Montreal

Quebec City sword attacker blames alter ego for killings

A Quebec City courtroom listened attentively as Carl Girouard, the man accused in the Quebec City sword attacks, talked about fighting an inner battle between two Carls — the real one, and one obsessed with his mission to kill people.

Carl Girouard says the ‘real Carl’ would never have carried out attacks

Carl Girouard took the stand again on Thursday, looking alert as he answered questions from Crown prosecutor François Godin. (Illustration by Hbé)

A Quebec City courtroom listened attentively as Carl Girouard, the man accused in the Quebec City sword attacks, talked about fighting an inner battle between two Carls — the real one, and one obsessed with a mission to kill people.

"If I had been the real Carl Girouard, I would've never done [these attacks]," the 26-year-old man testified Thursday morning.

Girouard faces two charges of first-degree murder and five of attempted murder for attacking seven people on Halloween night 2020. While he admits carrying out the attacks, he argues that he can't be held criminally responsible because of his mental state at the time.

Girouard looked alert and appeared to be on the defensive as he answered questions from Crown prosecutor François Godin.

He said the "real Carl" did all it could to stop the attacks, but he was ultimately unable to control the "Carl of the mission."

Girouard's mother, Monique Dalphond, attended her son's trial at the Quebec City courtroom on Thursday. (Dave St-Amant/CBC)

His mother, Monique Dalphond, could be heard sobbing in the audience while her son provided more details on his mindset that night.

The Crown went through Girouard's actions leading up to the attacks, asking him to explain how it could be that the mission was controlling him when he had taken steps to prepare for it.

Godin asked Girouard if in fact, it wasn't him who was in charge.

After a pause, Girouard testified it was hard for him to put himself back to that time.

He testified the acts came from him, that he wasn't hearing voices or hallucinating. But, he said, "it came from me because I had two Carls."

Quebec City police found the uneaten snack in Girouard's car. (Service de police de la Ville de Québec)

Girouard admitted to feeling very anxious and scared in the moments before he attacked people. So much so, that he wasn't able to eat the cheese and grapes he had bought at a convenience store on his way to Quebec City from Sainte-Thérèse, Que., near Montreal.

He said the other Carl was the one who forced him to keep going.

'It's a good question'

As the Crown presented more evidence from the events, the defendant repeatedly insisted he could not remember exactly what he had been thinking at the time.

He could not explain why he researched news websites before the attacks, telling Godin "it's a good question."

He denied wanting a moment of glory.

He also denied that the two trips he made to Quebec City in 2018, where he parked in a lot near Old Quebec, were done in order to premeditate his attacks.

One of two parking tickets that Quebec City police found in Girouard's car. The tickets were for a lot at Quai Saint-André, near where he was found after the attacks. (Service de police de la Ville de Québec)

As the Crown pointed out irregularities in his testimony and asked more questions about Girouard's meeting with three psychology experts after his detention, the defendant repeatedly testified he did not remember specific details of those meetings.

"It's a good question," he reiterated, when Godin asked why he had failed to tell the jury some details about the attacks that he had told the experts.

Defence to wrap up by Monday

Girouard's lawyer, right, is seen talking to Crown prosecutor François Godin, left, on Wednesday. (Dave St-Amant/CBC)

In the afternoon, the jury heard from Sandy Lapointe, the director of professional services at the provincial detention centre in Quebec City.

Lapointe supervised Girouard while he was detained in the prison's infirmary department.

At first, the young man was very anxious and distrustful, and "didn't want to speak," she said.

But he eventually opened up more and became more relaxed after meeting with psychiatrist Gilles Chamberland in April 2021, at which point he was put on medication, she said.

She confirmed that Girouard remained obedient and calm throughout his time in detention, even before he began taking medication.

Chamberland will testify as an expert witness about Girouard's mental state Friday morning.

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