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Expert might be the key to a successful insanity defense for Austin Harrouff

WPEC.

The man accused in the gruesome cannibal-style murder of his Martin County neighbors will try to convince a jury that he was insane and suffering from a full-blown psychotic episode when he allegedly killed John Stevens and Michelle Mischon at their home near Tequesta in 2016.

In a court filing obtained by CBS12, Austin Harrouff’s attorney claims the teen at the time had a mental infirmity and because of that condition he didn’t know what he was doing, it’s consequences and that it was wrong.

We shared Harrouff’s insanity defense with someone who has successfully used it in the past, defense attorney Gregory Morse.

“It really comes down to the type of experts that you have. The defense is going to present an expert that’s going to say no, he had this organic defect that caused him not to know right from wrong,” he said. “So what happens when someone is found not guilty by reason of insanity, a lot of times they’ll go to a state hospital for treatment.”

Morse says Harrouff’s actions prior to the murders will play a significant role in the defense, including claims that he had been acting erratically, didn’t’ sleep and even searched the internet for “how do I know I’m not crazy.”

“Just because someone has a lucid moment here or there, before or after or during an event does not in any way mean they were not insane at the time,” Morse said.

The defense plans to show the insanity defense by calling in a renowned expert from Cleveland, Ohio.

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