Lawsuit seeks damages from face-eating suspect Austin Harrouff
Custodian for estate of victim in 2016 attack asking for more than $15,000
STUART, Fla. – A man accused of killing a couple in Martin County and chewing the face of one of the victims is being sued.
According to a lawsuit filed Tuesday in Martin County circuit court, Jodi Bruce is suing Austin Harrouff for damages in excess of $15,000. Bruce is the personal representative for the estate of Michelle Mishcon Stevens, whose father is the beneficiary.
The lawsuit alleges that Harrouff "frequently used and was permitted to use and abuse" a slew of illegal drugs, including marijuana, cocaine and methamphetamines, as well as prescription drugs, like Xanax, without a prescription.
It claims that Harrouff "frequently and chronically committed aggressive and violent acts," causing family members to lock their doors at night. The lawsuit also alleges that Harrouff's father took him to a gun and knife show and allowed him to buy a switchblade one day before the August 2016 killings.
The switchblade was the same one used to attack Stevens and her husband, John Stevens.
Among Michelle Mishcon Stevens' injuries detailed in the lawsuit were nine stab wounds, eight fractured ribs, multiple fractures to her facial bones, three knocked out teeth and stab wounds to her lungs.
Martin County Sheriff William Snyder said deputies found Harrouff on top of John Stevens, biting and removing pieces of the victim's face with his teeth.
Snyder 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.
Harrouff's father appeared on the "Dr. Phil" show in the weeks after the attacks. He told host Phillip McGraw that his son had shown signs of schizophrenia.
Harrouff, who was a student at Florida State University at the time, also spoke to McGraw in an interview that did not air. He apologized to the victims' families, said he heard voices and admitted he was ashamed of what he did.
According to the lawsuit, the estate is entitled to medical and funeral expenses and other damages under Florida's Wrongful Death Act.
The beneficiary of the estate is Jeff Mishcon, who used to be mayor of North Miami Beach.
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