MARTIN COUNTY, Fla. (TCD) -- A 25-year-old man pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity for stabbing and killing a couple in their garage in 2016 and biting the dead man’s face.
Martin County court records show Austin Kelly Harrouff entered the plea Monday, Nov. 28, on charges of two counts of first-degree murder with a weapon, attempted first-degree murder with a weapon, two counts of second-degree murder, and burglary of a dwelling with an assault or battery while armed. A judge accepted the plea and ordered him to be committed to a facility.
Harrouff remained in the hospital until Oct. 3, 2016, when he was released and officially taken into custody.
According to NBC Miami, on the night Stevens and Mishcon were killed, Harrouff went to dinner with his parents but became upset because the food was taking a long time. Surveillance footage shared by the Martin County Sheriff’s Office shows Harrouff walking out of the restaurant. Not long after that, the call came in about the murder on Kokomo Lane.
NBC Miami reports Mishcon and Stevens often sat in their garage with the door open and talked with passersby.
Martin County Sheriff William Snyder said the first deputy who arrived reportedly "realized that the offender was actually biting the victim in the face and causing what turned out to be some substantial trauma to his face from bite marks."
The deputy reportedly used a Taser on Harrouff, but it "didn’t faze him," according to NBC Miami.
Snyder reportedly said, "She tried pulling him off Stevens’ body but couldn’t. Other deputies arrived shortly along with a dog and it took all of them to subdue Harrouff. Snyder said they didn’t shoot, fearing their bullets would strike the victim."
Snyder said Harrouff was "abnormally strong," but drug tests after his hospitalization showed he did not have any drugs in his system.
At the hearing Monday, Nov. 28, Mishcon’s sister, Cindy Mishcon, said in her victim impact statement, "Is it really so hard for you to understand that you are a cold-blooded murderer and not a victim?"