Face-Eating Suspect Asks for Forgiveness in Dr. Phil Interview His Attorneys Sought to Block
Austin Harrouff, 19, asked for forgiveness, saying he "never planned it" and "didn't want to do it."
The Florida frat boy accused of murdering a couple and stabbing a neighbor has claimed he didn’t plan to hurt anyone before he was found allegedly biting the face of one of his victims.
In an exclusive interview with Dr. Phil McGraw, 19-year-old Austin Harrouff spoke out from his hospital bed six weeks after the August killings of John Stevens, 59, and his wife Michelle Mishcon, 53.
Police say Harrouff stabbed the couple to death at random before attacking their neighbor, Jeff Fisher, who called 911 when he came upon the Florida State University student biting Stevens’ face and stomach.
Fisher survived but had to be airlifted to a nearby hospital for treatment of extensive injuries.
In the interview — set to air in full on Thursday — Harrouff asked for forgiveness, saying he "never planned it" and "didn’t want to do it," WPEC-TV reported.
“If I did [know why], I would tell you,” he told McGraw.
When police arrived on the scene, Harrouff allegedly exhibited superhuman strength but boasted that no drugs would be found in his system. He then slipped into a coma in which he remained for 11 days.
Harrouff denied ever taking the synthetic drug “Flakka” or using steroids, but refused to discuss with McGraw if he drank something in the garage during the August 15 attack.
"I don't want to talk about that. I can't talk about that," Harrouff said in a clip exclusively released by the Dr. Phil show to WPEC-TV.
When asked if he is mentally ill, Harrouff said, “I guess so.”
"I have had weird dreams that I was worshipped religiously,” he said. “I’ve heard voices of monsters and stuff."
In a previously aired interview with McGraw, Harrouff’s father, Wade Harrouff, said his son had not been himself in the days before the attack.
"I knew the whole week he was acting weird. I just said, 'Put that up,' and he snapped out of it, and he started being friendly again," Wade Harrouff said. "I kept on thinking I could lick it. Having fun with it, we could lick this thing. It’s just a temporary thing."
Harrouff’s defense team tried unsuccessfully to block the release of the taped interview, which took place in his hospital bed before he was charged with two counts of first-degree murder.
His attorney, Nellie King, said in a statement to WPEC-TV that the 20-minute interview "represents just one of many pieces of evidence demonstrating the deterioration of Austin’s mental health. The video shows Austin when he was in a vulnerable state, recovering from acute medical and psychological trauma in the sanctity of his hospital room.
“Sensationalizing the details of this case pre-trial does nothing to advance justice in the courtroom. Nor does this pre-trial discovery information help those suffering from this tragedy, including the family members of Mr. Stevens and Ms. Mishcon.”
Harrouff has pleaded not guilty to the charges against him. If he is found guilty, he could face the death penalty.
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