According to psychiatrist Gilles Chamberland, Carl Girouard had been in delusions of grandeur for years, culminating in the Halloween attack. A murderous journey that had nothing to do with the desire for fame and that can only be explained with the psychosis hypothesis.
• Also read: Quebec Halloween Bombing: The “real Carl” and the “Carl of the mission” at the center of cross-examination
Veteran psychiatrist Gilles Chamberland met twice with the Halloween killer in spring 2021, at the request of defense counsel, to assess the defendant’s mental state at the time of the crime. In his report to the jury, the expert witness a priori affirmed that Carl Girouard was “on the autism spectrum,” based on the analyzes of a child psychiatrist who met the defendant when he was 12 years old.
“He got everything from that presentation,” he argued, referring to his difficulties expressing himself or forming a relationship. “What I hypothesize will happen next is that the disease will self-structure.”
According to the 2008 report, Girouard “reveled in the idea of grandiosity from an early age” and “wanted to change the world” in the manner of video game heroes. “It’s almost a premonition, at the age of 12 we already have the embryo of what’s going to happen,” he told the jury.
As a teenager, Dr. Chamberland a loss of the defendant’s achievements: dropping out of school, losing his social network and loneliness. “When schizophrenia develops, that’s exactly what we observe, we call it a descent down the social ladder,” he said, referring to the use of cannabis as an accelerator.
At 16, he bought his first Japanese sword and began “comparing himself to his video game character with the idea of hurting people with this bladed weapon.” The structure of “the two Carls” is then refined with the purchase of 20 katanas and costumes that he refines.
“This person sees himself killing defenseless people with a sword. He’s the one who’s brave.” He therefore sees himself as a “wolf” while his victims are “sheep,” the psychiatrist continues to analyze.
“If that’s not delirium, I don’t know what it is!” the expert started categorically. For Gilles Chamberland, Girouard was then in a psychotic delirium “in a grandiose mode”.
According to the psychiatrist, “everything changed” with the pandemic, with Girouard quitting work and receiving unemployment insurance benefits. “He’s consuming a lot more, he’s constantly engrossed in his video games.”
Symbols like Halloween, the full moon, Old Quebec, and the idea of hitting a bang before age 25 become very important in his delirium. “It’s clear it’s being ambushed by something we can’t understand.”
“If we don’t have the hypothesis of the disease, there are things we can never explain.” “This psychosis meant that he could not know whether the actions he was doing were good or bad,” he concludes in his report.
Despite his delirium, Dr. Chamberland continued that the defendant’s “healthy side” remained present and did so until the evening of the tragedy, as his thinking was “fragmented”. He illustrates his reluctance to act and his hot flashes.
“He can’t have emotions, they’re sensations,” referring to the spectrum of autism.
He can also explain why Girouard’s mission was suddenly watered down after Suzanne Clermont’s murder. “At some point, reality sets in,” he explains.
dr Chamberland will continue his testimony on Monday, after which he will be questioned by the Crown, which will also convene its own experts.