By: Savannah Smith | 08-18-2017 | News
Photo credit: Mirko Vitali |

Man Accused of Murder and Eating Couple’s Faces May Escape Death Penalty

A Florida resident was not only accused of killing a couple, but also for doing the dastardly act of biting and chewing their faces. In a callous admission, he said: “I ate humans.” But despite the cold blooded murders and the harrowing manner by which it was carried out, the suspect may not be put to death if he’s convicted of his alleged crimes.

The state appears to be not keen on pursuing the death penalty against 20-year-old Austin Harrouff, who was charged with two counts of first-degree murder with a weapon and burglary of a dwelling with an assault or battery while armed.

Assistant state attorney Jeff Hendriks, tasked with prosecuting the case, said: “After careful review of the case and applying the statue that controls the seeking of the death penalty, it was decided not to seek it.”

Harrouff, a resident of Jupiter, Florida, attending Florida State University, is accused of killing John Stevens III, 59, and Michelle Mishcon, 53, in the garage of the couple’s home and injuring their neighbor Jeffrey Fisher on August 15, 2016.

Detectives were able to recover what appeared to be human flesh from Harrouff’s teeth during the investigations, a physical proof that he bit and chewed on Stevens’ face in the man’s driveway. Harrouff even admitted to a sheriff’s deputy on the night of the crime that “I ate humans.”

Harrouff’s cousel, Attorney Nellie King has not confirmed that they will seek an insanity defense, but in past interviews their team has hinted of such a legal plan. King even added: “Austin had a psychological break, as evidenced by the auditory and visual hallucinations, paranoia and persecutory ideations he experienced and, more importantly, as recounted by numerous people, both relatives and non-relatives, who were around Austin in the days and weeks before the murders. There is a mountain of information about this young man that will substantiate his mental illness at the time of the offense.”

Harrouff’s lawyers must notify the state within 30 days from the start of the trial of their intent to use a defense of insanity. They must also file a notice that will list doctors and psychiatrists they plan to use to prove insanity of the accused. The case may not be ready for trial until next year, however.

Harrouff remains at the Martin County Jail without bail. In a previous media interview, he swore he did not plan the attack. He said then: “I guess there was something seriously wrong with me. I didn’t want it to happen. I never wanted to hurt anybody.”


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