The Calgary man who was held not criminally responsible for stabbing to death five students at a house party in 2014 is seeking more freedom after stating this week that his treatment for schizophrenia is working.
Matthew de Grood said he heard voices telling him the end of the world was imminent when he killed Lawrence Hong, 27, Joshua Hunter, 23, Jordan Segura, 22, Kaitlin Perras, 23, and Zackariah Rathwell, 21 in April 2014. He was found not guilty of five counts of first degree murder last year on the grounds that he was psychotic at the time he carried out the stabbings. He was subsequently sent to a secure psychiatric hospital for treatment.
On Wednesday, de Grood appeared before the Alberta Review Board, which will decide if he will be allowed more freedoms, including taking escorted walks in an insecure part of the hospital, the CBC reports.
His lawyer Allan Fay read aloud a statement on his behalf, expressing empathy for the families of the victims.
"They may not care that I am a schizophrenic. The act of killing five innocent people and putting their families through that agony is unconscionable. To them, I am either a very evil person or a psychotic individual who is dangerous and can't be trusted."
He promised to do everything in his power not to relapse.
"I respect the decisions of the board," he said.
According to the Canadian Press, de Grood's doctor Sergio Santana said de Grood has been in full remission since July 2014 and that he's at low risk to re-offend, provided he stays on his medication in a hospital setting.
Fay said his client has been described as a model patient.
However, family members of those slain told the board the hearing, which came just before the third anniversary of their loved ones' deaths, is stirring up their grief.
"I cannot express the anguish and anger that I feel. Our nightmare continues every day," said Gregg Perras, father of Kaitlin Perras. Zackariah Rathwell's mother Ronda-Lee Rathwell said, "If he truly is sorry and never wants it to happen again, then he should voluntarily commit himself to be institutionalized or be hospitalized forever."
The board has not yet made a decision.
In February, Will Baker (formerly Vince Lee), the man who beheaded and cannibalized a fellow passenger on a Greyhound bus destined for Winnipeg in 2008 was granted a full release. Baker was also schizophrenic and was found not criminally responsible for killing 22-year-old Tim McLean.
Over the years, Lee was granted more and more privileges, and had been living on his own with supervised medication intake before being granted a full discharge.
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