HomeDomesticQuebec City sword attacker sentenced to life in prison

Quebec City sword attacker sentenced to life in prison

The man who killed two people and attacked five more with a sword in Quebec City on Oct. 31, 2020 has been sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole for 25 years.

Carl Girouard, 26, was found guilty of first-degree murder in the deaths of François Duchesne, 56, and Suzanne Clermont, 61, by a jury on May 20.

“You took the lives of two people and you destroyed the lives of many [more],” Quebec Superior Court Justice Richard Grenier told Girouard before handing down the sentence.

Sporting a shaved head and an orange shirt, the young man sat still and looked at the floor as he listened to statements from his victims’ families.

Speaking via video-conference all the way from Paris, Duchesne’s sister, Marie-Josée, gave an emotional account about how her life had changed since her brother was murdered.

“Sadness overcomes me whenever I think about him,” she testified. “Without him the world isn’t as beautiful.”

Family members of François Duchesne, 56, and Suzanne Clermont, 61, wrote statements to express their pain. (Radio-Canada)

Clermont’s sister-in-law, Marie-Claude Veilleux, who was present in the courtroom and who also attended every day of Girouard’s trial, took the stand.

“I am asking you to listen to me, Mister Girouard,” she said with her back facing him.

She told him she hoped he wouldn’t cover his ears with his hands as she spoke, something she accused him of doing during the trial to “fake a mental illness.”

She said Clermont had been a generous, loving and bubbly person who enjoyed life and embodied the lifestyle that Girouard had aspired to but never achieved.

She said she was happy he would be going to prison for life and that she hoped he would take that time to reflect on “all the evil” he had committed and do some introspective work on himself.

“You’ll have to stop blaming the ‘Bad Carl’ for your actions,” she said. “You’ll have to accept that you are the ‘Bad Carl.'”

Two more of Girouard’s victims were present in the audience but opted not to submit victim-impact statements.

The sentencing hearing lasted just under an hour. A conviction for first-degree murder carries an automatic life sentence with no possibility of parole for 25 years. Neither the defence nor the Crown presented arguments to the judge.

The Supreme Court of Canada recently ruled against so-called parole-stacking, saying it was unconstitutional to sentence someone to multiple consecutive periods of parole ineligibility even if they killed more people.

Girouard shook his head and remained silent when the judge asked him if he wanted to say anything.

Judge Grenier acknowledged that the young man has mental health issues and advised him to seek help while he is in detention.

Defence files appeal

Pierre Gagnon, the lawyer for Carl Girouard, filed an appeal on Friday morning, right before his client’s sentencing hearing. (Emilie Warren/CBC News)

Girouard’s lawyer, Pierre Gagnon, filed an appeal of his client’s guilty verdict earlier Friday morning.

“We thought it was preferable that he doesn’t speak to the court today since [we] just went to appeal,” he said.

One of the arguments for the appeal includes the judge not allowing the defence to question a Crown expert witness about his work in a previous case.

Other reasons include the judge omitting to tell the jury that they shouldn’t take certain elements of witness testimony into consideration when deliberating.

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