Who is Gabriel Fortin? The "HR Killer" Facing Life Sentence for Workplace Murders

Gabriel Fortin has been convicted of fatally shooting three women and attempting to kill another

A French prosecutor on Tuesday called for an appeals court to uphold the life sentence of Gabriel Fortin, convicted of fatally shooting three women and attempting to kill another. The 49-year-old, dubbed the "HR killer," was sentenced in 2023 after a deadly rampage that shocked France.

In 2021, Fortin, an unemployed engineer, killed two human resources directors and a job center employee. He also attempted to murder a company executive. The murders followed a series of job dismissals that Fortin believed ruined his career.

Fortin was found guilty of murder and attempted murder by a jury in Valence. They recommended he serve a minimum of 22 years before being eligible for parole. Despite this, Fortin challenged the sentence but refused to attend his appeal trial, which started on May 13 at the Isere Criminal Court in southeastern France.

Gariel Fortin

Public prosecutor Bernard Simier urged the court to maintain Fortin's life sentence. He cited Fortin's "total lack of empathy towards his victims" and his "categorical refusal to seek any form of treatment." Simier noted that two psychiatric evaluations indicated Fortin's judgment was impaired during the attacks. However, he stressed this should not lead to a reduced sentence.

During his 2023 trial, Fortin claimed he was a victim of espionage and conspiracies that led to his job losses. The jury acknowledged his impaired judgment but did not lessen his sentence. Fortin had little to say during the trial, leaving his defense to his lawyers. His attorney, Bertrand Sayn, argued Fortin was "haunted by his errors of judgement" and believed he was a victim of conspiracies. Sayn insisted Fortin would not reoffend if released.

The ruling is expected later Tuesday. Laurence Buisson, lawyer for Bertrand Meichel—the sole survivor of the attacks—asked for Fortin to be "definitively and irrevocably excluded from society." Investigators found extensive notes at Fortin's home, suggesting he may have planned to target others if not arrested.

The victims were attacked at their workplaces or homes. On January 26, 2021, HR manager and mother-of-two Luce was shot in her company's parking lot in Haut-Rhin. Meichel, involved in firing Fortin, was shot and wounded the same day at his home. Two days later, Fortin killed Patricia Pasquion, an executive at France's national employment agency, and Geraldine Caclin, HR head at Faun Environment in Valence.