The judge in the Matthew de Grood murder trial has ruled the 24-year-old was not criminally responsible the night he killed five young people two years ago.
Kaitlin Perras, Lawrence Hong, Josh Hunter, Zackariah Rathwell and Jordan Segura died early in the morning on April 15, 2014 while at a house party in the Northwest community of Brentwood celebrating the University of Calgary’s Bermuda Shorts Day.
In an agreed statement of facts during the trial, de Grood admitting the killings to police, but said he was defending himself from “medusas” and “werewolves” and he was “just trying to kill them before they killed me.” In a summary of the facts and evidence, Justice Eric Macklin said the stabbings happened so fast, “The five victims had little if any time to react.” Justice Macklin agreed with the crown prosecutor and defence that de Grood was suffer a psychosis at the time of the killing.
In a statement through his lawyer, de Grood apologized to the families of the victims and his family. He said, “I feel the sorrow I’ve caused, and I’ll carry it with me for the rest of my life.” There was loud sobbing from the packed courtroom as the letter was read by lawyer Allan Fay.
Matthew de Grood will now be detained in a psychiatric facility pending instructions by the Alberta Review Board.
The brother of one of the Brentwood murder victims says the verdict of not criminally responsible will mean a recurring nightmare for the families.
Miles Hong issued a statement on behalf of the families of the victims.
Hong says there will be no peace for the families because de Grood will meet with a Mental Health Review Board every year to determine if he will be granted concessions.
Hong says the families would like to see de Grood designated a High Risk NCR to ensure he’s not a risk to the public in the future.
“There will be no peace for us. Our wounds will never fully heal because every year our families will have to wonder-what will be the fate of the man who destroyed so many lives.”
The High Risk NCR law took effect after the Brentwood murders, so the Crown will have apply to have de Grood designated a high risk.
Hong asks that the community continue to remember the victims.
He also thanks Justice Macklin for allowing the families to make tributes to their loved ones in court.
Full family statement:
First of all, we would like to express our immense gratitude to Justice Macklin for allowing the five tributes to our wonderful loved ones within the court. Our goal at the beginning of the trial was that the spotlight be put on those we lost; that continues to be our goal now and into the future. We ask that everyone remember the names: Zackariah Rathwell, Jordan Segura, Kaiti Perras, Lawrence Hong and Josh Hunter. We can all cherish their legacy by reminiscing moments together, living out their values and supporting others through the scholarships and foundations created in their memory. Those are the individuals who should be remembered. Those are the lives that were lost, and no matter what: Kaiti, Jordan, Josh, Zack and Lawrence are still gone and our families will never be whole again.
The end of this trial is not the end of this journey for us, we continue to be broken. The finding of NCR will be a recurring nightmare for our families. In this system Matthew de Grood will meet with a Mental Health Review Board every year to determine if he will be granted concessions. There will be no peace for us; our wounds never fully heal because every year our families will have to wonder, what will be the fate of the man who damaged so many lives. Every year we will be forced to relive details of our family’s deaths, the anguish and sorrow. We ask that fellow Canadians become informed about the justice system, the designation “Not Criminally Responsible” and its implications. A possible reprieve for our families is the designation of a High Risk NCR, a new law that among other changes would allow a review board to decide to assess an extremely dangerous offender every three years. The five families would support the prosecution in seeking the designation of High Risk NCR, which would give gravitas to the fact Matthew de Grood killed five people and support the system in ensuring that he is not a threat to the public. Every year that Matthew de Grood is reviewed we hope that our community will value the lives of Josh, Zack, Jordan, Kaiti and Lawrence and do what they can to support the five lives that de Grood ended.
A lot of discussion around these murders and trial are painful to think about and at times get away from the core of it. That five lives were taken away and countless others devastated by the actions of one person. Unfortunately, no matter what the outcome is, or could have been, our loved ones Lawrence, Zack, Josh, Jordan and Kaiti are gone – and there is no changing that. Those five young bright people will only smile in our memories, we can only hug them in our dreams, and every moment good or bad will be spent wishing they could share it with us. Their lives, our lives, their friends and the futures for all of us affected are forever changed.
Thank you for your attention.