A psychiatrist in charge of treating an Alberta man who stabbed and killed five young people at a Calgary house party says the patient’s risk of re-offending is low.
But Dr. Santoch Rai has told the Alberta Review Board that if Matthew de Grood was to commit another offence, it would be severe.
A judge in 2016 found de Grood not criminally responsible for the killings because he was suffering from schizophrenia at the time.
A trial heard that the 22-year-old believed that the devil was talking to him and that a war was about to begin, signalling the end of the world, when he arrived at the Calgary party, which was being held to mark the end of the school year.
He killed Zackariah Rathwell, 21; Jordan Segura, 22; Kaitlin Perras, 23; Josh Hunter, 23; and Lawrence Hong, 27.
The review board decided last year that de Grood, with his mental condition in remission, could be transferred from a secure psychiatric hospital in Calgary to Alberta Hospital in Edmonton.
Rai told the board on Tuesday that de Grood knows that he needs to take his medication. The psychiatrist suggested that his patient should be allowed to have unsupervised trips to supervised places in Edmonton, as well as be eased into living in a group home.
De Grood was asked by a panel member what his feelings were about the plan.
“I believe in following the recommendations of the team. It’s a gradual step by step where I’m constantly proving I can handle stress. I’m always taking my meds and staying away from drugs and alcohol,” de Grood said.
“I agree with the progression.”
Rai said de Grood would like to be able to visit his parents, who now have a residence in Edmonton so they can be closer to him.
LISTEN: Josh Hunter’s father Barclay joins The Morning News to discuss the process the de Grood victims’ families are going through
Gregg Perras said in an emailed statement that he doesn’t know what will happen to the man who killed his daughter.
“At each review, we are always unpleasantly surprised by the latest ‘improvements’ in his mental state and the subsequent ‘privileges’ he will receive,” he wrote.
“It seems ridiculous that someone who killed five people could be enjoying time outside the hospital only with a ‘responsible’ adult after only three years of being determined (not criminally responsible).”