Austin Harrouff Officially Charged in Killing of Couple

A Florida college student accused of killing a couple and biting the dead husband's face two months ago was released from the hospital and officially charged with two counts of murder Monday, officials said.

Austin Harrouff is also charged with one count of attempted murder, the Martin County Sheriff's Office said.

The 19-year-old Florida State University student was released from the hospital and booked into jail, officials said. He has no bond.

Shackled and noticeably thinner, Harrouff answered no questions from reporters as law enforcement officers led him from the hospital to an SUV for the trip to the Martin County jail, where he arrived Monday afternoon.

Harrouff had been hospitalized since the Aug. 15 stabbings of John Stevens, 59, and Michelle Mishcon, 53, outside their home. The couple's neighbor was also injured in the incident.

It took several Martin County sheriff's deputies, shocks from an electric stun gun and bites from a police dog to pry Harrouff off Stevens, authorities said. 

Sheriff William Snyder has said Harrouff may have ingested caustic chemicals from the couple's garage during the attack. Harrouff's father, Dr. Wade Harrouff, a dentist, had said last month that his son's liver was failing, he had fluid in his lungs and his esophagus was bleeding.

"He will probably continue to need therapy," Snyder said Monday. "We made it clear to the hospital that this is a jail, it is not a therapeutic place to be. We will do the best we can. We do have a medical unit but, for the most part, he is coming here for jail and not for therapy."

The exercise science major was a body builder, had played football and wrestled in high school and could bench press over 300 pounds, but football teammates have said their coaches criticized him for not being aggressive.

Wade Harrouff said his son had no history of violence before the attack.

Austin Harrouff had apparently been acting strangely for about a week before the attack —his mother told police before she knew about the killings that he had been claiming to have superpowers and to have been sent to help people.

He told deputies arresting him that he was drug-free. 

"Test me. You won't find any drugs," he declared.

He has made no comments to investigators since, Snyder said Monday. He was incoherent when he was taken to the hospital and was soon put on a ventilator.

Hospital blood tests showed no signs of methamphetamine, cocaine, heroin or other common drugs in Harrouff's system. Detectives are awaiting tests for less common hallucinogenic drugs such as Flakka or bath salts, whose abusers have been known to become suddenly and irrationally violent.

In a video he posted online five days before the attack, Harrouff suggested he may have taken steroids in the past, but said he doesn't use them now. If true, that could raise the possibility of "roid rage," which usually happens when a user is not actively taking the drug, said Jim Hall, an epidemiologist at Nova Southeastern University who tracks illegal drug usage.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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