Matthew de Grood, accused in Calgary stabbings, fit to stand trial
5 people were stabbed to death at end-of-classes house party in April
Matthew de Grood, the man accused of killing five people at a house party last month in northwest Calgary, has been deemed fit to stand trial.
The 22-year-old appeared in court via closed-circuit television Thursday morning, standing almost motionless against a wall.
He is charged with five counts of first-degree murder after five people were stabbed to death at an end-of-semester party in Brentwood near the University of Calgary campus on April 15.
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Lawrence Hong, 27, Joshua Hunter, 23, Kaitlin Perras, 23, Zackariah Rathwell, 21, and Jordan Segura, 22, were killed in the early-morning attack.
De Grood underwent a 30-day mental health assessment at a secure psychiatric facility in Calgary.
The psychiatric review was requested by Crown prosecutors, who have been brought in from Edmonton because de Grood's father is a Calgary police officer.
De Grood will remain at the Southern Alberta Forensic Psychiatry Centre until his next court date on July 22.
"He has been certified under the mental health act," said his lawyer, Allan Fay. "The doctors have determined that he needs ongoing treatment. So he'll remain there until they determine otherwise."
Prosecutor Neil Wiberg said Fay was supplied with a "voluminous" disclosure.
"There's so much disclosure. Instead of giving a thousand pages, the police produced it on a hard drive that includes video statements with witnesses," he said.
"So he'll be going through that hard drive to determine the next step in this particular trial."
Dr. Kenneth Hashman, the head of forensic psychiatry services for southern Alberta, said the assessment made sure de Grood understands he will be appearing in a courtroom, that he understands the charges against him and that he is able to communicate with his lawyer.
Hashman said if a patient has no history of mental illness, then psychiatrists will collect information through a series of tests over a period of 30 days.
Even if an accused is found fit for trial, they can still be found not criminally responsible if they are found to have been mentally ill at the time of their crimes.
Fay confirmed a not criminally responsible defence may be considered.
"Being fit to stand trial only means that he understands the process and you can instruct counsel," he said. "You can still be very profoundly mentally ill and be fit to stand trial."
Fay said de Grood's parents visit him regularly.
"This has been very stressful on them," he said. "They're holding up as best they can."