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The Florida man who randomly killed a couple in their garage and chewed off one of the victim’s faces has been found not guilty by reason of insanity.
College student Austin Harrouff, 25, pleaded not guilty to two counts of murder and other charges for the 2016 killing of John Stevens, 59, and Michelle Mishcon Stevens, 53.
Prosecutors said that he also seriously injured a neighbour who tried to help the couple during the attack in Tequesta, Florida.
A Florida judge accepted the plea deal on Monday and Harrouff will be committed to a secure mental health facility until a judge and doctors agree he no longer presents a danger.
Police found a nearly naked Harrouff, who was 19 at the time of the attack, biting Mr Stevens’s face, according to WPLG.
Forensic psychologist Dr Phillip Resnick concluded in a mental health report released in 2019 that Harrouff believed he was “half-dog, half-man” during the incident.
He did not know his victims and reportedly believed that he was being chased by a demon.
Harrouff, who was attending Florida State University at the time, faced up to life imprisonment if convicted.
He was found to have bought hallucinogenic mushrooms days before the attack, but authorities said that no traces of them were found in his blood.
Harrouff’s parents told investigators that their son had been acting oddly for weeks and that they had set up a mental health evaluation, but the killings took place before he could be seen.
The court heard that two mental health experts, one for the defence and one for prosecutors, both found that he had suffered a psychotic episode during the attack and could not tell the difference between right and wrong.
Harrouff will remain in the Martin County jail until he can be transferred to a secure facility that is monitored by the state.
He will not be allowed to leave it without a court order.
The families of the victims were angry at the plea deal and gave victim impact statements to the court.
Cindy Mishcon, the sister of Michelle Mishcon, called him a “cold-blooded murderer and not a victim.”