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QUEBEC CITY — The trial of saber killer Carl Girouard resumed Tuesday, after a five-day hiatus due to COVID-19, with chilling testimonies from several surviving victims.

On October 31, 2020, Rémy Bélanger takes a simple walk in Old Quebec. Around 10 p.m., he was near the Château Frontenac when a man in disguise came towards him, a sword in his hand.

At first believing in the joke, Mr. Bélanger chooses to ignore the man. He then sees him raise his saber and feels blows to his head, hand and back.

Mr. Bélanger shouted for help, in French and in English, and walked, bloodied, towards two people who fled when they saw him. He has the presence of mind to recover his index finger on the ground.

He manages to get to the Château Frontenac, where employees come to his aid. As he is a musician, and his fingers are severed, the doctors send him to be treated in Montreal.

Back in Quebec, Rémy Bélanger was hospitalized for two weeks, then he spent three months at the rehabilitation institute.

Pierre Lagrevol and Lisa Mahmoud also have the misfortune to meet Girouard on October 31, 2020. He is dressed all in black and appears to them “very calm”.

Girouard remains “very serene” as he methodically and thoughtfully strikes them with his sword, according to Mr. Lagrevol, who is injured in the head and shoulder.

Was there rage in his face? wanted to know the defense lawyer, Me Pierre Gagnon. Were his eyes frowning? “No, he was not in shock mode,” replied Pierre Lagrevol.

Recall that Girouard has already admitted to having killed two innocent bystanders with a saber that evening, and admits to having injured five others. But he pleads not responsible because of mental disorder.

A minor witness said on Tuesday, in response to a question from Me Gagnon, that he saw the killer “froze” as he approached his victims. He seemed to “enjoy” it.

For her part, Lisa Mahmoud remembers having smiled at Carl Girouard before receiving 13-14 sword strokes. She yelled at him, “What are you doing?” but his attacker remained silent.

“He was going to put his saber in my neck. That’s when Peter shouted again with all his might. (…) I had time to get up and run. Pierre shot me (…) and we fled,” she said.

Today, Ms. Mahmoud has “serious sleep problems”. She couldn’t go back to her job as a hairdresser.

Another victim, Gilberto Porras, is with three friends on Halloween night. They see Girouard who stands in front of them and wishes them: “Happy Halloween” before taking out his katana.

Mr. Porras understands very quickly that the weapon is not “made of rubber”. He had his head and a finger lacerated before fleeing. He spent two weeks in the hospital and underwent two surgeries.

Girouard not in crisis, suggests the Crown

On Tuesday, the court also heard the testimony of police officer Dany Gauthier, who participated in the arrest of Girouard on the night of October 31 to November 1, 2020, near Espace 400e.

“The subject throughout the intervention is calm, listens well to our instructions,” he said. Have you observed any change in behavior, wanted to know the prosecutor Me Pierre-Alexandre Bernard. “Nope.”

The Crown then suggested that Girouard was therefore not in crisis, but Judge Richard Grenier, of the Superior Court, quickly intervened to remind that the witness Gauthier should not give his opinion.

The judge welcomes the acceleration of the procedures

In addition, Me Bernard read written statements from other witnesses, including the spouse of Suzanne Clermont, who was murdered in front of her home.

“I saw that she had a deep gash in the middle of her forehead,” explained Jacques Fortin. I tried to close the wound with my hands to reunite his face.

The magistrate praised the lawyers’ efforts to speed up the proceedings, in the midst of the sixth wave of COVID-19.

Last week, two jurors tested positive for the virus. The jury therefore ended up with 10 members, the minimum threshold to avoid a mistrial.

Judge Grenier had suspended the trial until Tuesday. In the morning, he confirmed the presence of 11 jurors and urged the parties to resume “as if nothing had happened”.