A French prosecutor appealed to an appeals court on Tuesday to uphold the life sentence of a man found guilty of fatally shooting three women whom he held responsible for derailing his career. In 2021, Gabriel Fortin, an unemployed French engineer, carried out the killings, targeting two human resources directors and a job center employee, and also attempted to murder a company executive, following a series of dismissals. The brutal attack deeply shocked France, where such violent outbursts are uncommon.

In 2023, Fortin, also known as the 'HR killer', was handed a life sentence by a jury at a court in the city of Valence. The jury found him guilty of murder and attempted murder, recommending a minimum 22-year imprisonment term. Despite challenging his sentence, Fortin declined to attend the appeal trial that commenced on May 13 at the Isere Criminal Court.

During the trial, the public prosecutor, Bernard Simier, urged the court to maintain the life sentence, citing Fortin's 'complete lack of empathy towards his victims' and his adamant refusal to seek any form of treatment. Simier revealed that Fortin had undergone two psychiatric evaluations, with the latest concluding that his judgement had been impaired at the time of the attacks. He expressed hope that this evaluation would not lead to a reduction in the sentence.

In the 2023 trial, Fortin asserted that he had fallen victim to surveillance and machinations that ultimately led to his dismissal from jobs. Although the jury acknowledged that his judgement had been affected by a mental disorder, they did not lessen the severity of the sentence. Fortin chose to abstain from making any statement himself, deferring to his legal representatives.

Fortin's lawyer, Bertrand Sayn, remarked that his client was tormented by his lapses in judgement, emphasizing that Fortin was unwell. Sayn conveyed Fortin's belief that he was a target of conspiracies but refuted claims that he would pose a threat upon release. The final verdict is anticipated later on Tuesday.

Laurence Buisson, representing Bertrand Meichel, the sole survivor of the attacks, stated, 'We implore, devoid of animosity or leniency, for this individual to be permanently and conclusively ostracized from society.' Investigators, who pored over numerous notes discovered at Fortin's residence, suspect that he may have intended to target several other individuals had he not been apprehended. The victims were chosen based on their association with his termination or his failure to secure alternative employment. HR manager Luce, a mother of two, was fatally shot in the parking lot of her workplace in the Haut-Rhin region of eastern France on January 26, 2021.

On the same day, Fortin shot and injured Meichel, an executive involved in his dismissal, at his residence. Two days later, on January 28, Fortin fatally shot Patricia Pasquion, an executive at France's national employment agency in Valence, and Geraldine Caclin, the head of human resources at the firm Faun Environment.