleman voluntarily gave a blood sample to investigators, as did the other seven people.

A match was made on Oct. 31. Only Kleman's DNA matched the sample found on a homemade garrote discovered at the crime scene — which police said was made from a wire with two handles attached each end.

Police also found Kleman was the only one whose alibi for his whereabouts between 1:30 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. on the day Stauffer was slain could not be corroborated.

Hairs that investigators determined likely belonged to Kleman were also found on Stauffer's clothing.

Ex-wife alerted police

Kleman's ex-wife told police she thought he might be guilty, calling him "a mean man, dark, sinister and unpredictable." She also told investigators he stalked a blond woman when they lived in Nova Scotia.

According to court documents, Kleman was first interviewed about Stauffer's slaying on Oct. 16, 2008.

Emily Stauffer was killed on Sept. 27, 2008. ((Canadian Press))
When asked if he had anything to do with Stauffer's death, Kleman replied," No. And I'd never, ever do … I would never hurt a person. That's not in my [sic] to hurt anybody."

Investigators asked why they should believe him, and he responded, "It's just part of my nature. I like helping people, I love people, I wouldn't … it's just … I can't even … I get disturbed when people are fighting never mind that. I … there's no … that's just not part of who I am. That's not my way.

"I'd rather take my own life than hurt somebody else," Kleman added.

The investigator notes the answers contrasted with those given by most of the other persons of interest interviewed by police.

When asked if they killed Stauffer, most answered, "no." When asked why police should believe them, they replied, "Because I am telling the truth."

Police hoped to find the utility knife that was used to kill Stauffer, yellow rope like what they found at the scene, and wire and tools used to make the garrote in their searches of  Kleman's two houses, his vehicle and his locker at work.

According to the documents, they seized a number of retractable knives and box cutters, wire, a box containing yellow rope, wire cutters and pliers. The documents don't indicate what significance these items played in the investigation.

Investigators wanted to search Kleman's computers because they believed he might have used them to learn more about Stauffer. The teen participated in chat rooms and was on Facebook, the document said. It is not clear if they found any connection.

The warrants and affidavits remained sealed at the request of the RCMP until an application was made by CBC and granted by a judge.