Psychosis in remission for mentally ill man who killed five at Calgary house party

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A mentally ill man who stabbed five youths to death at a Calgary house party seven years ago may be in a group home until Christmas, but is a long way from returning to the community, a The review board heard on Wednesday.

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Matthew de Grodd, 30, was found not criminally responsible for the 2014 murders of Zacharias Rathwell, Jordan Segura, Caitlin Perez, Josh Hunter and Lawrence Hong because he was suffering from schizophrenia at the time.

He appeared at his annual Alberta Review Board hearing to assess his treatment and whether he should be allowed any increased privileges or freedoms the following year.

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The review board is expected to issue its decision in a few weeks.

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The Board heard that Mr. de Grod had completely recovered from his psychosis and that he had no problem in taking medicines.

A psychiatrist treating him at Alberta Hospital in Edmonton said transitioning to the group’s home is a logical next step, but recommended that Mr. de Grodd remain under a full mental-health warrant rather than receive conditional discharge.

“There are some significant uncertainties,” Santoch Rai said. “The treatment team has decided to address the uncertainties in what we believe is an essential consideration to protect the public.”

Dr Rai said the mental-health warrant allows Mr. de Grodd to return to the hospital immediately if he deteriorates and stops taking his medications.

“He may very well appear to the point where he can actually work in an employment setting in the morning and then in the evening to do something serious,” he said.

He has the “ability when he inflicts very serious harm on many people and does so very quickly.”

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Mr de Grod’s trial heard that he was a university student who had gone to a party organized to mark the end of the school year. He attacked others there believing that Satan was talking to him and that a war was about to begin that signaled the end of the world.

A judge ruled that he was then confused and did not understand that his actions were wrong.

Dr Rae said Mr de Grodd may eventually be allowed more freedom, but “I think we are a long way from that.”

He also said that it may be beneficial for Mr. de Grodd to move back to Calgary to be closer to his family. But Mr. de Grodd’s attorney, Alan Fay, told the hearing that his client is not requesting the move and wants to stay in Edmonton for the foreseeable future.

Mr de Grod addressed the review board wearing a mask and said he was not seeking sympathy.

“I accept what I have done and I am really sorry. I just hope that one day I will be seen as a person who is able to make my comeback in the society. The weight of this tragedy is on my shoulders. And has not diminished over time,” he said.

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“I carry shame and guilt with me 24 hours a day and will be forever. I want to make amends any way I can. I am committed to managing my illness.”

Doug and Susan de Grod also recorded a statement with the board that their son is a human and not a monster.

“Nothing prepared us for a growing crusade demanding a life sentence for Matthew. We feel the need to remind those who have forgotten that Matthew has already gone through trial and been found [not criminally responsible]”, he wrote.

“Yet some feel that the review board hearings every year should be treated like a quest for justice.”

The board heard the statements of the families of the victims. Many were disappointed and angry.

“This is the sixth victim impact statement I will submit because the life of my son Joshua was taken over by Matthew de Grodd. I struggle with writing every year to honor Josh,” said Kelly Hunter.

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“I get so sad at times that I can’t even think of Josh, I can’t be here without feeling sad about him. I miss him so much.”

Shannon Miller said that nothing is going to take away the pain of losing her daughter, Kaity.

“The truth is that Kaiti did not die. He was murdered and there is a huge difference between the two,” she said.

“How do you tell about Kaiti being cut out of my life? She was my baby girl. She was part of who I am and now she’s gone forever. It shatters me.”

Our Morning Update and Evening Update newsletters are written by Granthshala editors, giving you a brief summary of the day’s most important headlines. .

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