Accused in Calgary’s worst mass murder fit to stand trial

CALGARY – The young man charged in Calgary’s worst mass murder has been found fit to stand trial.

Matthew de Grood appeared in court on Thursday for the first time since being ordered to undergo a 30-day assessment in April.

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

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.

The case has been adjourned for two months as de Grood’s lawyer Allan Fay begins to determine the next step in this particular trial.

De Grood appeared via CCTV from the Calgary Remand Centre, but his lawyer says he will be held at the Southern Alberta Forensic Psychiatry Centre.

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“He has been certified under the Mental Health Act,” explains Fay. “The doctors have determined that he needs ongoing treatment, so he’ll remain there until they determine otherwise.

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

Fray says he has visited his client a number of times.

“He’s doing as well as can be expected. He’s obviously worried and apprehensive about what’s happening and what will happen.”

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De Grood’s family has been allowed to visit him.

His father is a senior officer with the Calgary Police Service.

The Crown must decide if they wish to pursue direct indictment, which would send de Grood straight to trial without a preliminary inquiry.

De Grood is scheduled to appear in court again on July 22nd, 2014. His lawyer says he will not be applying for bail any time soon.