Prosecutors will not seek the death penalty against the Florida State University student who savagely murdered a couple and attempted to eat the face off one of his victim’s, according to the Sun-Sentinel newspaper. Austin Harrouff, 20, faces a litany of charges, including first-degree murder, for the attack which occurred exactly a year ago Tuesday, and resulted in the deaths of Michelle Mishcon, 53, and John Stevens III, 59.
“After careful review of the case and applying the statute that controls the seeking of the death penalty, it was decided to not seek it,” said assistant state attorney Jeff Hendriks, who is prosecuting the case. Members of the victim’s families were told about the decision earlier in the week, including John Stevens IV, who had previously told West Palm Beach NBC affiliate WPTV he had hoped the state would seek Harrouff’s execution.
It was August 15, 2016, when the bodybuilding enthusiast and Alpha Delta Phi frat brother abruptly left a restaurant during a family dinner and went on a violence spree that left two dead and another grievously injured. The mentally disturbed Harrouff came upon Mischon and Stevens in their garage as they were enjoying a cocktail in the summer evening and beat and stabbed them to death. Neighbor Jeffrey Fisher saw the attack and tried to intervene but Harrouff stabbed him repeatedly. After escaping, he called 911.
When police arrived on the scene they found Harrouff ripping the flesh off Stevens’ face with his teeth. It would take a taser, a K-9 unit and multiple officers to eventually subdue him. Like a scene in zombie movie, documents obtained by The Palm Beach Post reveal that after being taken to a local hospital for possibly ingesting a toxic chemical agent, Harrouff told deputies “Help me, I ate something bad.” When police asked him what, he replied “Humans,” and spit out a piece of flesh.
Following a lengthy hospital stay for intestinal failure, Harrouff was formally arrested on October 3, and is currently being held the Martin County Jail without bail. It is believed his legal team will try to say he is not guilty by reason of insanity, however, his lawyers have so far not commented.
[Photo: Martin County Jail]