True Crime: Austin Harrouff, the cannibal killer from your nightmares

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Staff Writer Grace Campbell chronicles the life of Austin Harrouff, the once soft spoken typical college student who turned into a cannibalistic killer.

Grace Campbell, Staff Writer

This week we will be talking about murder in its most gruesome form: cannibalism. 

The cannibal killer aka Austin Harrouff is a lesser-known true case, however nonetheless horrific. 

Harrouff was your typical all American guy. He was born in 1996 and grew up in Florida where he lived a healthy, happy and seemingly normal life. He played football, wrestled and got good grades. On paper, he was an average but decent guy. After high school, he enrolled at Florida State University, where he pledged Alpha Delta Phi Fraternity. There, he spent years partying, studying, and wrestling. 

However, at the beginning of Aug.2016, Austin started acting noticeably different. It started when he told his family about an “evil presence” in their house that he needed to protect them from, and he went as far as to claim he had superpowers and was an immortal being…. What?

The once soft spoken kid had seemed to do a complete 180. He often got into verbal fights with his dad, shot at birds in their neighborhood and became a strung-out weirdo who nobody recognized. It got so bad to the point where his sister would lock her door at night to keep him away!! However, Austin himself knew something was off in his mind. A look at his browser history reported searches of ‘how do you know you’re going crazy” and “what to do if you’ve gone crazy” and “obsessive thoughts” and “how to sell your soul to the devil” and the most telling one “schizophrenia.” 

These warning signs all led up to the horrible murder of his neighbors Michelle and John Stevens. The day the murders took place in mid-August, Austin started his morning with a nice walk with his dad and lunch afterward. However, before their food could even arrive Austin took off to his mom’s house where he paced around the neighborhood. He came across the Stevens’ house- in particular their open garage. This garage had been decked out to the max, the Stevens spent most nights relaxing out there watching tv, however, this night would be their last. Austin entered the garage and attacked John first, then Michelle, stabbing them over and over with his pocket knife. He also grabbed many items in the garage within reach to brutally beat them. 

Luckily Stevens’ neighbor Jeff heard the commotion and went across the street to break up the attack. Upon Jeff’s arrival, Austin stopped and said “you don’t want any of this” before Jeff ran back home to call 911. At that point, Jeff realized he too had stab wounds on his back, neck and head. 

When the police arrived at the scene, no one could have suspected what they would see. There was Austin, on top of John’s dead body, taking bites of his head and abdomen, (are you kidding me??!!!) the officers tried to remove Austin from the body, and even tase him, but nothing could stop him. It took four officers combined to remove Austin from the body and handcuff him as he screamed out “just kill me!”

Now, while in jail Austin has been diagnosed with schizophrenia and began treatment. And just this March it was declared he was legally insane at the time of the murders. He has still not yet had his trial due to numerous psychiatric tests. It is unknown he will ever be served justice for his crimes.