FLOR­IDA’S FACE-EAT­ING KILLER WHY DID HE DO IT?

Po­lice search for an­swers af­ter can­ni­bal frat boy Austin Har­rouff com­mits one of the most hor­rific mur­ders ever

In Touch (USA) - - Truecrime -

The scene was like some­thing out of a hor­ror movie. Po­lice ar­rived at the Te­questa, Fla., home of John Stevens III, 59, and his wife, Michelle Mish­con, 53, on Aug. 15 to find the cou­ple bru­tally stabbed and beaten to death — and 19-year-old at­tacker Austin Har­rouff in the drive­way, “grunt­ing,” “growl­ing” and sav­agely bit­ing John’s face and gnaw­ing at his stom­ach. It took a stun gun, a K-9 dog and four deputies to pry the half-dressed, “ab­nor­mally strong” 6-foot-tall Flor­ida State Univer­sity fra­ter­nity brother off of his vic­tim. “It was aw­ful. There was a blood trail down the drive­way,” one neigh­bor tells In Touch. “I hope this lu­natic gets what’s com­ing to him.”

He’s fac­ing the death penalty. Af­ter spend­ing seven weeks in a West Palm Beach hos­pi­tal, Har­rouff was charged with a slew of crimes, in­clud­ing two counts of first-de­gree mur­der, one count of at­tempted first­de­gree mur­der, resisting ar­rest and armed bur­glary on Oct. 3, and trans­ferred to Martin County jail. The day before his ar­rest, the teen gave a se­cret tele­phone in­ter­view to TV’S Dr. Phil Mc­graw. The seg­ment, teased as “the frat boy dubbed ‘can­ni­bal killer’ breaks his si­lence from his hos­pi­tal bed,” was then mys­te­ri­ously pulled just hours before it was set to air on Oct. 28. No rea­son was given. It’s just one more mys­tery sur­round­ing the most shock­ing crime in Amer­ica, and John’s griev­ing son John J. Stevens wants the mys­tery of this bru­tal crime solved im­me­di­ately. He be­lieves Har­rouff ’s fam­ily has been mount­ing an ag­gres­sive “spin” strat­egy to set the ta­ble for an in­san­ity de­fense, while he and po­lice be­lieve the teen was on drugs. “Austin Har­rouff,” Stevens tells In Touch, “is a monster who de­stroyed my fam­ily.”

Au­thor­i­ties ini­tially spec­u­lated that Har­rouff took one of the so-called “zom­bie drugs,” flakka or bath salts. Early tests showed no co­caine, mar­i­juana or metham­phetamines in his sys­tem, but an FBI crime lab is do­ing fur­ther test­ing to look for syn­thetic psy­choac­tive stim­u­lants like flakka or bath salts, which have been linked to other violent at­tacks. “His be­hav­ior was ex­tremely violent, un­pre­dictable and con­sis­tent with the be­hav­ior pat­terns we’ve seen when peo­ple are on bath salts, so it cer­tainly is a dis­tinct pos­si­bil­ity,” Martin County Sher­iff Wil­liam D. Sny­der tells In Touch, adding that Har­rouff also vol­un­tar­ily in­gested a haz­ardous blue liq­uid grout cleaner in the cou­ple’s garage that “burned his in­testines.”

But his fam­ily be­lieves he was sober. “I know it’s not flakkain­duced,” says Har­rouff ’s fa­ther, Wade, a den­tist who’s also spo­ken to Dr. Phil. “The weird be­hav­ior is com­ing from schizophre­nia in my fam­ily.” A day af­ter Har­rouff was charged, his at­tor­ney Robert Wat­son told re­porters, “There does ap­pear to have been an on­set of men­tal ill­ness.”

Har­rouff ’s mother told cops he had been “act­ing strange the last week or so, [say­ing] he had su­per­pow­ers.” He’d also up­loaded a bizarre se­ries of Youtube videos over the sum­mer, in­clud­ing one posted four days before the killings in which he said, “I don’t need drugs” and de­scribed him­self in trou­bling terms: “I’ve got a psy­cho side and a nor­mal side. I’ve lost my mind, help me find it.”

Stevens in­sists Har­rouff ul­ti­mately is re­spon­si­ble for his ac­tions. “He was mad enough, high on drugs or what­ever, that he had it in his mind that he would kill, and he did,” he tells In Touch. Adds Sher­iff Sny­der: “One day [Har­rouff ] has no crim­i­nal past and now he wakes up in the hos­pi­tal and finds him­self charged with two counts of first­de­gree mur­der and one count of at­tempted first-de­gree mur­der. So life as Austin Har­rouff knew it is over.” ◼

THE SCENE OF THE CRIME THE VIC­TIMS John and wife Michelle died af­ter be­ing bru­tally at­tacked on Aug. 15 in the garage they used as a party room. A neigh­bor who tried to help was also stabbed, but sur­vived. The mur­der weapon was a large knife, which au­thor­i­ties be­lieve was given to Har­rouff by his fa­ther.

FI­NALLY AR­RESTED In an ef­fort to save tax­pay­ers bill, from foot­ing his hos­pi­tal un­til his Har­rouff wasn’t ar­rested re­cov­ered, Oct. 3 re­lease. Now not “He seems placid, co­op­er­a­tive, to be in his com­bat­ive. He ap­pears Sny­der. right mind,” says Sher­iff

“Kill me … I de­serve to die,” Har­rouff yelled at cops, ac­cord­ing to the in­ci­dent re­port.

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