Quebec swordsman testifies that he “needed to kill people”

The man accused of the 2020 Quebec City sword attacks testified at his murder trial on Wednesday, telling the jury that when he was 18 he became obsessed with carrying out a mission – one that required him to kill people and die.

“The mission was of the utmost importance,” Carl Girouard told the jurors. “It had to be accomplished at all costs. It was not a desire…it was a duty.”

The 26-year-old has admitted carrying out the Halloween night bombings but claims he cannot be held criminally responsible for his actions as he was mentally unstable at the time.

He told the court that over the years his goals have kept him from forming relationships with other people.

“I needed to kill people in my mission, and the idea of ​​that [made it] uncomfortable for me to get close to people.”

Dressed in a white shirt and ankle and wrist irons, Girouard spoke in the morning shortly after his mother’s testimony.

Girouard said he quit about eight to 10 factory jobs in just a few years because he didn’t want his colleagues to know him. For that same reason, he didn’t date anyone, he said.

Girouard testified that he felt like there were two Carls in his head, the real one and the one with a mission.

His notion of an alternate reality began in high school, when he was around 15 and started playing video games involving violence, fighting, swords and medieval settings, he said. .

“I would mix the world of video games with the real world,” he told the jury. He said he started thinking that school wasn’t good and that the world should be more like his video games.

A message to the “alter egos”

This photo of Carl Girouard’s bedroom, taken by Quebec provincial police on November 1, 2020, shows the so-called ‘chaos symbol’ Girouard drew on his mirror on the day of the attacks and a sword he planted in his mattress. (Quebec Sûreté)

The young man, from Sainte-Thérèse, Quebec, near Montreal, said he didn’t like the modern world.

He thought there were too many cars, thought it was weird that people didn’t say hello to each other as they passed, and thought people weren’t free because they had to dress normally.

He wanted to create chaos to change the world and inspire what he called his “alter egos” – people with similar goals – to follow his example.

That’s why he chose Halloween 2020, a night with a full moon and Old Quebec, he said. He felt the frame was good for sending a message.

Carl Girouard parked his car in front of the emblematic Château Frontenac in Quebec before committing attacks against seven people. His route is shown on the map above. (Kristy Rich/CBC)

Girouard said he initially had a few places in mind but the historic district of Quebec interested him because it reminded him of his video games with its statues and older buildings.

For him, the costume represented the freedom to show that people could dress as they wanted. Girouard said he believed other people were on similar “top secret” missions.

Behavioral problems since childhood

The first defense witness was Girouard’s mother, Monique Dalphond, who told the court that her son had had behavioral and mental problems since childhood.

He started acting inappropriately in kindergarten, she said, when he got in trouble for chasing older girls at school and trying to kiss them.

He was antisocial and had no friends or hobbies throughout his youth, she said, and instead preferred to play video games such as Call of Duty: Warzone.

She said her son first became interested in samurai swords and costumes in 2014, when he was 18 and was able to get a credit card to buy them.

“He said it was a collection,” the mother said. She testified that he constantly improved the swords.

“Of course I was worried but that’s his only interest,” she said, explaining that she hadn’t tried to stop him because he looked happy.

Monique Dalphond, the mother of Carl Girouard, who is accused of killing two people and wounding five others with a sword in Quebec in 2020, testified in court on Wednesday. (Illustration by Hbe)

In 2016, she was even more worried.

“I noticed something very disturbing: Carl was talking to himself in his shower and he was laughing alone,” she said. But when she asked him who he was talking to, he was silent.

Dalphond, who has not worked since the attacks, said his son moved in 2019.

Over the next few days, Girouard’s lawyer, Pierre Gagnon, will also bring in a psychiatrist and a guard at the detention center where his client is being held to convince the jury that Girouard cannot be held criminally responsible for the attacks.

Girouard faces two counts of first degree murder and five counts of attempted murder.

The defense is based on section 16 of the Criminal Code of Canada, which states that a person can be found not criminally responsible for a crime he committed if he suffered from a mental disorder that prevented him from understanding the nature of her actions or to realize that what she did was wrong.

The Crown, which concluded its case last week, maintains that Girouard was of sound mind and understood what he was doing.

Prosecutor François Godin should bring in a neuropsychologist and a psychiatrist in response to the defense’s evidence.