Crown and defence say Matthew de Grood not criminally responsible
A judge in the Matthew de Grood quintuple murder trial has yet to render a decision in the case, but the defence and Crown both say that the young man should be found not criminally responsible for his actions.
De Grood, 24, is accused of killing Joshua Hunter, Lawrence Hong, Zackariah Rathwell, Kaiti Perras and Jordan Segura in April of 2014.
He pleaded not guilty to the murders on the first day of the trial and in an agreed statement of facts, admitted to killing all five victims.
During final arguments on Tuesday, Allan Fay, de Grood's lawyer, told the court that there is no doubt that the young man committed the murders, but that his client was "not capable of appreciating his acts were wrong".
He said that de Grood was firmly convinced that his life was in danger and the only way to save himself was to "stab the demons in the heart".
In the Crown's final arguments, prosecutor Neil Wiberg said the stabbings happened quickly and unexpectedly, calling de Grood a "killing machine".
Wiberg agreed with the defence's suggestion that the 24-year-old should be found not criminally responsible.
Last week, three independent experts determined that de Grood was in a psychosis when he fatally stabbed the group of young people as they were celebrating the end of the classes.
Doctors called by the defence say he suffered from schizophrenia, with Dr. Lenka Zedkova saying that he “did not know what he was doing was morally wrong.”
Patrick Baillie, a psychologist with Alberta Health Services says, given his mental health issues, the young man should not be held criminally responsible. “When someone is acting in delusion or hallucination and is essentially not in their right mind, we don’t want to hold that person to the same threshold of criminal responsibility.”
During the trial last week, de Grood said he believed the Illuminati were after him and the world was coming to an end.
He testified that when he was stabbing the five victims, he believed he was killing werewolves, medusas and vampires.
Following hours of interviews with three doctors, all the experts agreed that the young man was not faking and truly was suffering from mental illness.
“The courts should consider Mr. de Grood to be eligible for a defence of being not criminally responsible for his current homicide charges,” said Dr. Andrew Haag, a forensic psychologist with the Alberta Hospital in Edmonton.
If de Grood is found not criminally responsible, or NCR, he will be sent to a secure psychiatric facility to be treated for his illness instead of being sent to jail.
It could take months or even years until the Alberta Review Board determines that de Grood is not a risk to the community at which point he would be released.
It’s not yet known if the Crown will pursue a high risk NCR designation for de Grood, which would ensure that reviews are done every three years instead of on an annual basis.
The judge's decision is expected at 10 a.m. on Wednesday.