Mercader later testified at his trial:
I laid my raincoat on the table in such a way as to be able to remove the ice axe which was in the pocket. I decided not to miss the wonderful opportunity that presented itself. The moment Trotsky began reading the article, he gave me my chance; I took out the ice axe from the raincoat, gripped it in my hand and, with my eyes closed, dealt him a terrible blow on the head.
According to Joseph Cannon, the secretary of the Socialist Workers Party (USA), Trotsky's last words were "I will not survive this attack. Stalin has finally accomplished the task he attempted unsuccessfully before."
Trotsky, who didn't shrink from murder and brutality in pursuit of his utopian fata morgana, met his end brutally. Live by the sword, die by the sword.