CALGARY, Alberta – A Canadian man was found not criminally responsible Wednesday for killing five people in a 2014 stabbing rampage.
A judge delivered the verdict in the first-degree murder trial of Matthew de Grood. Justice Eric Macklin of Court of Queen's Bench said he accepted findings from psychiatric experts who said de Grood was suffering from a mental disorder that rendered him incapable of appreciating or knowing that his actions were wrong.
The 24-year-old son of a police officer admitted he killed five people at a Calgary house party on April 15, 2014. But both the defense and the prosecution agree he was suffering from a mental disorder at the time.
The finding means de Grood will be kept in a secure psychiatric facility pending assessment by the Alberta Review Board.
During the trial, the judge heard that de Grood became withdrawn about a month before the attack and started posting about the end of the world, religion, vampires and Darth Vader on Facebook. De Grood reported hearing voices telling him to kill before he grabbed a knife from a kitchen in the northwest Calgary home and stabbed the victims to death.
Killed in the attack were Kaitlin Perras, Lawrence Hong, Josh Hunter, Zackariah Rathwell and Jordan Segura. About 20 people were at the party celebrating the last days of classes at the time. It was the worst mass slaying in Calgary's history.
Defense lawyer Allan Fay said in his closing argument that his client believed he was defending himself from werewolves and vampires at the time. Prosecutor Neil Wiberg said the experts concluded de Grood was not feigning his mental illness and was incapable of realizing his acts were morally wrong.
Gregg Perras, father of Kaitin, said the expert witnesses said de Grood was schizophrenic and they have to accept that. But he said the families have now been given a life sentence.
"It is not over. This isn't the end," he said. "Our life sentence is to every year go to the mental health review board and try to make sure this dangerous offender never gets out and has a chance to hurt anyone else."