A prosecutor psychiatrist claims that a Florida university student was legally mad when he fatally attacked a couple outside the house, chewing part of the man’s face, court documents filed during the show this week.
The discovery of Dr. Gregory C. Landrum reinforces the case of Austin Harrouff’s attorneys, who are planning to argue that the 23-year-old should be found not guilty because of the madness in his murder trial, which was scheduled for May but was indefinitely postponed Thursday.
He is sentenced to life imprisonment if convicted of killing John Stevens and Michelle Mishcon Stevens in August 2016.
Dr. Landrum outlined the decline in Harrouff’s mental state before the killings, including his belief that God and the demons speak to him, increasing paranoia and other hallucinations. He noticed that Harrouff was being treated for schizophrenia while in prison.
Consequently, dr. Landrum concluded, “Harrouff was unable to distinguish good from bad” when he killed the Stevenses – the legal standard in Florida for being found guilty of madness.
If Harrouff is found guilty of madness, that doesn’t mean he would be free. He would have been admitted to a state psychiatric hospital and his lawyers previously admitted that he is unlikely to ever be released.
Harrouff “has a mental illness and is manifestly dangerous to himself and others because of the illness,” wrote Dr. Landrum.
Defense attorney Nellie L. King welcomed the findings of dr. Landrum, while understanding that “it could offer little comfort to the families of the victims”.
“However, mental illness is very real and can lead to involuntary but tragic results,” King said in a statement.
Even the defense examiner found him legally insane.
At Thursday’s preliminary hearing, prosecutors asked circuit judge Sherwood Bauer for permission to have Harrouff examined by another psychiatrist.
Judge Bauer said he would consider it, but warned prosecutors that if this doctor agreed with the first two, their case would appear to be doomed.
Evan Fetterman, a lawyer representing Michelle Stevens’ family in a lawsuit against Harrouff, said in a statement that “Dr. Landrum’s findings are incompatible with the facts” because Harrouff misused drugs in the months preceding the attack and it was drunk during it.
Such use has caused any insanity that Harrouff may have experienced and should not be considered legally, he said.
When the deputies of the Martin County sheriff arrived at Stevenses’s house north of Palm Beach on the night of August 15, 2016, they found a horrible scene, court documents, recordings and photographic shows.
Michelle Stevens, 53, lay razed and died in the garage and Harrouff, then a muscle science expert at Florida State University, was attacking and biting her 59-year-old husband on the driveway.
Harrouff is also said to have injured a neighbor who tried to save the couple.
One deputy ordered Harrouff to shoot with a gun while another used an electric gun to stun, but didn’t want to let him go. MEPs say they didn’t shoot Harrouff because they feared hitting John Stevens.
Eventually a deputy arrived with a dog and his bites allowed the deputies to subdue Harrouff, who had no previous arrests.
He said to the deputies: “Help me, I ate something bad” and then admitted that they were “human” while spitting a piece of meat, as the court documents show. He implored MEPs to kill him after they pulled him out of Stevens, according to records.
“Shoot me now; I deserve to die, “said Harrouff.
Harrouff has a history of alcohol and drug abuse, including cocaine, methamphetamine and other stimulants and hallucinogens such as magic mushrooms, court documents show. Blood tests revealed alcohol and marijuana in his system in the hours following the killings.
Dr Landrum wrote that Harrouff in an October interview told him that in the weeks leading up to the murders he had started to feel “go go go go” and experienced grandeur during the day and paranoia at night.
Demons and God were talking to him. He said he seemed to have the “special skills” of Jesus while working as a dental assistant and that he blessed the dental tools by pouring water over them.
Harrouff told Dr. Landrum that the day before the killings he felt that “dog spirits” had become part of him and had new strength and agility.
On the evening of the murders, his mother found him at his home drinking cooking oil mixed with Parmesan – Michelle Stevens’ family claims that the concoction was enriched with hallucinogenic mushrooms.
About 45 minutes before the attack, Harrouff argued with his father and ran out of a restaurant 3.2 kilometers from Stevenses’ house.
Harrouff later told al Dr. Phil TV show that was running away from a demon he called “Daniel”.
He told Dr. Landrum that he remembers having a machete in his hand and stabbing a woman – “it was like she was covered in darkness.” He remembered seeing a man who was “shining white” and started to stab and bite him. Remember that you drank a liquid, called God to save it, and felt like a dog before you passed out.
Harrouff was hospitalized for nearly two months recovering from injuries caused by drinking caustic fluid found in the couple’s garage.