The Canadian man accused of wielding a katana during a deadly Halloween attack spree in Quebec City in 2020 revealed during his murder trial this week that he had no choice but to complete his “mission.”
Carl Girouard, 26, appeared in court on Wednesday for murdering François Duchesne, 56, and Suzanne Clermont, 61, and for injuring five others.
Girouard said in court that he started believing he was on a “top secret” mission to kill other people and then sacrifice his life when he was 18 years old.
In his trial, Girouard, who is from Sainte-Thérèse, a suburb in southwestern Quebec, claimed that he wanted to “create chaos, change the world and encourage like-minded people” to carry on his vision.
Girouard explained that he chose Halloween night to murder people because there was a full moon. He said that he picked the city’s historic district because the old buildings and statues reminded him of his video games.
He also revealed that his original plan was to attack the people staying inside a room at the Fairmont Le Château Frontenac, a historic hotel in Quebec. Upon realizing that the room’s door was locked, he reportedly left the building.
Armed with a 30.2-inch katana and dressed in a short-sleeved kimono, Girouard began his attack at Place d’Armes at around 10:18 p.m. when he stabbed his first victim, Rémy Bélanger, who managed to escape. Girouard then ran to Duchesne, his next victim, and killed him.
During this week’s trial, Girouard admitted he was hesitant to proceed with his plan before the attack but that he still went through with it because he was compelled to complete his mission, saying he had no choice.
“I went against my will, I didn’t want to, but I had to,” Girouard said. “I saw lots of people and I attacked them with my sword to execute my mission.”
“The mission was of the utmost importance,” he explained to jurors. “It had to be accomplished at all costs. It wasn’t a desire … it was a duty.”
After the murders, however, Girouard said he asked himself repeatedly, “What was the logic in doing that?” He then told himself that “it was already too late.”
Aside from murdering people with his katana, Girouard testified that he had also planned to kill his family and set their house on fire, which explains the gas canisters found by the authorities in his car. However, he did not proceed with this plan because he thought it “wasn’t necessary.”
Although Girouard admitted he was guilty of murdering and injuring civilians, his lawyer reportedly argued he was not criminally responsible since he was suffering from a mental disorder.
At the trial, Girouard answered questions from his lawyer, Pierre Gagnon, and claimed that he is two different people: one on a mission and one who lives in “the real world.”
“There’s a Carl Girouard that’s with you today, who likes making people laugh and helping others,” Girouard told his lawyer. “It’s different from Carl Girouard from the mission, who feels obliged to isolate himself. But that’s in the past. There’s no Carl Girouard from the mission anymore.”
Girouard is currently being held in a detention center. Gagnon will bring a psychiatrist and a guard to evaluate his client in the coming days to show the jury that the man should not be held criminally responsible for his actions, according to reports.
Girouard’s mother, Monique Dalphond, was called in as the first witness of the defense during the trial. She revealed that her son has had behavioral and mental issues since he was a child, and he began “acting inappropriately” during kindergarten when he ran after older girls in an attempt to kiss them.
Describing him as antisocial, Dalphond said her son preferred playing video games over spending time with friends. She also said that he first showed a fascination with swords and samurai costumes in 2014.
Girouard shared that he became “obsessed” with video games when he was a teenager and had trouble separating reality from fantasy.
“I needed to kill people in my mission, and the idea of that [made it] uncomfortable for me to get close to people,” Girouard said in court.
The man has reportedly been developing his plan for years. He admitted that he understood attacking people with a sword could injure them, but he said “the pain it causes people — it’s not pain, it’s necessary.” He also admitted to his former social worker as early as 2015 that he wanted to alter his plan because he was afraid of being imprisoned, according to reports.
Witnesses said Girouard was calm and cooperative
during his arrest. He has been charged with two counts of first-degree murder and five counts of attempted murder for injuring five other people.