Man accused in Calgary mass killings, fit to stand trial

Matt De Grood, the murder suspect in the stabbing rampage of five young people in Calgary, Alta. on...

Matt De Grood, the murder suspect in the stabbing rampage of five young people in Calgary, Alta. on Tuesday April 15, 2014. (Handout/QMI Agency)

Kevin Martin, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 3:24 PM ET

CALGARY -- Matthew de Grood, accused of Calgary's worst mass murder, is fit to stand trial, court heard Thursday.

De Grood, 22, appeared in provincial court via closed-circuit TV after undergoing a 30-day assessment at the Southern Alberta Forensic Psychiatry Centre (SAFPC).

Judge Bob Wilkins noted a report had been filed by the doctor who assessed de Grood, who faces five charges of first-degree murder in the stabbing deaths of five people at an April 15 house party to celebrate the end of the school year.

"It indicates that Mr. de Grood is fit to stand trial," Wilkins said.

But despite the finding by Dr. Reilly Smith, defence counsel Allan Fay said his client will continue to be housed at the psychiatry centre due to ongoing mental health issues.

"Dr. Smith has recommended that Mr. de Grood go back to SAFPC," Fay said.

"Under a mental health certificate?" Wilkins asked.

"Yes," Fay said.

A finding that someone is fit to stand trial simply means they comprehend the legal process and can provide their lawyer with instructions on how to proceed with the case.

Outside court, the lawyer said de Grood remains certified under the Mental Health Act and will stay at the forensic centre until doctors deem him fit enough to be sent to the Calgary Remand Centre.

"He remains there until it's determined his mental health no longer requires it," Fay said. "The doctors have determined he needs ongoing treatment."



A police officer and paramedics prepare to unload the suspect at the South Calgary Health Centre, Sunday, May 4, 2014. (Stuart Dryden/QMI Agency)

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He said his client is trying to cope as best he can considering his circumstances.

"He's obviously worried and apprehensive about what happened and what will happen," Fay said.

The lawyer added de Grood's parents, Susan and Doug, a Calgary police inspector, have been able to visit their son.

"They're as well as can be expected -- obviously this has been very stressful on them," Fay said.

Edmonton Crown attorney Neil Wiberg said it will be months before the case goes to either preliminary inquiry, or trial.

He said he will consider filing a direct indictment in the case, which would mean de Grood would not have a preliminary inquiry, but go straight to trial.

"That's a possibility," Wiberg said, when asked about a direct indictment.

Four men and a woman -- Zackariah Rathwell, 21, , Lawrence Hong, 27, Joshua Hunter, 23, Jordan Segura, 22, and Kaiti Perras, 23 -- were slain at the Brentwood-area house party.

De Grood returns to court July 22.


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