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Judge accepts insanity plea deal for man in face-biting case

by The Associated Press | November 29, 2022 at 5:00 a.m.

The Associated Press

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. -- A judge accepted a plea deal Monday for a man who randomly killed a Florida couple in their garage six years ago and then chewed on one victim's face that will send him to a mental hospital for treatment.

Austin Harrouff, 25, pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity to two counts of first-degree murder and other charges for the 2016 slayings of John Stevens, 59, and his wife, Michelle Mishcon Stevens, 53. He also seriously injured a neighbor who tried to help them.

Harrouff, who attended Florida State University before the attack, will be committed to a secure mental health facility until doctors and a judge agree that he is no longer dangerous. If the trial had gone forward, Harrouff could have faced life in prison.

A number of family members of the slain couple expressed anger at the decision and made victim impact statements directed at Harrouff, his family, the defense team and prosecutors.

Cindy Mishcon, the sister of Michelle Mishcon and an attorney, laid out a methodical case of why she does not believe that Harrouff was insane when the killings occurred.

"You can't even look at me?" she asked Harrouff, who was sitting at the defense table, wearing a red and white striped prison uniform and glasses. She said that she had begun writing her victim impact statement when she was "naive enough" to think there would be justice.

Print Headline: Judge accepts insanity plea deal for man in face-biting case

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