'Cannibal frat boy' was 'insane' when he killed Florida couple and chewed off the man's face: Court documents
A Florida student who fatally attacked a couple at their home and was found chewing the face of the dying husband was legally insane at the time of the incident, new court documents have revealed.
Austin Harrouff, 22, who has been dubbed "cannibal frat boy," murdered Michelle Mischcon and John Stevens at their home on August 15, 2016, while thinking himself to be a "half-dog, half-man," and then tried to eat the latter's face, not stopping despite being kicked and tased multiple times.
Earlier this week, prosecution psychiatrist Dr Gregory C Landrum noted that Harrouff was being treated for schizophrenia behind bars and ruled that the 22-year-old was legally insane when he attacked them.
The findings will be welcomed by Harouff's attorneys, who are preparing an insanity defense for him and had hired Dr Philip Phillip Resnick, a noted figure in forensic psychiatry to conduct a full psychiatric assessment to support their cases.
As a part of his research, Resnick had reviewed Harrouff's journal, his online searches, and videos, and studied an interview with Dr Phil. He had also interviewed multiple family members and friends of Harrouff before reaching his conclusion.
Resnick said that in the lead up to the attack, Harrouff researched words like "mania" and "hallucination" to check if he was going crazy. The report also detailed his heightening paranoia which saw him fearing there were evil forces in his home.
This fear prompted him to sleep near his sister in a bid to protect her, buy a knife for self-defense, and thoughts that he was half-man, half-dog and could run "super fast."
Other delusions included: feeling that he had "superpowers within him" and feeling like "he was Jesus"; a preoccupation with the "Illuminati"; seeing demons and an obsession with "Yin and Yang"; believing that water "was a source of power" that allowed him to stay young and more.
Martin County Deputy Wayne Trocan, who responded to the gruesome scene on the day of the murders, said he saw a trail of blood in the driveway and Harrouff straddling Steven.
"He was growling," Trocan told investigators at the time, adding that the 22-year-old had his fingers in Steven's mouth and was pulling it to one side "like a fish hook." Harrouff did not stop even after being kicked and tased and continued to chew on Steven's cheek after stabbing him multiple times. The cuts were so bad that the victim's rib could be seen.
He was eventually stopped after one of the 10 kicks to his head sent his arm swinging back and he was successfully handcuffed, but then begged deputies to kill him and claimed he had been "eating humans."
The defense has also been bolstered by a 39-page mental health report from the Martin County State Attorney's Office that further cemented their argument and stated that, at the time of the attack, Harouff was suffering from severe bipolar disorder and an "acute manic episode with psychotic features."
Landrum, seemingly backing Resnick's and the state attorney's findings, said Harrouff "has a mental illness and, because of the illness, is manifestly dangerous to himself and others."
He concluded that Harrouff was "unable to distinguish right from wrong" when he killed the couple, which is the legal standard in Florida for not being found guilty because of insanity, though not a guaranteed acquittal by any means.
If he is found not guilty, however, he will not walk free. Instead, he will be committed to a state mental hospital, from where it is unlikely he will ever be released.