HR Killer : the first killer of the financial crisis ?

"HR Killer" is an original series of the podcast "L'Affaire", produced by Paradiso media. Broadcast in June 2023, it has gathered over 350,000 listens.
Published on April 09, 2024

« Fear must change sides ». At the age of 35 and after two successive layoffs in the midst of the global financial crisis, this is what Gabriel Fortin, an unemployed French engineer, wrote in the many notes he left behind.

His name isn’t as well known to the public as those of famous criminals. His nickname, on the other hand, is a little better known. Gabriel Fortin is what the media call the « HR Killer ». On June 28, 2023, the Valence Assize Court (Drôme) found him guilty of shooting dead an employment consultant, two human resources managers and attempting to kill a third. Sentenced to life imprisonment, he has appealed the decision and will be tried again in May 2024.

With the help of numerous testimonies and exclusive personal notes, legal journalist Marion Dubreuil retraces the journey of the murderer who never wanted to talk.

In this 10-episode podcast, forensic journalist Marion Dubreuil seeks to understand what’s inside the head of the killer who won’t talk. The origins of this 1700 km murderous journey in 2021, from the Grand-Est to the Rhône Alpes region, seem to lie in G.Fortin’s first dismissal 15 years earlier, in the midst of the global financial crisis.

Since his arrest and during his three-week trial in June 2023, he has kept silent and said nothing. He leaves it to the investigators, the examining magistrate, the experts and the civil parties to fill in the mystery of his cold, methodical vengeance. Not least thanks to the notes and millions of files he has compiled on his computer, or those he writes down in a notebook while in custody. A total of 8 million files have been found. They document 15 years of vengeance planning and personal reflections, as well as the schedules, addresses and home plans of his potential victims.

These notes are read in this documentary series, illuminated by the testimonies of members of his entourage and several of his victims’ relatives, many of whom had never spoken before testifying in these episodes.

An in-depth analysis of Gabriel Fortin’s trajectory to understand its deep roots

Gabriel Fortin’s notebooks and these interviews provide a portrait of the first alleged killer of a global economic crisis, with a complex profile: between social plans, frustrated ambitions, reproaches towards society and those close to him, feelings of revenge and conspiracy. The challenge of the trial is to measure the degree to which his discernment has been impaired.

Is Gabriel Fortin a cold-blooded criminal or a man whose judgment is impaired by paranoia? What might Gabriel Fortin’s death toll have been, and why did he go through with it? What do they say about the violence of the professional world? Our society’s relationship with work? The injunctions to succeed?

These are the questions this audio documentary series seeks to answer.

To find out more about this podcast and its adaptation, visit the Podcast to Screen page.

Marion Dubreuil is a legal journalist at RMC. Since 2016, she has covered numerous criminal cases and several assize trials: the Lelandais affair, the Nice bombing trial, the rape trial of ex-secretary of state Georges Tron and Bruno Garcia’s trial for the feminicide of Julie Douib.