The families of five murder victims, killed at a small house party on April 15, are asking that information surrounding the deaths of their children remain under wraps until the man accused in their murder is on trial.
In a letter passed on to the media through the Calgary Police Services the parents of the murdered youths asked that the media stop pursuing a legal attempt to get more details about the case.
“We struggle to understand the benefit to the public of publicizing this information prior to a trial,” the letter reads. “We would suggest the details of this case are such that no one should want or need to hear [or] read about
them prior to them being presented in a court of law.
Our priority as we try and rebuild our lives is to protect the dignity of our lost children and try and prevent the re-victimization of the young people who were traumatized by the events of April 15, 2014. They continue to relive every detail of that night, and the last thing any of us need at this time is additional anguish and sorrow.”
Lawrence Hong, Kaitlin Perras, Jordan Segura, Joshua Hunter and Zackariah Rathwell were stabbed to death at a Brentwood house where they were celebrating the end of the post-secondary year.
Hong’s parents are immigrants from the Philippines who came to Canada in the 1990s. The Hongs have not spoken about their personal story and so far the five families have only spoken in public as a group.
Twenty two-year-old Matthew de Grood is charged with five counts of first-degree murder. He has been found fit to stand trial, but his mental state at the time of the murder is still in question.
Members of several Calgary media outlets have hired a lawyer to challenge a publication ban placed on psychological reports written about de Grood and are also requesting that the information police used to obtain a warrant be unsealed.
A decision on the media’s request has not yet been handed down.
Following is the letter sent out by the grieving families:
To Members of the Media:
We once again write to you as one voice; a group of devastated family members who have lost our children in an unimaginable way.
It’s been just seven months since we lost Joshua, Kaiti, Jordan, Lawrence and Zackariah, and while time is supposed to heal all wounds, our families and friends have yet to begin to mend.
Each and every day we relive what has happened, as do the several young people who witnessed many of the events that evening.
On Wednesday, November 26, 2014, a judge will rule whether the media’s request to unseal an information to obtain and warrants surrounding the most graphic details of the crime are granted. We can only hope our wish to have the information remain sealed until the trial is granted, however, we respect the decision of the courts in this matter.
Prior to the decision, we struggle to understand the benefit to the public of publicizing this information prior to a trial. We would suggest the details of this case are such that no one should want or need to hear [or] read about them prior to them being presented in a court of law.
Our priority as we try and rebuild our lives is to protect the dignity of our lost children and try and prevent the re-victimization of the young people who were traumatized by the events of April 15, 2014. They continue to relive every detail of that night, and the last thing any of us need at this time is additional anguish and sorrow.
The families are well aware of the important role the media plays in informing the public, including helping the Calgary Police Service appeal for witnesses and information pertaining to certain crimes. In this case, however, that assistance is not required and while we understand the details of the case will be made public at trial, we struggle with the need to obtain the information earlier.
We, the five families of the victims, oppose the release of the information and we ask for your sympathy and understanding at this time. Please, Calgary media, consider discontinuing your efforts to obtain these details.
We choose to celebrate how they lived, as opposed to glorify how they died. We implore you to do the same.
In the meantime, we are using our voice on social media to create awareness about our concerns. We feel we need to do this for our kids and their friends, and to protect the families that have been left behind.
Thank you for your consideration. We ask that you publicize this letter in its entirety.
Sincerely, The Hong family, The Perras family, The Rathwell family, The Segura family, The Hunter family.