By Andrew Bieszad
The 2016 case of Austin Harrouff horrified the nation as the then college student and fraternity member attacked an ate a man’s face off in public while growling. The investigation has continued, and it has since come out that in the time leading up to the attack, he was obsessed with satanism and cannibalism. He said to police later that he was seeing demons, and that he believed he was Jesus at the time according to a report:
A ‘cannibal killer’ frat boy who ate his victim’s face as the man lay dying on the floor was convinced he was Jesus and became obsessed with the Illuminati, a mental-health report states.
Austin Harrouff, now 22, is accused of murdering Michelle Mishcon and John Steven, and trying to eat Stevens’ face while police desperately fought to drag the former Florida State student off.
A 38-page psychiatric assessment of Harrouff, seen by the DailyMail.com, which was conducted by the killer’s attorneys as part of their insanity defense, lists a disturbing and frightening descent into alleged psychosis.
The three-week trial is scheduled for November 4. Harrouff’s attorneys hope the report will be enough to convince a jury that their client should not be held criminally responsible for his actions.
The penalty for first-degree murder in Florida ranges from life without parole to the death sentence.
Among the key points listed in Dr Phillip Resnick’s report, which included a six-hour interview with Harrouff, as well as numerous interviews with family and friends, are:
-Harrouff felt he had ‘superpowers within him’ and felt like ‘he was Jesus’. He began walking around in a ‘slow harmonious manner’ and believed he had a responsibility to fix people’s problems.
-He became preoccupied with the ‘Illuminati’ as well as religious and philosophical ideas. He was convinced demons were after him and refused to sleep in the dark. He studied: ‘Tony Robbins, Lincoln and Krishna’ obsessively.
-In one instance, he claims to have seen a demon but did not know if he was asleep or awake, he became obsessed with ‘Yin and Yang’ – and good vs evil.
-He believed water ‘was a source of power’ for him which allowed him to stay young and that he was able to manipulate water with his hands.
-In 2016 he decided he would become a public figure and began creating rap videos under the alias Austi Frosti – some of his songs include the disturbing lyrics ‘there’s a new sheriff in town, he’s going to eat you and make you frown’.
-In another self-penned song, he described a girl’s face as ‘yummy’, and also shared numerous bodybuilding videos where he posed topless
Dr Resnick’s report says the fact that he continued to bite his victim ‘in the presence of police officers, in spite of threats of being shot, being tased and receiving multiple kicks to the head, suggests that Mr. Harrouff was actively psychotic.’
It went on to conclude Harrouff at the time of the attack was suffering from severe bipolar disorder, and an ‘acute manic episode with psychotic features.’
As part of his research, Dr Resnick held a six-hour interview with Harrouff at the Martin County jail.
He said he also reviewed Harrouff’s journal, his online searches and videos, studied an interview with Dr Phil, and interviewed numerous friends and family members.
In the lead up to the attack, Dr Resnick said Harrouff researched words like ‘mania’ and ‘hallucinations’ and searched whether he was going crazy.
Also detailed in the report is Harrouff’s increasing paranoia.
It states he thought there were evil forces in his home and he began sleeping near his sister in order to protect her.
In the days up to the attack he bought a knife for protection, the report says.
Just a day before the savage attack, Dr Resnick said Harrouff began to think he was half-man half-dog and could run ‘super fast’.
Harrouff’s sister said he began wandering through bushes to be ‘one with the animals’, and sat in the back seat of the car where dogs sit.
Dr Resnick’s report details how Harrouff was ‘fearful and in a panic state’ in the moments before the attack.
‘Mr. Harrouff has a vague recollection of picking up a ‘machete or something’ and stabbing the woman and biting her,’ the report said.
‘He believed he was a dog at the time of biting her. He was unsure of the sequence of events in the garage.
‘His best recollection was that he drank a bottle of alcohol “or something” while in the garage after stabbing the woman. He next recalled seeing a “guy in the doorway” and a dog.’
The murder suspect also bought a Fitbit, which while wearing, made him feel like The Terminator – part robot, part man.
He also, at another point, became fixated on horses – following his Sagittarius star sign – and believed himself to be a mythical beast Centaur.
