A Florida college student accused of attacking and killing a couple and chewing on the dead man’s face told Dr. Phil McGraw that he was fleeing a demon-like figure named “Daniel” immediately before the attack.
Austin Harrouff said his mind was “a blur” on August 15, 2016, when he left a restaurant to walk to his father’s home after getting into an argument with him.
McGraw asked about “the devil talking to you,” and Harrouff went on to describe a “dark figure” that he identified as Daniel.
“Right when I saw him, I panicked and tried to get help,” the former Florida State University student told McGraw during the 22-minute interview, which was released by prosecutors on Tuesday.
“It wasn’t like a clear person; it was like a dark figure,” he said, and added that when he saw Daniel and heard his voice saying, “Hey, Austin,” he “got scared out of my mind.”
Harrouff was arrested for the deaths of John Stevens, a 59-year-old landscaper; and his wife, Michelle Mishcon, 53. Both had been beaten and stabbed.
During the interview Dr. Phil asked Austin about the rumor that Harrouff could have been on “flakka” — the so-called “zombie drug” that has been linked to vicious attacks — and Harrouff denied ever taking the drug and claimed that he did not know what it was, asking if it was “a crystal“.
Harrouff said he was trying to run away from Daniel when he noticed his victims’ open garage door. He said he has vague memories of picking up a machete from the corner of the garage during the altercation with the couple.
The interview, which is now evidence in the case, was scheduled to air on McGraw’s “Dr. Phil” show Oct. 28 but was pulled at the last minute without explanation.
Prosecutors released it without comment after NBC affiliate WPTV hired lawyers to seek its release under the state’s public information law. The interview is now set to air on “Dr. Phil” today.
Harrouff’s defense team tried unsuccessfully to block the release of the video, which attorney Nellie King told WPEC “shows Austin when he was in a vulnerable state, recovering from acute medical and psychological trauma in the sanctity of his hospital room.”
She added that the circumstances surrounding how Harrouff came to be videotaped at the hospital “while under guard by Martin County sheriff’s deputies, and without the knowledge of lawyers representing him, is still under investigation.”
“I felt terrible, and there are really no words to express how I feel,” Harrouff told Dr. Phil. “It’s like a nightmare.”
When Dr. Phil asked him if there was anything that he wanted to say to the victim’s family members, he appeared to burst into tears while asking them for forgiveness.
Harrouff faces the death penalty if convicted of murder.
Main photo: Austin Harrouff [WPBF 25 News/Dr. Phil (screenshot)]