CALGARY — A man found not criminally responsible for the stabbing deaths of five young people in Calgary is being moved to continue his treatment and start his reintegration into the community.
Matthew de Grood’s lawyer, Allan Fay, said Wednesday the Alberta Review Board has decided to move his client to Alberta Hospital Edmonton where he could be granted supervised day passes. The review board says de Grood could eventually be placed in a halfway house with 24-hour supervision, Fay added.
De Grood, who is now 27, is considered a model patient, Fay said.
“He has embraced every form of therapy and treatment that’s been offered to him. He has excelled in all areas,” Fay said. “He has shown no signs of relapsing.”
De Grood was suffering from a mental disorder when he attacked and killed Zackariah Rathwell, 21; Jordan Segura, 22; Kaitlin Perras, 23; Josh Hunter, 23; and Lawrence Hong, 27, at a house party in April 2014.
De Grood said he heard what he thought was the voice of the devil before the attack and told a psychiatrist that he believed a war was about to begin, signalling the end of the world, when he arrived at the party.
The judge ruled de Grood didn’t understand his actions were wrong. He is on medication for schizophrenia and the review board has heard his symptoms have been in “full remission” since July 2014.
At a review board hearing last month, de Grood said he was “truly sorry for what I’ve done. I pray someday that those who are suffering will find peace.” He told the hearing that he takes relapse prevention seriously and promised to do everything he could to make amends.
Laura Marr, who appeared at the hearing on behalf of the Crown, recommended de Grood’s transfer to Edmonton so he could be “away from this community which is still grieving a profound loss from these offences.”
Parents of the victims told the review board they could never forgive de Grood and after the hearing issued a statement that condemned the possibility de Grood could be granted escorted day passes to malls and other facilities.
“Your children will be at those malls in very close proximity to a multiple murderer,” the statement said.
De Grood should be institutionalized indefinitely because the risk of releasing him into the community is far too great, the families said.
There is no cure for schizophrenia and no guarantee de Grood will continue to take his medication if he is ever unsupervised, they said. There is also no certainty that he will not kill again, they added.
“The absolute evil and heinous nature of the crime he committed can not be overstated and the prospect of this person being reintegrated into our community is beyond comprehension,” they said.
“He needs to be treated fairly, humanely and receive care for his illness, but at no point should he ever be allowed to walk freely as a member of our community. He lost that right when he savagely murdered five amazing young people, a crime that remains unprecedented in our city.”