NEWS
05/22/2014 10:34 EDT | Updated 07/22/2014 05:59 EDT

Matthew de Grood, accused in Calgary stabbings, to appear in court

The man accused of killing five young people at a party last month in northwest Calgary is scheduled to be in court Thursday morning.

Matthew deGrood, 22, was charged with five counts of first-degree murder after five people were stabbed to death at an end-of-semester party in Brentwood near the University of Calgary campus on April 15.

Lawrence Hong, 27, Joshua Hunter, 23, Kaitlin Perras, 23, Zackariah Rathwell, 21, and ​Jordan Segura, 22 were killed in the early morning attack.

De Grood has been undergoing a 30-day mental health assessment at a secure psychiatric facility in Calgary.

The psychiatric review was requested by Crown prosecutors in the case, who have been brought in from Edmonton.

Assessment explained

Dr. Kenneth Hashman, the head of forensic psychiatry services for southern Alberta, says the assessment will make sure de Grood understands he will be appearing in a courtroom, that he understands the charges against him and that he is able to communicate with his lawyer.

"If the court decides that a person is unfit to stand trial, they then fall under the authority of the Alberta Review Board and they have to appear in front of them within 45 days for further determinations," he said in an earlier interview.

Hashman says if a patient has no history of mental illness, then psychiatrists will collect information through a series of tests over a period of 30 days. But even if the accused is found fit for trial, they can still be found not criminally responsible if they were mentally ill at the time of the alleged criminal actions.

Allan Fay, de Grood's lawyer, confirmed he will be looking into whether de Grood could be considered not criminally responsible for the killings.

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