July 22, 2014 12:00 pm

Accused in Calgary’s worst mass murder will undergo assessment

CALGARY – The young man charged in Calgary’s worst mass murder will undergo another psychiatric evaluation to determine if he can be held not criminally responsible for the murders of five people, earlier this year.

Matthew de Grood, 22, is charged with five counts of first-degree murder after a violent stabbing spree at a house party on Tuesday, April 15th.

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Zackariah Rathwell, 21, Jordan Segura, 22, Josh Hunter, 23, Kaitlin Perras, 23, and Lawrence Hong, 27, were celebrating the end of the school year when they were killed.

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De Grood appeared in court in person on Tuesday for the first time since his arrest.

His defence lawyer requested that the accused be transferred from the Southern Alberta Forensic Psychiatry Centre to an Edmonton hospital to be assessed.

The judge granted the request.

“[de Grood is] nervous, obviously. He’s been in custody for some time since this occured and he will continue to be in custody for sometime,” said defence lawyer Allan Fay. “He’s nervous about the prospect and as he’s treated further I think he becomes more lucid and the impact of what he’s facing really comes home to him.”

It’s expected the evaluation at the Alberta Hospital Edmonton will last 30 days, at which point de Grood will be back in court.

A preliminary inquiry has been scheduled for March 2nd-13th, 2015, when a court will determine if there is enough evidence for de Grood to stand trial.

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De Grood had previously been found fit to stand trial in May.

At the time, his lawyer had argued that de Grood could still be mentally ill.

“Being fit to stand trial only means that he understands the process and he can instruct council,” said Fray. “You can still be very profoundly mentally ill and be fit to stand trial.”

According to the federal government, “an accused who has been deemed fit to stand trial may nevertheless be held not criminally responsible on account of mental disorder where the jury or the judge finds that the accused committed the act but was at the time of the offence suffering from a mental disorder so as to be exempt from criminal responsibility (under section 16(1) of the Criminal Code).”

 

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