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A former college student accused of fatally attacking a husband and wife in their Florida home and gnawing on the man's face believed he was “half-dog, half-man,” a forensic psychologist said in a mental health report.
Austin Harrouff, 22, has been charged with killing John Stevens III, 59, and his wife Michelle Mishcon, 53, at their home in Martin County on Aug. 15, 2016. Investigators said that during the attacks, he bit Stevens' face while making growling sounds. The couple was beaten and stabbed during the bizarre attack in their garage.
"The fact that Mr. Harrouff persisted in biting the male victim in the presence of police officers, in spite of being shot, being tased and receiving multiple kicks to the head, suggests that Mr. Harrouff was actively psychotic," Dr. Phillip Resnick of the University Hospitals of Cleveland wrote in the report, released this week by the Martin County State Attorney’s Office.
Resnick wrote in the 38-page report that “it was unlikely that it was a drug-induced psychosis that led to the attacks,” the Palm Beach Post reported.
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Investigators believed Harrouff may have been on a synthetic drug, but a toxicology report by the FBI found he had "no designer drugs in his system and only trace amounts of marijuana,” the newspaper reported.
The report cited a statement by Harrouff’s attorney, Nellie King, in which she said the “evaluation confirms Austin could not form the requisite intent to commit these crimes due to his severe mental illness. Austin was undergoing a psychotic event at the time of the incident and did not know that his conduct was wrong.”
Members of Harrouff's family recalled the suspect acting strangely before the attacks and believing that he was invincible. Harrouff's father told Resnick that his son had been diagnosed as bipolar and that he had had severe bouts of depression.
Harrouff’s attorneys are preparing an insanity defense for his Nov. 4 trial.
Harrouff was charged with two counts of first-degree murder with a weapon, burglary of a dwelling with assault or battery while armed, and attempted first-degree murder with a weapon for attacking and injuring the couple's neighbor, Jeffrey Fisher,” Treasure Coast Newspapers reported.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.