Quebec Halloween sword attack suspect says 'bad' version of him committed murder

·2 min read

QUEBEC — The man accused of stalking the streets of Old Quebec on Halloween 2020 and murdering two people with a sword insisted Thursday that there were two competing versions of himself that night who were fighting for control.

Under cross-examination by the Crown, Carl Girouard pinned the blame for the murders on the "bad Carl," whom he said had been obsessed with a mission to kill since about age 18.

“It’s a part of me because I had two Carls within me," the accused testified, adding that it was the other version of him that carried out the attack.

“It’s not Carl Girouard that would’ve done something like this — it’s impossible,” he said.

Girouard, 26, is charged with two counts of first-degree murder in the deaths of François Duchesne, 56, and Suzanne Clermont, 61, on Oct. 31, 2020, and he is also charged with five counts of attempted murder. He admits to killing Duchesne and Clermont and injuring five others, but he argues he was not criminally responsible because he was suffering from a mental disorder.

The Crown has argued the attacks were premeditated and Girouard had made it known as early as 2014 that he planned to kill people with a sword.

Girouard insisted there were two versions of him — a normal one who worked and went about his life and a second version that was withdrawn and laser-focused on a mission to create chaos.

He told prosecutor François Godin that the version of himself who wanted to kill had ceased to exist a few days after the 2020 murders. The accused told the jury that on the night of the killings, he wasn't hearing voices or hallucinating. He said he remembers much of what happened on Oct. 31, 2020, but he said he couldn't explain what the "bad" Carl was thinking at the time.

"It is difficult for me to get back into the mind of the Carl Girouard of the mission," he said.

Girouard has said his original plan was to attack people inside Le Château Frontenac hotel, in the historic district of the provincial capital. Finding the hotel door locked, he left the property briefly before returning and attacking people on the streets near the hotel. He was armed with a Japanese-style sword called a katana with a 76.9-centimetre blade and wore black clothing and a short-sleeved kimono.

Dr. Gilles Chamberland, a psychiatrist testifying on behalf of the defence, will take the stand on Friday.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 28, 2022.

— By Sidhartha Banerjee in Montreal.

The Canadian Press

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