The family goes on a rampage as Florida cannibal killer Austin Harrouff may be on the loose again

A cannibal double killer from Florida could end up back on the streets — without ever being brought to justice.

Former Florida State University fraternity member Austin Harrouff, 25, was found not guilty on Monday by insanity charges after he arbitrarily hacked to death with a machete in 2016 at John Stevens and his wife, Michelle Mischon.

Deputies said they found Harrouff kneeling over Stevens and gnawing his face and found him spitting out chunks of meat before he was taken into custody.

After a six-year delay, friends and relatives of the murdered couple expected the case to go to trial on Monday – but were stunned to learn the matter was closed.

“Here we open the prison doors to a double murderer,” said Cindy Mishcon, the shocked sister of victim Michelle Mishcon. “Four words come to mind. Justice for white rich boys.”

Austin Harrouff admitted to using large amounts of drugs and alcohol.

Harrouff, who assaulted the pair in his garage, is now being transferred to a psychiatric hospital rather than a jail cell – and could be released immediately if he is no longer seen as a threat to others.

Harrouff and his parents, including his dentist father Wade Harouff, alleged that he was mentally ill at the time of the incident, and his attorneys pleaded not guilty.

The victims’ families angrily rejected this account, arguing that Harrouff was a spoiled drug addict who was aware of the crime he had committed.

Judge Sherwood Bauer told the court that both the Martin County prosecutors and Harrouff’s high-priced defense team agreed to dismiss a trial in favor of the plea deal.

“I didn’t really know that you can brutally murder two people, try to kill another and not even have a trial,” Jodi Bruce, another of Mishcon’s sisters, said in a statement in court on Monday. “That was news to me.”

Harrouff’s insanity defense depended largely on FBI toxicology results, which showed no drugs in his system following the crime, and findings by three doctors that he was having a major psychotic breakdown.

Cindy Mishcon poked fun at that narrative Monday, reading from a long list of text messages written by Harrouff in the months and days leading up to the murders.

Harrouff cataloged his near-daily drug use and frequent blackouts in correspondence, telling friends that he had been a heavy drinker and indulging in cocaine, prescription pills, mushrooms, methamphetamines, codeine, Adderrall, and heroin.

Mishcon disagreed with the notion that Harouff was struggling with an organic mental illness during the murders and was unable to process his actions.

In the days leading up to the crime, Harrouf wrote to a friend about his desire for fame.

“Why the hell don’t you just do what you want,” he wrote. “Just do the craziest shit you can. I just want to be great before I die.”

Austin Harrouff was found not guilty Monday of a double homicide in Florida in 2016 by insanity charges.
Harrouff, 25, was found not guilty by reason of insanity for a double murder in 2016.

In another message, Harrouff said he wonders if he’s crazy – but came to a different conclusion.

“I thought I was crazy but really not,” he wrote. “All I know is that the drugs are taking a toll on me personally and I can’t handle it.”

Mishcon also targeted Harrouf’s father, who appeared in “Dr. Phil” in 2018 to advocate for his son and outline his mental health struggles.

“He had the symptoms about two weeks prior,” he said during the performance. “I just thought he would break away from it. He went from a happy person to, he can not sleep, pacing. He could hardly work, he was tired. There is no question that he had mental problems.”

Harrouff’s father also stressed that his son drank some type of “corrosive” chemical after the murders, as evidence of his mental instability.

When Mishcon refuted this account, he found that Harrouf’s father had bought him the knife he had used in the murders at a gun fair the day before the crime.

“He let you buy a knife when he thought you were crazy?” Mishcon shared on Monday. “It’s just unbelievable.”

The grieving sister said she was baffled by prosecutors’ reluctance to pursue the case.

“I wonder why are we here today?” she said. “Why isn’t there a trial? Why is my family being denied justice?”

Bruce mocked the lawyers who sat at the prosecution table Monday after their siblings spoke at length in court.

“My sister just put the suitcase on for you,” she said. “That’s sad. That’s sad.”

John Stevens and Michelle Mishcon were stabbed to death in their garage in 2016.
John Stevens and Michelle Mishcon were killed in their garage in 2016.

The judge stressed that three respected doctors thought Harrouff was insane and declared the settlement to the packed courtroom after the victims’ families spoke.

“In the end, they have to obey the law,” Bauer said. “The defense is required to assess the mental health of the defendant for both competence and insanity. They are obliged to do this in each individual case.”

He also dismissed the argument that Harrouff’s highly paid attorneys tipped the legal scales, noting that most insanity defenses were brought forward by paralegals on behalf of penniless defendants.

“It’s a sad case,” Bauer said. “It’s a terrible case. But nobody loses track – I can tell you I’m not – of the deaths and injuries sustained in the case. But when all is said and done, the state and defense have determined that no mental intent has been formulated. That it wasn’t there So the defendant is technically not guilty by insanity.” The family goes on a rampage as Florida cannibal killer Austin Harrouff may be on the loose again


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