Filipino parents believe son’s killer will be free soon

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    By Darlene Casten

    The decision to move their son’s killer to an Edmonton psychiatric hospital for

    increased reintegration into society has a Filipino family feeling hopeless.

    The Alberta Review Board released it’s decision for Matthew de Grood Oct 3.

    de Grood was found not criminally responsible for the killing of five university

    friends at a gathering April 15, 2014. He was diagnosed with PTSD, major

    depressive order and schizophrenia, which is now in full remission.

    The review board decision will see de Grood move to the Edmonton hospital and

    likely into a halfway house within the next year.

    Marlene and Lorenzo Hong’s son Lawrence was one of the five people killed at the

    party four years ago.

    They say the system doesn’t listen to the concerns of the victim’s families.

    “It is the Canadian system,” says Marlene. “What can I do? Can anyone change it?

    Other cases with people found not criminally responsible have also had notoriety,

    but in the end nothing changes, she says.

    “NCR victims before us had done a lot but the news just died,” says Marlene.

    A disposition before a six-panel board was held Sept. 7 in a Calgary courtroom.

    In their decision the panel members expressed concerns over de Grood’s

    psychiatrist meeting with the victim’s families and incorporating their concerns into

    his recommendations.

    “Dr. Santana’s duty to his patient is paramount,” the review board recommendations

    read. “The recommended Conditions and Privileges are to the be the least onerous

    provided that they address the paramount consideration of the safety of the public.”

    The panel reflected on de Grood’s psychiatric team’s recommendations to keep him

    in Calgary, but concluded it would be a “toxic” environment for him to be in.

    They noted that a Calgary dentist rejected de Grood for treatment because of his

    notoriety in the community and his family fears media scrutiny and the victim’s

    families continue to keep his case in the news, the report concluded.

    Alberta Hospital Edmonton also has additional programs, not offered in Calgary,

    where de Grood has completed all available programming and even helped facilitate

    a psych education course with staff.

    The board allowed for de Grood to have unsupervised use of the hospital grounds

    and supervised visits around Edmonton.

    de Grood has annual hearings to determine his conditions and privileges, but his

    team can ask for an early hearing if they want to make additional changes.