QUEBEC — Police and first responders who engaged with the man accused in Quebec City's Halloween 2020 stabbing murders encountered a serene suspect who kept quiet under hours of questioning, a jury trial heard Wednesday.
Carl Girouard was described by a series of witnesses as calm, co-operative and attentive as he was placed under arrest, taken to hospital, and later, transported to a detention facility to be interrogated.
Girouard, 26, is charged with two counts of first-degree murder in the killings of Suzanne Clermont, 61, and François Duchesne, 56, in the historic Old Quebec district on Oct. 31, 2020. He is also charged with five counts of attempted murder for allegedly injuring five other people with a sword that night.
The judge has told jurors that Girouard admits to the physical acts but will argue he was not criminally responsible at the time of the events because he was suffering from a mental disorder.
One of the officers who arrested Girouard, Const. Audrey Boulet, said he was compliant and appeared coherent moments after she took him into custody in the early hours of Nov. 1, 2020.
Boulet told the court that when she and her partner, Dany Gauthier, approached Girouard, the suspect seemed to have been waiting for the arrival of police. They told him to drop his sword and he obeyed, Boulet said, adding that Girouard was listening to her orders as he was being handcuffed.
Boulet said Girouard did not have identification and refused to give his name; instead, he told her to check his 2006 black Saturn vehicle parked near the Château Frontenac hotel.
She testified that she was with Girouard for several hours after his arrest, including in hospital, where he was taken as a precaution. Boulet said she escorted him to a detention centre after he was discharged.
“According to our observations, he was calm; he complied with orders that he was given,” Boulet said. “There were no disjointed comments, no incoherent talk during our observations."
The jury also heard Wednesday from Pierre-Luc Laflamme, a paramedic who tended to Girouard after his arrest, who also described the suspect's demeanour as calm following the sword attacks.
Laflamme said Girouard answered his questions but then suddenly stopped responding. "It was a call like any other; that's what was strange," Laflamme said, testifying that he had expected to encounter someone less collaborative.
Also Wednesday, a Quebec City detective who questioned Girouard for more than five hours said the accused maintained his silence throughout the interrogation. Lt.-Det. David Gionet said the suspect made visual contact and appeared to understand what he was being told.
Gionet, however, said he was unable to get Girouard to answer questions despite trying a variety of methods to establish a connection with the suspect. He noted that the only time Girouard spoke in his presence was to request his lawyer.
The trial resumes Thursday with testimony from a forensic pathologist.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 20, 2022.
— By Sidhartha Banerjee in Montreal.
The Canadian Press