MARTIN COUNTY, Fla. (TCD) — A 25-year-old man pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity for stabbing and killing a couple in their garage in 2016 and biting the dead man’s face.
Martin County court records show Austin Kelly Harrouff entered the plea Monday, Nov. 28, on charges of two counts of first-degree murder with a weapon, attempted first-degree murder with a weapon, two counts of second-degree murder, and burglary of a dwelling with an assault or battery while armed. A judge accepted the plea and ordered him to be committed to a facility.
On Aug. 15, 2016, Martin County Sheriff’s deputies responded to the 19000 block of SE Kokomo Lane regarding a double homicide. The Martin County Sheriff’s Office identified the suspect as Austin Harrouff, who was 19 years old at the time, and the victims as John Stevens and Michelle Mishcon. A neighbor, Jeffrey Fisher, was reportedly also injured while trying to stop the attack on Stevens and Mishcon.
Harrouff remained in the hospital until Oct. 3, 2016, when he was released and officially taken into custody.
According to NBC Miami, on the night Stevens and Mishcon were killed, Harrouff went to dinner with his parents but became upset because the food was taking a long time. Surveillance footage shared by the Martin County Sheriff’s Office shows Harrouff walking out of the restaurant. Not long after that, the call came in about the murder on Kokomo Lane.
NBC Miami reports Mishcon and Stevens often sat in their garage with the door open and talked with passersby.
Martin County Sheriff William Snyder said the first deputy who arrived reportedly “realized that the offender was actually biting the victim in the face and causing what turned out to be some substantial trauma to his face from bite marks.”
According to WPTV-TV, Snyder said officials “had to get the flesh out of his teeth.”
The deputy reportedly used a Taser on Harrouff, but it “didn’t faze him,” according to NBC Miami.
Snyder reportedly said, “She tried pulling him off Stevens’ body but couldn’t. Other deputies arrived shortly along with a dog and it took all of them to subdue Harrouff. Snyder said they didn’t shoot, fearing their bullets would strike the victim.”
Snyder said Harrouff was “abnormally strong,” but drug tests after his hospitalization showed he did not have any drugs in his system.
At the hearing Monday, Nov. 28, Mishcon’s sister, Cindy Mishcon, said in her victim impact statement, “Is it really so hard for you to understand that you are a cold-blooded murderer and not a victim?”
State of Florida vs. Austin Kelly HarrouffJudge accepts insanity plea deal for man in face-biting case – The Associated PressMCSO INVESTIGATING DOUBLE MURDER IN TEQUESTA, 8/25/2016 – Martin County Sheriff’s OfficeStudent Accused of Martin County Face-Eating Attack Claimed Superpowers: Police Report, 8/16/2016 – NBC MiamiAustin Harrouff believed he had superpowers, his mother tells Jupiter Police, 8/18/2016 – WPTVTwo Killed, Another Injured at Martin County Home Where Man Found Eating Victim’s Face, 8/16/2016 – NBC MiamiMAN WHO BRUTALLY MURDERED JUPITER COUPLE RELEASED FROM HOSPITAL, CHARGED WITH TWO COUNTS OF FIRST DEGREE MURDER, 10/3/2016 – Martin County Sheriff’s OfficeUPDATE ON DOUBLE HOMICIDE ON KOKOMO LANE, 8/19/2016 – Martin County Sheriff’s Office
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