Austin Harrouff committed to mental hospital after judge accepts insanity plea in double murder, face-biting case

‘Four words come to mind: white, rich boy justice,’ victim’s sister says

MARTIN COUNTY, Fla. – A judge has accepted a plea deal for a man who randomly killed a Florida couple in their garage six years ago and then chewed on one victim’s face.

Twenty-five-year-old Austin Harrouff pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity to two counts of first-degree murder and other charges for the 2016 slayings of 59-year-old John Stevens and his wife, 53-year-old Michelle Mishcon Stevens.

The agreement worked out between the defense and prosecution avoids a trial that had been scheduled to start Monday.

Harrouff will be committed to a secure mental health facility until doctors and a judge agree that he is no longer dangerous. Harrouff could have faced life in prison.

Harrouff previously pled not guilty by reason of insanity and waived his right to a jury trial.

He was just 19 years old when prosecutors say he killed Stevens and Mishcon Stevens in the garage of their Tequesta home in 2016.

Police found him nearly naked and biting John Stevens’ face.

At the time, Harrouff claimed he was trying to escape a demon.

Investigators say he purchased hallucinogenic mushrooms a few days before the attack, but they found no traces of the drug in his blood that night.

Harrouff did not know the victims.

During victim impact statements Monday, Mishcon Stevens’ sister, Cindy Mishcon, was the first to address Harrouff in court.

She read him numerous bizarre conversations he had via text message between relatives and his girlfriend leading up to the murders.

“Your dad asks you on the afternoon before you killed my sister, ‘Did you throw the drugs out? Did you throw the drugs out?’ You didn’t answer ‘yes,’” Mishcon said. “Do you know what you said to him? ‘Learn.’ What does that mean? Are you ever going to tell us what that means?”

Mishcon also mentioned how Harrouff’s own sister had said she feared him and said the state could have easily proven his guilt despite any expert testimony from the defense.

“But here we are, opening the prison doors for a double murderer. Four words come to mind: white, rich boy justice,” Mishcon said.

Mishcon Stevens’ other sister, Jodi Bruce, also gave a statement Monday, expressing her disbelief at the entire Harrouff family for their lack of remorse.

She told Harrouff directly that he also killed her father that day, as he has not been able to recover from the death of his daughter.

“He has not been in good health since...it’s pretty sick,” Bruce said. “Do you ever take the time to think about what you did?”

Bruce also addressed Harrouff’s parents, Dr. Wade Harrouff and Mina Harrouff.

She said Wade Harrouff referred to her sister and brother-in-law in jailhouse phone calls as “those f***ing people” and told his son, “We will get through this bull****.”

She also claimed he degraded Jewish people and said horrible things about his own patients.

Bruce called Wade Harrouff a racist.

“What kind of person are you?” she asked.

She also mentioned that it was Wade Harrouff who purchased his son a knife that was used in the murders, even though Austin Harrouff’s family noticed his behavior was odd in the weeks before the killings.

“You are crazy, you are gross, you are disgusting,” she said.

Mishcon Stevens was the eldest child of former North Miami Beach Mayor Jeff Michcon and grew up in North Miami Beach.

In addition to sisters Cindy and Jodi, Mishcon Stevens also has two brothers named Mason and Greg.

Jeff Mishcon still resides in North Miami Beach.

VIEW FULL VICTIM IMPACT STATEMENTS BELOW:


About the Authors:

Amanda Batchelor is the Digital Executive Producer for Local10.com.

David Dwork joined the WPLG Local 10 News team in August 2019. Born and raised in Miami-Dade County, David has covered South Florida sports since 2007.