Matthew de Grood, the Calgary man who killed five young people at a Brentwood house party, is set to be transferred to an Edmonton hospital to continue his treatment.
According to an Alberta Review Board decision, de Grood could eventually be allowed to move into a halfway house with 24-hour supervision. He’s also been given freedoms to take escorted trips into the community.
De Grood, now 27, was found not criminally responsible for the 2014 stabbing deaths of Kaiti Perras, Josh Hunter, Zackariah Rathwell, Jordan Segura and Lawrence Hong.
In the review, de Grood was described as a “model patient,” also showing no signs of relapsing.
“He has embraced every form of therapy and treatment that’s been offered to him. He has excelled in all areas,” his lawyer Allan Fay said Wednesday. “He has shown no signs of relapsing.”
De Grood was originally charged with five counts of first-degree murder. A judge ruled he was in a psychotic state at the time of the killings, suffering from schizophrenia. De Grood said he heard what he thought was the devil’s voice before the attack. He also told a psychiatrist he believed a war was about to begin that would signal the end of the world when he got to the party.
He is on medication and reports revealed he has been in full remission since July 2014.
The review board also stated “de Grood remains a significant threat to the public were he to relapse in a full psychotic state. While that risk is greatly diminished if he remains under treatment in a secure or supervised facility, that risk remains.”
In its conclusion, the board said in its opinion “transferring de Grood to Alberta Hospital Edmonton to continue his treatment is the best way of protecting the safety of the public while imposing the least onerous order upon him.”
Laura Marr, who appeared at the hearing on behalf of the Crown, recommended de Grood’s transfer to Edmonton so he could be “away from this community which is still grieving a profound loss from these offences.”
Some of the victims’ families said Wednesday they don’t agree with the board’s allowing de Grood access to the community. Gregg Perras, father of Kaiti Perras, said he agreed with the decision to move him to Edmonton but “wholeheartedly disagreed” with considerations for escorted visits and the potential to move into a halfway house.
“The board was insensitive and disrespectful to the victims during the hearing and continue to express their disdain for our opinions and our knowledge of mental illness in their comments in the disposition,” Perras said.
With raw emotion, Perras, recalled some of the testimony from the hearing as he expressed his pain.
“One doctor on board had the audacity of suggesting that de Grood must have been terrified that night… Who was terrified?” Perras stated.
“The lack of respect continued into the body of the disposition where the board implies that the victims are not informed reasonable people and do not represent the views of the public.
“The board also wrote that the concerns, fears and anger of the victims are not significant to the outcome for de Grood. The logical conclusion from this is that the victim impact statements do not matter and therefore the victims do not matter.”
The review board noted in its decision that the victims’ families have strong views about what should happen to de Grood and agreed with the Crown’s submission at the hearing that the anger and fear were palpable. Victims’ loved ones have said de Grood should be institutionalized indefinitely and deemed high-risk.
“While the victims are members of the public, they do not constitute the body politic of the public,” the board wrote. “It is the safety of the public at large that is to be considered, and that body should be presumed to consist of rational and reasonable individuals who being fully informed will act reasonably.”
Patty Segura, Jordan Segura’s mother, said this whole process “has gone from bad to worse.” While she’s glad de Grood is being transferred out of Calgary, she echoed Perras’ reaction about the feeling of overall disrespect to the families of those killed.
“He should be locked up forever,” Segura said.
— With files from Jill Croteau and The Canadian Press