August 15th of 2016, in Jupiter, Florida.
19 year old frat boy Austin Harrouff was a friendly sophomore at Florida State University. He was known to be a good person, and was devoted to living a healthy lifestyle; he played sports, loved lifting weights, and spoke out against the harmful affects of drugs. He was just your average American kid, until the beginning of August in 2016.
It seems that Austin was in the middle of a mental breakdown. His mother would later claim that her son had been acting strangely for about 2 weeks; he’d been hearing voices, seeing things, had suffered some paranoid delusions. Austin had told his mother that he had super powers, had moved his bed to the family’s garage as he believed there were demons residing within the home, and held the belief that he was half dog. The situation was getting dangerous; at one point the teen pulled a blade on his family, but thankfully his father had been able to quickly defuse the situation.
Austin’s family had not been the only ones to notice the abrupt personality change, his best friend had stopped hanging out with him, and there’s evidence which proves that Austin himself had known that something was amiss. Police would later find that the teenager had searched the internet for “hearing things in my sleep”, “how to sell your soul to the devil”, “marijuana withdrawal”, and “I think I’m going crazy am I?”. Schizophrenia runs in Austin’s family, so his parents assumed that this was likely the cause. They never would’ve guessed what was about to transpire, that a real life nightmare was about unfold; no one could’ve known what Austin was capable of.
On the evening of the 15th, Austin went to dinner with his dad. He had a glass of tea, went to the restroom, then he simply walked out. The teen went home, where his mother says she caught him drinking vegetable oil. Mother took him back to the sports bar to be with his father, but Austin promptly walked off once again.
Austin walked the streets that night, alone in the dark. At some point during his walk, he ditched his clothing – all but his underpants. A couple miles away he came upon a man and woman just chilling out inside their garage.
59 year old John Stevens and his 53 year old wife, Michelle Mishcon, had been sitting inside their garage on this night; their only mistake was having left the garage door open. They must’ve caught the teenager’s attention, and he somehow wound up inside the couple’s garage. When they attempted to force the nude stranger to leave, Austin picked up a blade (he would later say he believed it was a machete) and began to hack at the man and his wife. Talk about a blood bath!
Sadly the couple had been no match for the athletic teenager; a neighbor named Jeff Fisher heard the commotion next door, so he walked over to check things out. He tried to save his neighbors, but he couldn’t fight off the teenager, either. He was stabbed, suffered a fractured skull, and a brain hemorrhage. Jeff did the only thing he could do: he retreated and summoned the authorities.
When police showed up at the scene, Austin was sitting in his underwear with his murdered victims, grunting like a wild animal and actually eating John’s face. When police addressed the teen, he asked them for help and stated that he ate “something bad” before spitting a piece of fresh out onto the floor. Austin was not willing to retreat, or let go of the deceased victim he had been chewing on. It took 4 officers, a stun gun, and a police dog to finally force Austin to let go.
The teenager had to be hospitalized after all this, apparently he had ingested some chemicals of some sort. Austin had severe burns to his esophagus and was actually comatose for a while. He almost died.
Of course everyone who heard about this case believed drugs must have been involved, how could a clean and sober person be capable of this? Flakka (or bath salts) was still very common down here in Florida at the time; the substance could be purchased at gas stations, and it was definitely capable of making some people crazy – for lack of a better word. The only detectable drugs found in Austin’s system were trace amounts of marijuana, but bath salts are not usually detectable in a drug test. When questioned, Austin (who seems mentally sound now) swore that he’s never abused steroids, and had not even known what flaka or bath salts were. Police do not believe that the young man had been high at the time.
Inmate No. 896298 is still going to court for all of this. He has been charged with 2 counts of 1st degree murder, one count of resisting an officer, armed burglary, and one count of attempted murder. His attorneys are shooting for the insanity defense, claiming that Austin had been suffering from an Acute Psychotic Episode that night. Now I’m sure you already know how difficult it is to successfully claim insanity in a court of law, it’s very rare that a person who commits murder is deemed legally insane; even people who are absolutely mentally ill usually do not qualify, but it looks like Austin may actually get it! He is being treated for schizophrenia.
The video above is from March of this year, 2020. The May trial date, which was supposed to include the testimony of another doctor on Austin’s mental state that particular evening, has since been “cancelled”. Whatever happens with this case, I shall keep you posted.