DISTURBING CONTENT: This story contains descriptions of graphic violence. Discretion is strongly advised.
The court room was packed Tuesday as closing arguments were delivered in the murder trial of Matthew de Grood, accused of stabbing and killing five people at a party in Calgary’s Brentwood neighbourhood.
Scroll down to read a recap of our live blog from reporter Nancy Hixt
The defence opened by saying there is no doubt de Grood killed the five young people, but that what’s in question is his state of mind. Lawyer Allan Fay recapped statements from three independent experts, who all testified de Grood suffered from a psychosis. Fay said de Grood “lacked the ability to know his actions were morally wrong.”
The Crown referred to de Grood as a “killing machine” and said the murders were done with “brutality and ruthless efficiency.” However, Crown prosecutor Neil Wiberg agreed de Grood should be found not criminally responsible (NCR).
“I agree the accused was suffering a psychosis,” Wiberg said, adding de Grood was incapable of appreciating what he was doing was morally wrong. The judge reserved making a decision in the case until Wednesday morning.
NCR applies to those who are found to have committed an act that constitutes an offence, but cannot appreciate or understand what they did was wrong due to a mental disorder at the time.
Zackariah Rathwell, 21, Jordan Segura, 22, Josh Hunter, 23, Kaitlin Perras, 23, and Lawrence Hong, 27, were stabbed to death at a house party on April 15, 2014.
SPECIAL COVERAGE: Remembering the Brentwood 5
An expert psychologist from the Alberta Hospital Edmonton who helped evaluate de Grood became the third doctor to suggest de Grood fits the criteria for a not criminally responsible (NCR) defence as he testified Thursday.
Watch below: Global’s ongoing coverage of the trial of Matthew de Grood
Defence lawyer Allan Fay said last week the public may not believe in the legitimacy of the NCR defence.
“I believe many members of the public feel that the defence of not criminally responsible is a sham or a scam that people use to escape criminal liability,” he said. “And, as you heard from the expert witnesses that were called, these things are live in the minds of the experts when they do these assessments.”
Crown prosecutor Neil Wiberg declined to say last week whether he would pursue a high-risk NCR designation, saying he would wait for the decision.
“Everybody is a loser in this particular case. Five outstanding people were killed and nothing, no decision will get around that.”
De Grood pleaded not guilty to five counts of first-degree murder Monday. An agreed statement of facts was entered Monday, in which 24-year-old de Grood admitted to stabbing each of the five victims with a kitchen knife.
LIVE BLOG RECAP: Global reporter Nancy Hixt has been tweeting the details of the trial live from the Calgary Courts Centre