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Calgary man, convicted of killing 5 at house party, denied increased freedom, stays in group residence


A man who stabbed five young people to death at a house party in Calgary nine years ago remains incarcerated in a group home following a Thursday ruling from Alberta’s highest court.

Alberta’s Court of Appeals rejected an appeal brought by Matthew de Grood and upheld a 2022 decision by Alberta’s Criminal Code Review Board that determined he still poses a significant risk to public safety.

De Grood, who currently lives in a supervised group home in Edmonton, had either applied for an absolute discharge, which would free him from the supervision of the review committee, or a conditional discharge, which would allow him to live with his parents in Calgary while under supervision. was standing. a full command.

A three-member panel of judges unanimously ruled on Thursday that De Grood did not raise an “assessable error” by the review committee, rejecting claims by his lawyer that political interference had tainted the board’s decision.

“(De Grood) is undoubtedly much less dangerous now than he was then. However, his transition to unrestricted community life will not happen overnight,” the judges wrote in their decision.

“However, based on the evidence on this file, it was reasonable for the review committee to conclude that the applicant continues to be at risk of serious violent conduct.”

Thursday’s decision follows a September 2022 ruling by the review committee that de Grood should remain in the group home and that his continued detention was necessary to protect the public.

De Grood was 22 in April 2014 when he fatally stabbed Zackariah Rathwell, Jordan Segura, Kaitlin Perras, Josh Hunter and Lawrence Hong.

During de Grood’s 2016 premeditated murder trial, a judge in Calgary overheard de Grood sending ominous messages in the hours before the stabbings, telling friends he believed the end of the world was imminent.

A judge ruled that the Grood was delusional at the time of the murders and did not understand that his actions were wrong. He was found not criminally responsible due to undiagnosed and untreated schizophrenia.

Zackariah Rathwell, 21, Lawrence Hong, 27, Kaitlin Perras, 23, Jordan Segura, 22, and Joshua Hunter, 23, died after Matthew de Grood, 22, stabbed them at a party in Calgary’s Brentwood community in 2014. (Facebook)

The freedoms and privileges granted to him since then rest with the review committee. Each year, the board reviews the Grood’s case to determine if and when he can safely return to the community.

In 2019, the board allowed him to live in a group home in Edmonton after his treatment team reported he was in remission and a “model patient.”

Following that decision, then Attorney General Doug Schweitzer publicly said he would advocate for changes regarding parole standards and pledged to request the Alberta Review Board for maximum role for victims in hearings.

De Grood’s lawyer, Jacqueline Petrie, argued before the Court of Appeal in June this year that her client is stable on medication, has a low risk of recidivism and should be allowed to reintegrate into society.

Petrie told the court that the 2022 review was procedurally unfair and tainted by political interference, and that board members were “recruited directly” by the county government.

She accused Schweitzer of interfering by piling the board with members politically aligned with the county government.

She also argued that the board misunderstood the medical evidence provided during the 2022 assessment about De Grood’s persistent symptoms.

Thursday’s ruling found no evidence of political influence over the proceedings and no evidence of board bias.

It also ruled that concerns about the misinterpretation of De Grood’s medical assessments were unfounded.

“While the Appellant characterizes these as examples of the Board of Directors ignoring or misunderstanding important evidence, they are merely findings of fact with which the Appellant disagrees,” Thursday’s decision reads.

“It is not the role of this court to re-weigh the evidence … the Board’s determination that the Appellant continued to pose a risk to the public was not based on any of the many discrete factors put forward by the Appellant disputed.

“The board is an expert tribunal that includes both lawyers and doctors and its findings are amply supported by the file.”

A judge eventually ruled that De Grood was delusional at the time of the violations and did not understand that his actions were wrong.

Families of the five victims have repeatedly opposed any additional freedoms or privileges for the Grood.

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