A 20-minute video released by a Florida state attorney’s office shows accused face-biting killer Austin Harrouff conducting a video-chat interview from a hospital room on the “Dr. Phil Show.”
In early parts of the video, Dr. Phil McGraw asks Harrouff, 20, if he is aware that he had made a shift in his thinking that was making people uncomfortable.
“Not really,” Harrouff said. “I was aware that I became more serious and things, but I wasn’t aware that I was pushing people away. I didn’t know it was affecting my relationship with my friends.”
They discuss the content of videos that Harrouff posted on YouTube, with Dr. Phil asking Harrouff whether he ever used steroids.
“Never,” Harrouff replied. “Never tried it once.”
The conversation shifts to theories that Harrouff might have used flakka, and Harrouff is asked if he knows what flakka is.
“Is it a crystal or something?” Harrouff asks. “I don’t know. My dad told me it was a crystal or something.”
Harrouff says he’s never taken flakka or seen the drug. He is asked whether anyone could have slipped the drug into his food or something he drank.
“I drank some tea at Duffy’s, so I was told,” Harrouff said. “I don’t think they would poison me or anybody would poison me. “
Harrouff emphasizes that those substances will not be found in his toxicology reports. He says that he has never seen or heard of bath salts.
The conversation then shifts to Harrouff leaving dinner at Duffy’s.
“When you left there, were you confused or were you thinking straight, in your opinion?” Dr. Phil asks.
“I don’t remember thinking at all,” Harrouff said. “It’s like a blur. I don’t think I was thinking straight.”
Harrouff walks Dr. Phil through the evening of Aug. 15 in Martin County, Florida. He tells Dr. Phil that he didn’t understand what was happening.
“At the end, I remember saving a dog and hijacking a car, and then it’s a blur,” Harrouff says. ”It’s like it happened, but, like, I wasn’t aware of it at the time ...I’m so sorry. It’s like a nightmare. I never wanted this to happen.”
Harrouff’s attorneys argued that the video shouldn’t be released before the trial. “Sensationalizing the details of this case pretrial does nothing to advance justice in the courtroom,” attorney Nellie King said.
Harrouff is charged with first-degree murder in the Aug. 15 deaths of Michelle Mischon, 53, and her husband, John Stevens, 59, at their home near the Martin and Palm Beach county lines. The story made national headlines after investigators said deputies found Harrouff biting Stevens’ face. Court documents indicate that Harrouff told detectives that he “ate something bad.” When he was asked what that was, he replied, “Humans.”
King, one of Harrouff’s attorneys, said in a statement late Monday that the interview with Dr. Phil is “just one of many pieces of evidence demonstrating the deterioration of Austin’s mental health.”
Martin County Circuit Judge Lawrence Mirman ruled in favor of open records and stated the release of the video, recorded Oct. 3 but never shown on the “Dr. Phil” show, would not be “necessary to prevent a serious and imminent threat to a fair trial” for Harrouff.
“From its content, it is apparent that this video interview (with Austin Harrouff) was conducted at the request of the defendant or, more likely, his father while the defendant was hospitalized after the events giving rise to his arrest,” Mirman wrote in the ruling.
Harrouff’s father, Wade Harrouff, spoke with Dr. Phil after the killings as well. A teary-eyed Wade Harrouff apologized, saying “something went way wrong.” He insisted that his son isn’t a monster.
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