Florida Cannibal found not guilty of 2016 killing of couple

Cannibal frat boy, 25, who randomly killed Florida couple and chewed the man’s face off is NOT GUILTY by reason of insanity: He will be sent to mental hospital after murdering victims in their garage while believing he was ‘chased by demon’

  • Austin Harrouff will be sent to a mental facility for the 2016 Florida double killing
  • A Florida judge ruled that he was not guilty by reason of insanity
  • Harrouff killed John and Michelle Stevens before trying to eat John’s face
  • He drank chemicals in their garage making him seriously ill and delaying the trial
  • Harrouff believed God and demons were talking to him before the murders 
  • Both the defense and prosecution have agreed he was in a psychotic state
  • His attorneys have previously said it is unlikely that he would ever be released 

A 25-year-old accused of randomly attacking and killing a couple in their garage before eating one of their faces will be sent to a mental hospital instead of prison. 

On Monday afternoon Austin Harrouff was found not guilty by reason of insanity for the 2016 murder of John Stevens, 59, and his wife Michelle Mishcon Stevens, 53, at their home in Florida.

Since the incident Harrouff has said that cannot remember the details but believed God and demons were talking to him as attacked them. 

The decision was made during the first and final day of a trial that was expected to last three weeks.

Harrouff was a 19-year-old student at Florida State University when he killed the couple and stabbed a neighbor that came to help them, prosecutors say.

Two years after entering a not guilty plea on the grounds of insanity in 2020 it was accepted by Circuit Judge Sherwood Bauer in Martin County, Florida.

His ruling meant that Harrouff would be involuntarily committed into the custody of the Department of Children and Families for placement in a secured mental health facility. 

Accused of a double murder Austin Harrouff stands in court before Circuit Judge Sherwood Bauer at the Martin County Courthouse on Monday

Michelle and John Stevens were murdered in their garage in 2016 when Harrouff entered a mental episode and thought he was ‘half dog, half man’

Harrouff is pictured here being taken in custody after the murders. He begged deputies to kill him after they pulled him off John Stevens and told them ‘I ate something bad’ 

Bauer heard through documents filed in the court that in 2016 Harrouff entered a psychotic episode that left him thinking he was ‘half-dog, half-man’ when he attacked the couple near to his Florida home.

Harrouuff’s attack made national headlines for its extreme brutality. He had been out for dinner at a restaurant with his father when he began acting erratically and left.

He then walked two miles to his mother’s house where he mixed cooking oil with parmesan and attempted to drink it before his mother took him back to the restaurant.

After another altercation with his father, restaurant security footage showed Harrouff calmly leaving the restaurant 45 minutes before the attack. 

He then walked four miles towards the Stevens’ home where he entered their open garage and used their own tools to murder them.

Harrouff told TV psychiatrist Dr Phil he was escaping a demon he called Daniel and that he had only vague recollections of the killings.

He said he encountered Michelle Stevens in the couple’s garage. She screamed, and ‘then it’s a blur,’ he said.

‘I don’t remember what she said – I just remember being yelled at,’ Harrouff said.

He said he grabbed a machete but doesn’t remember why he killed her and her husband. He drank a range of additional chemicals in the couple’s garage that caused him critical injuries.

When police arrived at the house they found the couple dead and Harrouff biting at John’s face. Police said that they were threatening Harrouff with a dog, tasing him and kicking him in the head to get him to stop. 

Evidence provided to the court as the mental state of Austin Harrouff was being determined

Harrouff was a 19-year-old student at Florida State University when he killed the couple (pictured) and stabbed a neighbor that came to help them, prosecutors say

In his judgement, Bauer said that two mental health experts, one hired by the state and one for the defense had concluded Harrouff was not sane when he killed the couple.

Bauer noted that the Harrouff defense team and state prosecutors ‘agreed to this particular outcome, I’m sure based upon all the facts and circumstances that they had.

‘It’s a sad case, it’s an awful case,’ Bauer said.

‘But when it all gets said and done, the state and the defense have made the determination that mental intent was not formulated. It wasn’t there and therefore the defendant is technically not guilty by reason of insanity.’

Dr. Ohillipo Resnick, an expert for the defense, determined in 2019 that Harrouff was ‘actively psychotic,’ because he kept on attacking even when cops tased him and kicked him multiple times in the head.

Resnick claimed that the defendant suffered from ‘clinical lycanthropy,’ which involves believing you are a dog and explained Harrouff’s dog-like behavior. 

A knife from the scene of the murder presented as evidence

A wine bottle opener retrieved from the scene of the Stevens’ murder in August 2016

Workers at the crime scene remove furniture from the garage in which Michelle Stevens was found

If found guilty Harrouff would have been sentenced to live in prison without parole as prosecutors had already chosen not to pursue the death penalty.

This comes almost two years after Harrouff entered his not guilty plea back in 2020. 

At the time prosecution psychiatrist Dr. Gregory C. Landrum said Harrouff was legally insane when he fatally attacked Michelle and John Stevens outside their home in August 2016.

Landrum noted at the time that Harrouff was being treated for schizophrenia when he was jailed.

The psychiatrist’s finding bolsters the case of Harrouff’s attorneys, who are planning to argue the 23-year-old should be found not guilty by reason of insanity at his murder trial, which is scheduled for May.

Landrum’s conclusion was that Harrouff was ‘unable to distinguish right from wrong’ when he killed the couple – the legal standard in Florida for being found not guilty by reason of insanity.

The trial was significantly delayed by the pandemic and Harrouff’s slow recovery from critical injuries he sustained while drinking chemicals at the time of the attack.

He will now be committed to a state mental hospital and his attorneys have previously conceded it is unlikely that he would ever be released. 

Austin Harrouff is transported by detectives to the Martin County Jail in 2016

Source: Read Full Article