Calgary stabbing suspect ordered to undergo psychiatric assessment
Published Wednesday, April 16, 2014 6:29AM EDT
Last Updated Wednesday, April 16, 2014 7:16PM EDT
The young man accused of stabbing five people to death at a Calgary house party has been transferred to a psychiatric facility and ordered to undergo a psychiatric assessment, his lawyer said Wednesday.
Matthew de Grood, 22, was arrested Tuesday and charged with five counts of first-degree murder after a stabbing attack at a house party celebrating the last day of university classes.
Allan Fay said a justice of the peace ordered his client to receive the assessment at the Southern Alberta Forensic Psychiatry Centre. He is scheduled to appear in a Calgary court on April 22.
"I'm still not clear what the direction was for -- whether it was for a determination of fitness to stand trial or whether it was for a psychiatric examination," Fay said, adding his client seems capable of understanding the charges against him.
Also Wednesday, it was confirmed that a Crown prosecutor from Edmonton will be brought in to handle the court case.
A spokesperson from Alberta Justice said a prosecutor from outside Calgary will be assigned to the case to address any perceived conflict.
Meanwhile, autopsies are expected to be conducted for the five victims of what Calgary Police Chief Rick Hanson earlier called Calgary's "worst mass murder.”
The names of the victims have not been released by police, but they have been identified as:
- Lawrence Hong, 27
- Josh Hunter, 23
- Zackariah Rathwell, 21
- Kaiti Perras, 23
- Jordan Segura, 22
Friends remember victims
Two of the victims -- Hunter and Rathwell -- were best friends and in a band called Zackariah and The Prophets.
The band had just released an EP, holding a release party over the weekend.
But on Tuesday, the band’s two other members posted a statement to the group’s Facebook page saying the band is “done.”
“On behalf of the whole band, we can safely say we are so thankful for your condolences. We didn't lose two bandmates, we lost two brothers. Their shining shenanigans and shining light will always be with us.”
It added: “ZATP is done, because the band was all four of us. Without all four of us the band doesn't exist. We love you all. And we loved them more than anything in the world.”
Perras -- the only female victim -- had majored in English at Mount Royal University before attending the University of Calgary.
Her friends described her as “the kindest person” with the “most beautiful smile.”
“We looked up to her so much,” said Kaitlyn Harris.
Hong was about to graduate from the urban studies program at the University of Calgary. Friends called him friendly and funny, adding he liked to cook and play video games.
Segura was working part-time at two Calgary funeral homes over the past year; his boss, Ernie Hagel, said he was a promising young employee.
"He had the qualities to be a great funeral director,” Hagel told The Canadian Press. “He wanted to serve people. He wanted to be there when they needed him."
A makeshift memorial comprised of flowers and letters has popped up outside the home where the murders occurred. One note read: “Heaven has five more angels, you will be missed.”
Ongoing police investigation
None of the victims had prior history with police, Hanson said Tuesday.
According to Hanson, the suspect had been invited to the party, and arrived at the house located in Calgary’s Brentwood neighbourhood after leaving his job at a grocery store.
Neighbours said the students had been gathering at the home on Monday to mark the University of Calgary student union's “Bermuda Shorts Day," an annual celebration on the last day of classes for the academic year.
Investigators are now trying to piece together what led to the incident.
Investigators are analyzing the crime scene, will “interview and re-interview" witnesses, and will look through phones and computers the suspect had access to, Hanson told CTV.
“There’s still a lot of work that has to be done,” Hanson said.
In his remarks to reporters on Tuesday, the chief said that there was nothing to indicate any type of confrontation that preceded the attack.
"That's one of the things that our investigators are looking at, trying to determine was there anything that precipitated the event. Was there something that anyone had done that could have been taken as an insult or an affront to this individual?" Hanson said. "And to the best of our knowledge right now, there's nothing to indicate anything like that happened earlier in the day that led to this event."
Police said there was no indication that alcohol or drugs played a factor either.
The suspect is the son of a senior officer who has served on the Calgary Police Service for 33 years. Hanson said his parents are “devastated and they’re heartbroken” over what happened.
“They’re heartbroken and they feel so bad for what has happened to the other families.”
University in mourning
Late Tuesday, about 500 students and staff members from the University of Calgary attended a vigil for the victims.
University of Calgary President Elizabeth Cannon called for a moment of silence, before paying tribute to the dead. She said the world had lost five "bright, promising, beautiful young people."
The city's mayor, Naheed Nenshi, said it was important that people support each other during this difficult time.
"We come together and we mourn those five lives lost. We mourn that additional one life plunged into darkness and it's going to be hard for us as a community," he said.
Alberta Premier David Hancock released a statement calling the incident a "senseless, shocking and horrible tragedy."
He offered the government's thoughts and prayers to the affected families, and thanked the first responders who attended the scene.
With files from CTV Calgary and The Canadian Press
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