Matthew de Grood is now being held in a secure psychiatric facility after being accused of stabbing five young adults to death at a Calgary house party.
Police Chief Rick Hanson told CBC News that the 22-year-old is expected to undergo a psychological assessment, which has to be court ordered but is common in high-profile homicide cases.
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De Grood has been charged with five counts of first-degree murder in the slayings of four men and a woman at a house in Brentwood in the city’s northwest.
He had an initial meeting Tuesday before a justice of the peace by telephone from his hospital bed, where he has been kept over concerns about the state of his mental health, sources told CBC News.
"I can't comment whatsoever on any issues of mental illness," said his lawyer Allan Fay.
"To my knowledge, there's been no indication in the past."
He met with his client for the first time today.
"Matthew is doing as well as one can expect someone in his circumstances can do," said Fay. "I think he's quite overwhelmed by the whole thing and quite devastated by it, and very concerned about what is going to happen from here."
'Just a young kid'
Fay said he was left with the impression that he was "just a young kid."
"I've practised in the criminal justice system for 26 years in Calgary. I have never seen a homicide of this magnitude, this sort of violence, this many victims — who wouldn't be shocked," said Fay.
But he hopes people are not too quick to judge, because sometimes things turn out very differently.
"I urge people not to come to hasty conclusions," said Fay.
De Grood's next court date was set for April 22.
Hanson told CBC’s Calgary Eyeopener that investigators are continuing to comb through the crime scene, and are working to get access to any computers or phones that de Grood may have used as they try to learn the motivation for the deadly attacks.
“There’s still lots of questions,” said Hanson. “The question is always going to be why? Why did this happen?”
Investigators say de Grood was an invited guest at the party to mark the end of university classes, and neither he nor the victims had any history with the police.
De Grood’s father is a veteran officer with the rank of inspector in the Calgary Police Service, a fact that is making an already emotional case that much more difficult for investigators, Hanson said.
“When there’s an association with the police service, it does hit harder,” he said.
Hanson said Insp. Douglas de Grood and his wife will be forever haunted by the tragic killings.
“I can’t describe, I think, adequately the absolute devastation they feel,” he said.
Due to the suspect's father's position with the police force, Crown prosecutors will be brought in from Edmonton to handle the case.
Gregg Lepp of Crown Prosecutor Services says that is to ensure impartiality.
"We would do the same thing if it were the son or daughter or relative of a prosecutor or a judge or a well-known defence lawyer — things of that sort," he said.
"So that's why. Not that there would be a conflict, but just so the public has absolute confidence that there's no personal stake in this whatsoever."
Neil Wiberg and Stephanie Brown have been named as the two prosecutors assigned to the case.