Man accused of fatally attacking Martin County couple tested for synthetic drugs

Austin Harrouff, 19, heavily sedated at St. Mary's Medical Center

By Amanda Batchelor - Senior Digital Editor , Ben Kennedy - Reporter , Shyann Malone - Anchor/Reporter

MARTIN COUNTY, Fla. - A 19-year-old man accused of fatally stabbing a Martin County couple Monday night after arguing with his father at a restaurant has been tested for synthetic drugs, including flakka and bath salts, authorities said.

While street drugs, like marijuana and cocaine, were not found in initial blood tests taken from Austin Harrouff, authorities said additional tests have been conducted that will further test his blood, hair and DNA.

Martin County Sheriff’s Office deputies said Harrouff stabbed Michelle Stevens, 53, and her husband, John Stevens, 59, inside the couple’s garage after Harrouff left a Duffy’s restaurant in Jupiter.

"Normal people don't make the decision to go take drugs and then kill people, regardless of what was in the drugs," the victims’ son, John Stevens IV, said.

Martin County Sheriff William Snyder said deputies found Harrouff on top of the husband, biting and removing pieces of the victim's face with his teeth.

He said the first deputy who arrived tried to stop Harrouff with a Taser, but that didn't stop him. More deputies and a K-9 unit were called and eventually overpowered him.

A neighbor who tried to help the couple, Jeff Fisher, 47, was also stabbed.

"Obviously the kid was violent, repressed, entitled and upset and wanted to hurt somebody, and now he's hurt a bunch of people," John Stevens IV said.

Local 10 News reporter Shyann Malone spoke with Fisher's father, Steve Fisher, who also witnessed the attack.

"I saw that guy on top of John and I thought they were wrestling, and come to find out it was something else," he said.

Jeff Fisher was taken to St. Mary's Medical Center in West Palm Beach with serious but non-life-threatening injuries.

Fisher said his son has been released from the hospital and suffered several cuts from the attack.

"There's a jagged cut and there's a nice straight cut, so I think he got cut with a knife and then hit in the head with a bottle," Fisher said. 

Harrouff was also taken to the hospital, where he is in stable condition, deputies said. The sheriff said he was making "animal-like sounds" when he was first taken to the hospital.

Martin County Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman Trisha Kukuvka said Harrouff is conscious, but heavily sedated.

According to a Jupiter police incident report, the suspect's mother, Mina Harrouff, called 911 after her son walked away from the restaurant and said that he "was acting strange the last week or so." She said he mentioned having "super powers" and that he was "here to protect people."

Steve Fisher said his son remembers the attack that followed that 911 call vividly.

"He's got total recall. He remembers all of it," Fisher said.

Kukuvka said Harrouff has not been formally charged, but authorities are working with the State Attorney's Office to determine appropriate charges.

The results of Harrouff's latest drug tests, which have been sent to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and FBI, could take several weeks to come back.

A memorial for Michelle Stevens, the daughter of former North Miami Beach Mayor Jeff Mishcon, and her husband will be held at 1 p.m. Friday at Parker Playhouse in Fort Lauderdale.

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