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Judge accepts insanity plea in face-biting case

SHOTLIST:RESTRICTION SUMMARY: POOLStuart, Florida - 28 November 20221. Austin Harrouff escorted and seated in court2. Wide of courtroom3. Harrouff sitting with attorneysANNOTATION: A judge accepted a plea deal for a man who randomly killed a Florida couple in their garage six years ago and then chewed on one of the victims' faces.4. Various of family members speaking in courtANNOTATION: Austin Harrouff pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity to first-degree murder and other charges for the 2016 slayings.ANNOTATION: A number of family members of the slain couple expressed anger at the decision.5. Wide of court, judge reading rulingANNOTATION: Harrouff will be committed to a secure mental health facility until doctors and a judge agree that he is no longer dangerous. ANNOTATION: Harrouff could have faced life in prison. STORYLINE:A judge has accepted a plea deal for a man who randomly killed a Florida couple in their garage six years ago and then chewed on one victim's face. Twenty-five-year-old Austin Harrouff pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity to two counts of first-degree murder and other charges for the 2016 slayings of 59-year-old John Stevens and his wife, 53-year-old Michelle Mishcon Stevens. The agreement avoids a trial that had been scheduled to start Monday.The trial had been delayed by the pandemic, legal wrangling and Harrouff's recovery from critical injuries suffered while drinking a chemical during the attack.Harrouff will be committed to a secure mental health facility until doctors and a judge agree that he is no longer dangerous. He could have faced life in prison. Defendants are presumed sane under Florida law, meaning that Harrouff must show he had a severe mental breakdown that prevented him from understanding actions or that they were even wrong by "clear and convincing" evidence.He has claimed he was fleeing a demon when the attack happened.Harrouff's parents and others said he had acted strangely for weeks. His parents had set up an appointment for him to be evaluated, but the attack occurred first.===========================================================Clients are reminded: (i) to check the terms of their licence agreements for use of content outside news programming and that further advice and assistance can be obtained from the AP Archive on: Tel +44 (0) 20 7482 7482 Email: info@aparchive.com(ii) they should check with the applicable collecting society in their Territory regarding the clearance of any sound recording or performance included within the AP Television News service (iii) they have editorial responsibility for the use of all and any content included within the AP Television News service and for libel, privacy, compliance and third party rights applicable to their Territory.

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