Court full as preliminary hearing starts for accused in Calgary stabbings

Several people wept softly and dabbed away tears in court Monday as the preliminary hearing began for a man accused in Calgary’s worst mass murder.

CALGARY — Several people wept softly and dabbed away tears in court Monday as the preliminary hearing began for a man accused in Calgary’s worst mass murder.

It was standing room only in the courtroom, which was jammed with friends and family members of five young people who were stabbed to death at a house party near the University of Calgary to mark the end of the school year on April 14, 2014.

Matthew de Grood, 23, is charged with five counts of first-degree murder. With his hair cut short and wearing a black suit with a blue shirt, he sat quietly during the proceedings, occasionally sipping from a glass of water and carefully avoiding making eye contact with those in the courtroom.

His father, Douglas de Grood, who is a Calgary police inspector, and his mother, Susan, were also in the court.

The hearing is to determine if there is enough evidence to proceed to a full trial. A publication ban prohibits releasing any of the testimony heard during the court proceeding.

De Grood is charged in the deaths of Lawrence Hong, 27; Josh Hunter, 23; Kaitlin Perras, 23; Zackariah Rathwell, 21; and Jordan Segura, 22.

“It was emotional for everybody in the courtroom today,” said Crown prosecutor Neil Wiberg.

“They’re very upset obviously. Five outstanding young people were murdered and I’m sure this brings back horrible memories.”

The Crown plans to call 13 witnesses this week.

A psychiatric review has already determined that de Grood is fit to stand trial because he understands the charges against him and is able to communicate with his lawyer, but the Crown requested a mental assessment to determine if he could be found criminally responsible if convicted.

Lawyer Allan Fay said his client has been receiving treatment since his arrest and is anxious to get through the court process.

“Obviously, he’s very anxious about this. Reliving the event is very difficult for him,” said Fay.

“He wants to, like anyone in this situation, wants to move forward and try and bring this matter to a close. Obviously a lot of family and friends for the victims and my client are going to be reliving some very, very traumatic events.”

Police have not said what they think motivated the attack, but say de Grood was invited to the party and mingled with guests before violence broke out.

Just Posted

One strong wind leaves years of replanting work for Red Deer parks staff

High visibility boulevards already replanted, neighbourhood work starts next year

Red Deerians await local cannabis stores

So far 31 stores in Alberta awarded licence to operate

Rimbey RCMP seek missing man with health concerns

Has anyone seen Bill Harris of Ponka County?

Central Alberta born jaguar dies

Mia was the first jaguar in the world to receive stem cell treatment

Updated: Two men facing kidnapping charges in connection with abduction

48-year-old woman was allegedly abducted in Red Deer on Oct. 17

WATCH: Make-A-Wish grants Star Wars loving teen’s wish

The Make-A-Wish Foundation granted Anakin Suerink’s wish in Red Deer Saturday afternoon

Local Sports: Rudy Soffo valuable to Kings on the court

When Rudy Soffo first saw the RDC basketball Kings roster he was… Continue reading

Except for 1 kick, Saints, Ravens are evenly matched

BALTIMORE — In a matchup between the league’s highest-scoring offence and top-ranked… Continue reading

Julia Louis-Dreyfus gets a top award for comedy

WASHINGTON — After a 35-year acting career and with two iconic television… Continue reading

Ricky Skaggs, Dottie West enter Country Music Hall of Fame

NASHVILLE — Bluegrass and country star Ricky Skaggs, singer Dottie West and… Continue reading

AP Exclusive: Stephen Hawking’s wheelchair, thesis for sale

LONDON — Stephen Hawking was a cosmic visionary, a figure of inspiration… Continue reading

Canada deemed U.S. a safe country for asylum seekers after internal review

OTTAWA — Canadian immigration officials have determined that the United States remains… Continue reading

Bombardier sues Mitsubishi over alleged theft of aircraft trade secrets

MONTREAL — Bombardier is suing Mitsubishi Aircraft in the United States over… Continue reading

Three strong earthquakes reported in Pacific Ocean off Vancouver Island

Three relatively strong earthquakes were recorded Sunday night in the Pacific Ocean… Continue reading

Most Read