A judge has ruled that the man who randomly killed a Florida couple in his garage suffers from insanity and will be sent to a mental hospital for treatment. The attack occurred six years ago when the man also bit the face of one of the victims.
Austin Harrouff, 25, has pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity to two counts of first-degree murder and other charges in the 2016 deaths of John Stevens, 59, and his wife, Michelle Mishcon Stevens, 53 seriously injured a neighbor who tried to help the couple.
Harrouff, a Florida State University alumnus, will be admitted to a psychiatric hospital until doctors and a judge determine that he is no longer dangerous. Had the trial continued, Harrouff would have faced life in prison.
What’s the whole matter?
On the night of August 15, 2016, Austin Harrouff stormed out of Duffy’s Bar & Grill in Jupiter, where he was having dinner with his family, and went to his mother’s house, where he reportedly drank cooking oil and was acting strangely.
After his mother found him and took him back to the restaurant, he got into an argument with his father and left again, walking through town until he reached the Tequesta home of Stevens and Mishcon, just north of the line. Palm Beach County.
Cindy Mishcon, whose sister was killed, said Harrouff and his family tried to pose as the victim, when in fact he was a “cold-blooded killer,” according to the Associated Press. “Here we are opening the prison doors for a double murderer,” said attorney Mishcon.
Who Were Austin Harrouff’s victims?
Austin Harrouff, 25, pleaded insanity by pleading not guilty to the deaths of John Stevens and Michelle Mishcon Stevens, 59 and 53, respectively, who were in the garage of their home in Tequesta, Florida when in August 2016 the young man entered and attacked them for no apparent reason.
The judge in the case, Sherwood Bauer, from Martin County (eastern Florida), accepted the declaration of insanity and the agreement of the Prosecutor’s Office and the defense, which prevented the continuation of a trial whose oral hearing began this Monday.
Harrouff could have been sentenced to life in prison without the right to probation on the two counts of the murder of the Stevens and one of the attempted murder of a neighbour of the Stevens, Jeff Fisher, who came to the scene when he heard the screams of the victims.
According to police reports, police were only able to remove it from Stevens’ body using a taser, a trained dog, and the force of three officers. Harrouff told officers that a demon was chasing him and that he was trying to run away.
In the first phase of the investigation after the murders, the Police handled the thesis that Harrouff had consumed a synthetic drug known as “flakka”, but no trace of that substance was found in his blood. Doctors who testified before the oral phase of the trial on the young man’s behalf said he was in the midst of an “acute” psychotic episode and thought he was “half man, half dog” when he attacked the couple.
Who is Austin Harrouff?
Austin Harrouff, now 25, was born in Palm Beach Gardens and grew up in north Palm Beach County. Frat boy and football player Austin Harrouff was born on December 21, 1996. He lived with his mother and his younger sister since he was 13, when his parents divorced, but he remained in contact with his father and visited him regularly.
While attending Florida State University, Harrouff attacked and killed a couple in his garage, during which he claims to have passed out. Police found the then 19-year-old at the crime scene on top of 59-year-old John Stevens, biting his face.
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