Face-eating suspect Austin Harrouff believed he was 'half-dog, half-man'
Forensic psychologist makes conclusion in mental-health report
STUART, Fla. – A forensic psychologist said a former Florida State University student believed he was "half-dog, half-man" when he fatally attacked a man and woman in the garage of their home and was found biting one of their faces.
Dr. Phillip Resnick made the conclusion in a 38-page mental-health report released this week by the Martin County State Attorney's Office.
Martin County Sheriff's Office investigators said they found Austin Harrouff, now 22, biting John Stevens' face while making growling noises Aug. 15, 2016.
Resnick's report describes Harrouff's account of the attack and the days leading up to it. The report describes how Harrouff twice left a Duffy's restaurant, where he had gone to dinner with his father and his father's girlfriend, the latter time to teach his father a lesson, and was "following the stars."
"Mr. Harrouff ran toward the lighted garage to ask for help in getting home," the report said. "He did not have a memory of what he planned to say, but he perceived the lighted garage as an area of safety in his terror. He next recalled seeing a woman in the garage and her screaming at him. He thought that she was a 'witch' because of the way she was screaming."
Resnick's report details how Harrouff was "fearful and in a panic state" in the moments before the attack.
"Mr. Harrouff has a vague recollection of picking up a 'machete or something' and stabbing the woman and biting her," the report said. "He believed he was a dog at the time of biting her. He was unsure of the sequence of events in the garage. His best recollection was that he drank a bottle of alcohol 'or something' while in the garage after stabbing the woman. He next recalled seeing a 'guy in the doorway' and a dog."
"I think I stabbed him too," Harrouff told Resnick, according to the report.
Stevens and his wife, Michelle Mishcon Stevens, were killed in the attack. Their neighbor, Jeffrey Fisher, was injured while trying to help the couple.
Martin County Sheriff William Snyder said the first deputy who arrived tried to stop Harrouff with a Taser, but was unsuccessful. More deputies were called and eventually overpowered him.
Resnick's report said Harrouff had "a vague recollection of a dog sitting in the passenger seat of a white truck," but he couldn't remember his encounter with deputies.
"Mr. Harrouff's conduct of biting the male homicide vicim once police arrived is consistent with the Mr. Harrouff's lycanthropy delusion that he was a dog," Resnick wrote. "The fact that Mr. Harrouff persisted in biting the male victim in the presence of police officers, in spite of threats of being shot, being tased and receiving multiple kicks to the head, suggests that Mr. Harrouff was actively psychotic."
Resnick's report is based on interviews with Harrouff, his family, girlfriend and friends, as well as school and medical records.
Harrouff is charged with two counts of first-degree murder and one count of attempted murder. His attorneys are preparing an insanity defense for the Nov. 4 trial.
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