Victim's son responds to Harrouff's apology: 'It's a lie'
TEQUESTA (CBS12) —
John Stevens Jr., the son of slain John Stevens, says the Dr. Phil interview with Austin Harrouff is nothing less than a PR ploy to win hearts and minds for a killer who “should get the death penalty.”
“I’m so sorry. I just don't know how to say or put it into words," Austin Harrouf said to Dr. Phil, making his tear-filled apology to the television therapist moments before being walked into the Martin County Jail in October.
In the recording, Harrouff apologizes for the deaths of Michelle Mischon and John Stevens, who deputies say he bludgeoned to death in August. As deputies arrived, they say Harrouff was eating the flesh off Stevens’ face.
John Stevens son also believes the Dr. Phil interview is a ploy to sway a jury, not to offer a confession with remorse.
"The Harrouff's, this family, are disgusting. They have lost nothing and for them to apologize .. they have no idea what we've lost," John Stevens Jr. said from his home in Kansas. "If he wants to apologize to me, I’ll accept it when he submits himself to the legal system - otherwise he can go f*** himself."
Stevens says the community should be outraged the family is trying to peddle the teen as anything less than a killer.
"If I were a member of the community of West Palm Beach, I would take it very personally that this family is trying to re-inject this person back into your community. This could be anybody's parents right? This could be anybody," Stevens said. "It's all a lie. They've decided this is the legal strategy they need to go with to save their son."
In the interview Dr. Phil asks, "Have you seen a picture of this couple since the incident?"
"Yes," Austin replies.
"When you saw that picture and realized, how did you feel?" Dr. Phil asked.
"I felt terrible and I really don’t have words to explain how I feel. It’s like a nightmare," Austin Harrouff replies. “I’m sorry.”
As for his tears and apologies, Stevens Jr. said it’s not genuine unless he spares the family a trial and the national attention.
"It’s bullsh**. I reject it. If Austin Harrouff wants to apologize to me, he will abandon his legal strategy and submit himself to the justice system. He should get the death penalty. But that’s not going to happen," Stevens Jr. said, who watched the interview with the prosecutor months before. “He doesn’t know what it is to sacrifice anything. He is a 19-year-old entitled angry white boy who did this because his day didn’t go the way he wanted it to. That’s it. His apology is total bullsh**.”
Neighbors along Kokomo Lane say the interview makes them shake to know the teen randomly picked the home of the Stevens, and it could have been any of them attacked.
"Dr. Phil asked him does he have any remorse, and Austin started crying and it didn’t look real to me," Auburn Mcfarland, the Stevens’ former neighbor, said. "I believe it was all crocodile tears."
Stevens' neighbor from four doors down, McFarland says the murders and awful details haunt him to this day.
"I do believe he did that to gain sympathy," McFarland said.
But we see Harrouff talk for the first time about the stabbing of neighbor Jeff Fisher who tried to break up the murders.
"Did you want to hurt and stab the neighbor?" Dr. Phil asks.
"No I didn’t have any memory of that. I only remember him yelling at me," Harrouff answers.
Stevens Jr. says the Dr. Phil producers have yet to reach out to them for a comment since the interview was recorded.
"If Dr. Phil was any kind of man he would reach out to me and say, ‘I’m sorry. I am going to continue with this course of action because I am in this to make money.’ Sorry," Stevens Jr. said. "Dr. Phil is fat Jerry Springer to me."
Moments before the screaming started, a Kokomo Lane neighbor says her daughter was driving just down Island Way - the main road - and Harrouff jumped in front of her car, as if to harm himself.
She pulled in her driveway about a minute later and then heard the screaming from five houses away.
Dr. Phil also confirmed this account in the interview, when he asked if Harrouff jumped in front of traffic.