Calgary MP wants review regarding release of those found not criminally responsible for murder

Conservative Calgary MP Stephanie Kusie wants a review of decisions to release individuals into the community after being found not criminally responsible for murder.

The request stems from the case of Matthew de Grood, who in 2014 stabbed five young people to death at a house party in northwest Calgary.

The families of the victims — Zackariah Rathwell, 21; Jordan Segura, 22; Kaitlin Perras, 23; Josh Hunter, 23; and Lawrence Hong, 27 — joined Kusie for the statement on Tuesday.

“The families standing here with me today, as well as the Canadian public, deserve the assurance that those individuals found not criminally responsible for violent crimes, and released into society, will not pose a substantial risk to public safety,” she said.

De Grood was treated for mental illness in hospital, and last year he was allowed unsupervised visits in Edmonton. He will have another hearing before the provincial review board in the fall.

Kusie wants the House of Commons standing committee on justice and human rights to decide if review boards are really the best way to determine if public safety is at risk, when these offenders are allowed back into the community.

Her motion includes several points, including the following:

“Whether the review boards are properly ensuring that public safety is the paramount consideration with respect to decisions, regarding the supervised or unsupervised release of violent individuals that have committed murder, and have been deemed to be not criminally responsible.”

Matthew de Grood was found not criminally responsible for the stabbing death of five young people at a house party in 2014. (Canadian Press)

Kusie says the victims’ families believe de Grood is still a high risk.

She wants the committee to commit to a series of meetings to examine the issue, asking that the standing committee on justice and human rights undertake a study of “no fewer than four meetings” to examine decisions from provincial review boards.

A judge in 2016 found de Grood not criminally responsible for the killings because he was suffering from schizophrenia at the time.

A trial heard that de Grood, who was then 22, believed that the devil was talking to him. He believed that a war was about to begin, signalling the end of the world, when he arrived at the Calgary party, which was being held to mark the end of the school year.