Matthew de Grood, the man responsible for Calgary’s worst-ever mass killing, now has extra freedoms at the Southern Alberta Forensic Psychiatry Centre (SAFPC), resulting from a decision from the Alberta Review Board.
De Grood was found not criminally responsible for the 2014 stabbing deaths of Zackariah Rathwell, Jordan Segura, Josh Hunter, Kaiti Perras and Lawrence Hong.
The five young people were killed at a house party in Brentwood on April 15, 2014.
De Grood will now be permitted to take walks around the hospital grounds while under supervision of two staff members, with the supervision gradually being reduced to what the board calls “regular supervision,” Global News has learned.
The families were notified about the decision by email Tuesday afternoon.
De Grood was previously allowed to go outside as far as a grassy courtyard at the secure facility.
De Grood’s doctor, Dr. Sergio Santana, recommended he be allowed to walk the grounds, suggesting he start with two people accompanying him, then one, and then eventually be allowed to walk around alone. Santana said the “baby steps” would help determine how he reacts to increased stress.
Santana went on to say there would be a significant risk to the public should de Grood — who is taking antidepressant and antipsychotic medication for schizophrenia — end up in a psychotic state again, which would be the result of him not taking his medications. De Grood currently takes his medications orally, but doctors plan to use injections in the future.
At the time of de Grood’s review hearing, the families of the five victims were outwardly opposed to the idea that he could be allowed more freedoms from the facility.
“The Southern Alberta Forensic Psychiatric Centre is located within Calgary city limits and is within walking distance to a number of communities and shopping malls,” Kaiti’s father, Gregg Perras, said outside the hearing earlier this month.
“The idea that a person responsible for killing five people is allowed to walk the unfenced grounds of this facility without any security personnel is beyond belief.”
The board said the extra freedoms are subject to final approval by the section head of the Alberta Forensic Psychiatry Centre.
Prior to this review, de Grood already had supervised access to a computer — including Internet and email — but he is not allowed to use social media.
Every year, de Grood’s status is reviewed by an Alberta provincial court judge, two psychiatrists and community members.