Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Suspect awaits hearing inside psych facility

Will be assessed to determine if he can stand trial

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The suspect accused of fatally stabbing five people at a northwest Calgary house party has been moved to a secure psychiatric facility pending a court appearance next week.

Matthew de Grood, who is charged with five counts of first-degree murder, is now in custody at the Southern Alberta Forensic Psychiatry Centre, which assesses suspects' fitness to stand trial and mental capacity.

Lawrence Hong, Josh Hunter, Kaitlin Perras, Zackariah Rathwell and Jordan Segura were at an end-of-semester celebration early Tuesday when another partygoer attacked and fatally wounded them with a knife.

The case is considered the worst mass homicide in Calgary's history.

Police officers who rushed to the scene arrested de Grood, 22, a short distance from the home.

An ambulance took de Grood to Rockyview Hospital to treat injuries he suffered while being taken down by a police dog.

A justice of the peace conducted a bail hearing via telephone Tuesday, ordering a psychiatric assessment for de Grood.

His lawyer, Allan Fay, said Wednesday morning de Grood has since been moved to the psychiatric facility, which is near the Calgary Remand Centre.

De Grood is scheduled to appear in Calgary provincial court next Tuesday, but Fay said it's too early to know if he will apply for bail.

Fay, who was in Red Deer for another court case, said he has yet to receive any disclosure from prosecutors of their evidence against de Grood.

"My practice is not to do a bail hearing until I'm up to speed," he said.

Fay said he had spoken to de Grood via telephone and was hoping to visit him in person for the first time Wednesday afternoon. He said de Grood is doing about as well as could be expected.

De Grood's father is Insp. Doug de Grood, a 33-year veteran of the Calgary Police Service who has held several senior roles.

Fay said he has spoken to the elder de Grood and the suspect's father is "devastated."

"He's obviously very upset and concerned about his son and very concerned about the families of the deceased," Fay said.

Two of the victims, Josh Hunter and Zackariah Rathwell, were members of a popular local band, Zackariah and the Prophets.

Hunter, 22, was an accounting major at the University of Calgary's Haskayne School of Business. Rathwell, 23, was a first-year student at the Alberta College of Art and Design.

Segura, 23, was a religious studies student at the University of Calgary. Perras, 23, previously attended Mount Royal University for English after graduating from Bishop Carroll high school. She worked as a hostess at a downtown restaurant last year.

Brad Taylor, owner of Briggs Kitchen + Bar, called her a "really great Calgary kid."

A friend said Lawrence Hong, 27, was approaching his 28th birthday next week, describing him as a foodie, traveller and volunteer.

He was a volunteer with the Calgary Folk Music Festival and Fairy Tales Film Festival.

Meanwhile, provincial justice officials announced Wednesday a Crown attorney from Edmonton will be brought in to prosecute the case.

The measure is standard practice designed to address any perceived conflict of interest when a Calgary police officer is accused of a criminal offence. Alberta Justice spokeswoman Michelle Davio said officials decided to do so in this case because the accused is the son of a high-ranking Calgary officer.

The killings took place at a house party largely attended by University of Calgary students celebrating Bermuda Shorts Day, a long-running tradition to mark the last day of classes.

De Grood attended U of C and police said he was an invited guest at the party. He had been accepted into the faculty of law and was due to start classes this fall.

 

-- Calgary Herald

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition April 17, 2014 A11

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