Calgary mass murderer apologizes for stabbing five people at a house party
Published Friday, September 7, 2018 6:47AM MDT Last Updated Saturday, September 8, 2018 12:17PM MDT
Matthew de Grood, the young man who was found not criminally responsible for stabbing five people to death inside a Brentwood home in 2014, told a review board on Friday that he is 'sorry' for his actions and will do anything to make amends.
Zackariah Rathwell, 21, Jordan Segura, 22, Josh Hunter, 23, Kaitlin Perras, 23, and Lawrence Hong, 27, were fatally stabbed at a house party in Brentwood on April 15, 2014.
Matthew de Grood was charged with five counts of first-degree murder in their deaths and was found NCR by a Calgary judge in May 2016 who said he was psychotic at the time of the attacks.
The 27-year-old is being held at the Alberta Forensic Psychiatry Centre and each year the Alberta Review Board holds a hearing to update his progress.
The hearing is at the Calgary Court Centre and is open to the public.
Family members of the victims have attended the review hearings in the past and were in court again on Friday.
Psychiatrist Dr. Sergio Santana is treating de Grood and told the court that there have been no issues with his increased freedoms and that he feels pressured to ‘do the right thing’.
Family members in the courtroom laughed at the comment and were rebuked by the board chair.
Dr. Santana said the dosage used to treat de Grood’s schizophrenia has been increased and that he has responded well.
Dr. Santana went on to say that de Grood is a ‘model patient’ and that his family is participating in his treatment and has been part of his relapse prevention plan.
De Grood is currently allowed supervised ground privileges at the hospital and Dr. Santana is recommending that he be allowed to have one-on-one supervised passes to malls and within the city for medical treatment.
Santana said de Grood’s mental state remains stable and his schizophrenia is in remission.
He says next steps for de Grood are for him to stay in remission and be symptom free so that he can be reintegrated back into society.
Santana said de Grood is ‘not a significant threat in a supervised environment’ but that he would pose a ‘significant risk to public safety’ if he were not on medication and receiving regular treatment and that a relapse could be at a ‘catastrophic’ level.
Dr. Santana said de Grood has been very good about speaking to staff and family members about how he is feeling and that his insight into his illness lowers his risk of violence.
De Grood has access to the Internet but his privileges could be suspended if he shows symptoms of insomnia or irritability.
Santana recommended that de Grood not be transferred to Alberta Hospital in Edmonton and said he is very engaged in the recovery program at the Calgary facility where he is currently being held.
He said it is also best to keep him in Calgary for treatment as being in his hometown and close to his family is beneficial.
On Friday afternoon, the 27-year-old spoke publically for the first time since the murders and told the panel that he cannot forget the pain he's caused the families of his victims.
"I have done a terrible wrong. What happened is a horrendous tragedy [and] I desperately wish it never happened," he told the board. "I am truly sorry for what I've done. I take full responsiblity for my illness."
He also said that he wanted more freedom, but that's a concept that many of the victim's families don't want to see.
After the hearing, members of the victim's families spoke to the media outside the Calgary Court Centre. They said the 'not criminally responsible' designation, which allows reintegration into society without taking into account the gravity of offences, is emblematic of a broken justice system.
"It was made clear that Matthew de Grood's treatment team is moving quickly to advance this process of reintegrating him into society," said Gregg Perras, Kaiti's father, in reading a statement from the familes.
He called on all Albertans to speak out about their outrage on the recommendations for de Grood's freedoms by contacting the Alberta government directly.
"The absolute evil and heinous nature of the crime he committed cannot be overstated and the prospect of this person begin reintegrated into our society is beyond comprehension."
Ronda-Lee Rathwell, the mother of Zackariah, says that de Grood is only sorry for the position that he's in now.
"He's done what he's done. He's sorry that he has to deal with it now. We're the ones that have to live with it. We're the victims and we're trying desperately not to be."
The Alberta Review Board stated that it would have a written decision on de Grood's treatment plan in the coming days.
(With files from Ina Sidhu)