Quebec swordsman guilty of 1st degree murder

The 26-year-old man who carried out the Halloween sword attacks in Quebec City has been found guilty of two counts of first-degree murder in the deaths of Francois Duchesne, 56, and Suzanne Clermont, 61, on October 31, 2020.

The 11-person jury delivered its verdict Friday at the Quebec City courthouse, after five days of deliberation.

Carl Girouard was also found guilty of five counts of attempted murder for his attacks on five other people that night.

The Crown argued that Girouard had thought about carrying out the attacks for years and was aware of what he was doing at the time of his crimes.

Two Crown expert witnesses testified that the defendant was a hypervigilant narcissist who felt the need to do something shocking to gain public recognition.

Crown prosecutor François Godin, left, and Carl Girouard’s lawyer, Pierre Gagnon, right, made their closing arguments at the Quebec courthouse last week. (Dave St-Amant/CBC)

Girouard admitted to carrying out the attacks, but his defense team argued that he could not be held criminally responsible because he was delusional and in psychosis at the time and therefore could not distinguish the good difficulty.

During the trial, Girouard testified that he faced an inner battle between two Carls, the “real” and a “bad Carl” obsessed with a mission to kill.

The prosecution argued that Girouard could not have been delusional at the time, as he showed signs of hesitation before the attacks and expressed doubts about what he was doing after hitting his first victims.

Forensic psychiatrist Dr. Sylvain Faucher, who testified on behalf of the Crown, explained that a delirium is an irrefutable belief and that it is impossible to get out of it that quickly without medication.

Forensic psychiatrist Sylvain Faucher, left, and neuropsychologist William Pothier, right, both testified on behalf of the Crown. (Radio-Canada)

Prosecutors presented evidence suggesting that Girouard had been planning the attack since he was in his late teens: driving twice in the historic district of Quebec two years before the events, preparing his costume in advance and remove some tattoos that Girouard deemed “unclean”.

The jury, made up of four men and seven women, heard that Girouard first spoke to a social worker and school counselor about his mission when he was 18.

Girouard now faces life imprisonment and will not be eligible for parole for at least 25 years.

HI’s trial, which began on April 11, had to be delayed twice after some jurors tested positive for COVID-19.

More soon.