Matthew de Grood, the 22-year-old accused of killing five young people at a house party in northwest Calgary earlier this year, appeared today in a courtroom for the first time, and was ordered to undergo further psychiatric testing.

De Grood is accused in the fatal stabbings of:

  • Lawrence Hong, 27.
  • Joshua Hunter, 23.
  • Kaitlin Perras, 23.
  • Zackariah Rathwell, 21.
  • Jordan Segura, 22.

The five were attacked at an end-of-semester party in Brentwood near the University of Calgary campus on April 15.

de grood sketch

A courtroom sketch of Matthew de Grood, who will undergo another 30-day psychiatric assessment, this time for doctors at Alberta Hospital Edmonton to determine whether he meets the criteria for being declared not criminally responsible for killing five people in April. (Janice Fletcher)

De Grood, who was shackled and wearing blue overalls, walked into the courtroom slowly with his hands by his sides, glancing several times at the gallery. Friends and family members of the victims were in the courtroom.

A docket judge ordered that de Grood be transferred to Alberta Hospital Edmonton for a 30-day psychiatric assessment to determine if he meets the criteria for being declared not criminally responsible for the killings.

“This assessment is to determine whether in the opinion of a psychiatrist at the time of the offences my client was considered criminally responsible, in other words, [whether] he had the necessary intent or whether he lacked it due to mental disease," said defence lawyer Allan Fay. 

Fay said he has not yet decided whether he will try to have a judge declare his client not criminally responsible.

“At this point I have no formal opinion as to the situation. Certainly it’s something that’s being explored and I’ll make my decision when that exploration is completed.”

De Grood's next court date is Aug. 29.

The judge also set a preliminary hearing for March 2 to 13.

At his last hearing, de Grood was found fit to stand trial after he underwent a 30-day mental health assessment at the Southern Alberta Forensic Psychiatry Centre, where he has been held since April.

His previous court hearings have been via closed-circuit television.

Crown prosecutor Neil Wiberg said his office meets with the family members of the victims regularly to keep them informed about the court process.

"It's very difficult for them; they suffered a tragic loss," he said.