The psychiatrist also noticed Harrouff shifted between feeling invincible to a feeling of fear and vulnerability.
Dr Resnick has been a noted figure in forensic psychiatry since he testified in 1982 before the National Commission on the Insanity Defense in Washington, D.C. after the verdict in the case of John Hinckley, the man who shot President Ronald Reagan.
The evaluation also reveals Harrouff’s desire to help people.
While working as a dental assistant at Florida Atlantic Dental, he said he became too friendly with people who shared their problems with him.
In one instance, after hearing of someone’s AIDs plight, he broke down and cried.
The couple’s neighbor Jeffrey Fisher witnessed the 2016 attack and confronted Harrouff after hearing screams coming from the house.
It was suggested at first that he may have been high on ‘zombie drug’ flakka or bath salts because the substances had been linked to other murders in the area that had similarly gory details.
A toxicology report however found neither of those things in Harrouff’s system.
He had a small amount of THC, the active ingredient in marijuana, but others were from drugs he was given in hospital after he was arrested.
Last year, he entered a not guilty plea and his lawyers filed an intent to use an insanity defense.
They admit that he carried out the killings but say he should not be held responsible for them because he was not in control of his behavior at the time.
As part of the prosecution’s case, they asked Fisher to go on camera and retrace his steps on the night of the killing.
He is seen in a video which was released in early February by TCPalm standing where he did on the night of the attack when he first approached the house after seeing Harrouff throw Michele to the ground.
‘He was standing sort of like this and I actually saw Michelle laying here.
‘I got to be right there. He turned, looked at me and said: ‘You want no part of this, you want no part of me. One of the two. Then, from his right hand, swung,’ he said.
The pair then fought or, as Fisher described it, ‘pitter patter’.
‘It’s not like we were going toe to toe. He was flinging and I was blocking,’ he said, explaining how he blocked the man’s blows.
He then brought Harrouff to the ground.
‘I was able to get a hold of his shirt and yanked him. He lost his balance and went down to the ground right there face first.’
Fisher ran out of the garage through the door which connected the house to it. He then went back out front and tried to catch his breath and heard screaming from inside the garage, presumably from Michelle.
‘The words were not making sense,’ he said.
He then watched from the front of his property as police arrived.
Martin County Deputy Wayne Trocan was one of the first on the scene.
He arrived to find Harrouff straddling Stevens in the driveway, a few yards from where he had just attacked with a knife.
There was a large trail of blood in the driveway, he said.
‘He was growling,’ Trocan told investigators as he recalled the noises Harrouff was making.
He had his fingers in Stevens’ mouth and was pulling it to one side ‘like a fish hook’.
Trocan kicked him several times in the head and used a taser to try to get him off of the victim but it nothing to stop his rampage.
Stevens, who was still alive at this point, whimpered: ‘Help me! Get him off!’
He even brought in a dog which bit Harrouff’s arm but he brushed the animal off.
‘The dog grabbed his arm and pulled it back but he ripped it out of the dog’s mouth,’ he said.
What finally tore him off the victim was one of 10 kicks to the head which sent it ‘swinging back, off his shoulder.’
It caused his arm to fly back, giving Trocan the opportunity to handcuff him.
‘I smacked the cuff on his hand and I dragged him to about here,’ he explained.
Deputy Trocan revealed that one of his colleagues, a female police officer, was standing over Harrouff as he fought with Stevens and wanted to shoot him but could not get a clear enough shot.
‘I didn’t want [her] taking a shot, the way he was grappled up into him, there was no good shot.
‘It would have went into him, into the victim.’
By the time they pulled him off of Stevens, he had been so badly stabbed they could see his ribs and Harrouff was chewing on his cheek, ‘tearing like a dog.’
Harrouff’s lawyers filed papers in court in December which claimed he was suffering from a ‘full blown psychotic episode’ when he launched the attack.
They are asking that he should not be convicted of murder.
The former student gave a tearful interview to Dr. Phil while he was still in hospital recovering from injuries he sustained during his rampage.
He said he was not a bad person and did not mean to carry out the killings.