Accused in Quebec City sword attack says he began to regret his ‘mission’ after second murder

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QUEBEC CITY — The man accused of murdering two people with a sword in Quebec City on Halloween night 2020 testified Wednesday that after the second murder he began to have doubts about what he called his “mission” .

Carl Girouard, 26, is charged with two counts of first-degree murder in the October 31, 2020 deaths of François Duchesne, 56, and Suzanne Clermont, 61, and he is also charged with five counts of attempted murder. murder.

He admits to having killed Duchesne and Clermont and to having injured five others, but his lawyer will argue that he was not criminally responsible at the time of the facts since he suffered from a mental disorder.

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Girouard testified that his goal was to create chaos, change the world, and encourage like-minded people – whom he called his “alter egos” – to pursue his goal. He said that when he was 18, he believed he had a “top secret” mission to kill and that his life would be sacrificed at the end of it.

After Clermont’s murder, however, he said he began to question his actions.

“I thought I would have a sense of accomplishment, but I didn’t,” Girouard told the jury. “I have decided that there should not be a single death, mine or someone else’s.”

Girouard said his original plan was to attack people inside the Chateau Frontenac hotel in the historic district of the provincial capital. Finding the door locked, he left for a while before returning and attacking people in the streets near the hotel. He was armed with a Japanese-style sword called a katana with a 76.9 centimeter blade and wore black clothes and a short-sleeved kimono.

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Girouard told the court he was scared when he arrived in Quebec and did not want to go ahead with his plan, but felt he had no choice. He described the killings as a duty.

“I went against my will, I didn’t want to, but I had to,” Girouard said. “I saw many people and attacked them with my sword to carry out my mission.”

Chained and handcuffed in the witness box, he told the court that the attack had to take place on Halloween because there would be a full moon. He said he chose Old Quebec because its historic buildings and statues reminded him of the medieval video games he loved.

Girouard said part of his plan was to kill his family and burn down their house before driving to Quebec, which is why police found gas canisters in his car. He didn’t follow the ritual. “I thought to myself that it was not necessary,” he said.

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Earlier, he told the court that he became obsessed with video games as a teenager – especially those involving swords and knives – and started mixing reality and video games. He said he remembers thinking “we should live like in video games”.

Responding to questions from his lawyer, Pierre Gagnon, Girouard described himself as two different people – one who went to work and lived in the real world and the other who was mission-oriented.

Gagnon asked which Girouard was talking to the jury.

“There is a Carl Girouard who is with you today, who loves to make people laugh and help others,” Girouard said. “It’s different from Carl Girouard of the mission, who feels obliged to isolate himself. But that’s in the past. There is no more Carl Girouard from the mission.

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Obsession with his plan caused him to quit his job frequently when he felt his co-workers were trying to get to know him. He said he avoids close relationships in order to stay focused on his goal. After the COVID-19 pandemic, he quit his job and played video games.

Girouard’s mother, Monique Dalphond, told the court earlier that her son had a long history of problems. She said he had been cited for inappropriate behavior from elementary school, adding that a child psychologist had intervened and that Girouard had been medicated for some time.

She told the court her son got a credit card when he was 18 and spent his money collecting katana swords and samurai outfits – his only interests, she said, aside from video games. Girouard, she added, had “no real friends, girlfriends or social life”.

Dalphond told the court she first heard about her son’s plan when police knocked on her door after the attacks.

The Crown, which has argued that Girouard made known his plan to kill people with a sword as early as 2014, will continue its cross-examination on Thursday.

This report from The Canadian Press was first published on April 27, 2022.

— By Sidhartha Banerjee in Montreal.

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