Face-biting murder suspect Austin Harrouff asks for forgiveness in 'Dr. Phil' interview
MARTIN COUNTY, Fla. (WPEC) - In an exclusive interview with Phillip "Dr. Phil" McGraw, face-biting murder suspect Austin Harrouff said of the attack that left two people dead last August, he "never planned it" and "didn't want to do it."
Harrouff also didn't know why.
"I don't know," Harrouff told Dr. Phil. "If I did, I would tell you."
Harrouff asked for forgiveness in the hospital bed interview with Dr. Phil.
CBS12 received an exclusive portion of the interview Monday night. The full interview became public Tuesday morning.
"I'm sorry for their loss, I hope you can find it in your heart to forgive me. I never wanted this to happen," Harrouff said in the 20-minute interview with Dr. Phil. "It's like a nightmare."
Harrouff spoke to Dr. Phil weeks before his arrest on two counts of first-degree murder in the killings of John Stevens and his wife, Michelle Mishcon, last August. Harrouff is also facing charges for attacking Jeff Fisher, a homeowner who rushed over to try to save his neighbors. Fisher survived.
"You said you had a machete at that point," said Dr. Phil. "Do you remember where you got it?"
"In the garage, in the left corner," said Harrouff. The former Florida State University student said he didn't know why he picked it up.
Deputies said they found Harrouff outside the couple's home near Tequesta, biting at the face of Stevens. It took multiple deputies and a K-9 to get Harrouff into handcuffs. He spent more than a month in the hospital before being booked on two counts of first-degree murder, and attempted murder for the attack on Fisher. Authorities also charged Harrouff with resisting an officer without violence and burglary of a dwelling while armed.
Harrouff told Dr. Phil he didn't remember specifics of what happened, calling it a blur.
"It’s like, it happened but I don’t, the story ... it happened, but like, I wasn't aware of it at the time. I remember ... at the dog," said Harrouff.
"Saving the dog and what?" asked Dr. Phil.
"Saving the dog and hijacking the car, and then it’s a blur," Harrouff said.
Harrouff told Dr. Phil he's never taken Flakka. Blood test results from the FBI showed no evidence of Flakka or bath salts in Harrouff's system.
He also denied using steroids and refused to say whether he drank something in the garage at the time of the attack.
"I don't want to talk about that. I can't talk about that," said Harrouff.
When asked whether he is mentally ill, Harrouff told Dr. Phil, "I guess so."
Harrouff's defense team tried unsuccessfully to block the release of the video.
Attorney Nellie King issued this statement:
"The legal defense team representing 19-year-old Austin Harrouff says a video-recorded interview between their client and CBS television personality Phillip McGraw, known to audiences as Dr. Phil, represents 'just one of many pieces of evidence demonstrating the deterioration of Austin’s mental health.'The video 'shows Austin when he was in a vulnerable state, recovering from acute medical and psychological trauma in the sanctity of his hospital room,' attorney Nellie King said. Although defense counsel agrees with the trial court's ruling that nothing in the video clip provided is prejudicial to Austin Harrouff, 'sensationalizing the details of this case pre-trial does nothing to advance justice in the courtroom,' King said. 'Nor does this pre-trial discovery information help those suffering from this tragedy, including the family members of Mr. Stevens and Ms. Mishcon,' she added. The circumstances of how Harrouff came to be videotaped in the hospital, while under guard by Martin County sheriff’s deputies, and without the knowledge of lawyers representing him, is still under investigation."
"Dr. Phil," which airs on CBS12 weekdays at 4 p.m., pulled the interview last year. But now, the full interview will air Thursday.