A cannibalistic double-murderer from Florida may find yourself strolling the streets again — with out ever going to trial.
Former Florida State University fraternity member Austin Harrouff, 25, was deemed not responsible by motive of madness Monday after randomly hacking John Stevens and his spouse Michelle Mischon to loss of life with a machete in 2016.
Deputies mentioned they discovered Harrouff kneeling over Stevens and gnawing on his face, noting that he spit out items of flesh earlier than being taken into custody.
After six years of delays, buddies and relations of the slain couple anticipated the case to go to trial Monday — however have been shocked to study that the matter was closed.
“Here we are opening the prison doors for a double murderer,” mentioned Cindy Mishcon, the shellshocked sister of sufferer Michelle Mishcon. “Four words come to mind. White, rich boy justice.”
Harrouff, who attacked the couple of their storage, will now be despatched to a psychological hospital relatively than a jail cell — and will be launched outright if he’s not deemed a risk to others.
Harrouff and his mother and father, together with his dentist father, Wade Harouff, asserted that he was mentally sick on the time of the incident and his attorneys issued a not responsible plea.
Victim households angrily rejected that portrayal, arguing that Harrouff was a coddled drug addict who was cognizant of the crime he dedicated.
Judge Sherwood Bauer informed the court docket that each Martin County prosecutors and Harrouff’s high-priced protection staff agreed to nix a trial in favor of the plea accord.
“I didn’t really know you could brutally murder two people, attempt to kill another, and not even have a trial,” mentioned Jodi Bruce, one other sister of Mishcon, in a press release to the court docket Monday. “That was news to me.”
Harrouff’s madness protection hinged largely on FBI toxicology outcomes that confirmed no medicine in his system after the crime and determinations from three docs that he had had a extreme psychotic break.
Cindy Mishcon mocked that narrative Monday, and skim from an extended listing of textual content messages Harrouff wrote within the months and days main as much as the slayings.
Harrouff catalogued his nearly each day drug use and frequent blackouts within the correspondence, telling buddies that he drank closely and indulged in cocaine, prescription drugs, mushrooms, methamphetamines, codeine, Adderrall and heroin.
Mishcon objected to the notion that Harouff was grappling with natural psychological sickness throughout the murders and was unable to course of his actions.
In the times earlier than the crime, Harrouf wrote to a buddy of his need for fame.
“Why the f–k just not do what you want,” he wrote. “Just do the craziest shit you can. i just want to be great before I die.”
In one other message, Harrouff mentioned he puzzled if he was insane — however concluded in any other case.
“I thought i was crazy, but really not,” he wrote. “I just know that for me personally the drugs are taking a toll on me and I can’t handle.”
Mishcon additionally took intention at Harrouf’s father, who appeared on “Dr. Phil” in 2018 to advocate for his son and to stipulate his psychological well being issues.
“He had the symptoms for about two weeks prior,” he said during the appearance. “I just thought he’d snap out of it. He went from a happy person to, he can’t sleep, pacing the floors. He could barely work, he was tired. There’s no question that he had mental problems.”
Harrouff’s father additionally highlighted that his son drank some kind of “caustic” chemical after the murders as proof of his psychological instability.
In rebutting that framing, Mishcon famous that Harrouf’s father purchased him the knife he used within the killings at a gun present the day earlier than the crime.
“He let you buy a knife when he thought you were crazy?” Mishcon mentioned Monday. “It’s just not believable.”
The grieving sister mentioned she was baffled by the reluctance of the state legal professional’s office to pursue the case additional.
“I ask myself, why are we here today?” she mentioned. “Why is there no trial? Why is my family being denied justice?”
Bruce mocked the attorneys sitting on the prosecution desk Monday after her sibling’s prolonged tackle to the court docket.
“My sister just put on the case for you,” she mentioned. “That is sad. That is sad.”
Amplifying that three respected docs deemed Harrouff insane, the choose defined the plea deal to the packed courtroom after the victims’ relations spoke.
“In the end, they do need to follow the law,” Bauer mentioned. “The defense has the obligation to assess the defendant’s mental health for both competency and insanity. They are obligated to do that in every single case.”
He additionally rejected the argument that Harrouff’s high-price attorneys tipped the authorized scales, noting that almost all madness defenses are introduced on behalf of indigent defendants by authorized support attorneys.
“It’s a sad case,” Bauer mentioned. “It’s an awful case. But nobody is losing sight — i can tell you I’m not — in the death and injuries that were sustained in the case. But when it all gets said and done, the state and the defense have made a determination that mental intent was not formulated. That it wasn’t there. So the defendant is technically not guilty by reason of insanity.”