MIAMI (CBSMiami) — A judge ruled Friday that a controversial interview with the Florida student dubbed the ‘cannibal killer,’ must be released to the media by Tuesday.
According to CBS12, the judge made the ruling during an emergency hearing, denying a request by Austin Harrouff’s defense team to block the release of the interview.
After the hearing, the media tried to speak with Harrouff’s father about the defense’s decision to oppose the release of the video. Harrouff’s father did not respond to the reporter.
The 19-year-old Florida State University student gave a bedside interview with the “Dr. Phil” show before he was arrested.
Harrouff’s attorney, Nellie King, asked a Martin County Judge Friday to reconsider his decision to release a videotaped interview
King argued that releasing the video of the interview could impair his ability to receive a fair trial. However, the judge in the case ruled that after watching the interview, he did not believe it would harm Harrouff’s ability to get a fair trial.
On a document marked unofficial on the Martin County Clerk of Courts’ website, the judge’s ruling read:
“Extensive media coverage, regardless of venue, does not preclude jurors from serving as long as they can put any formed opinions aside and fairly judge this case on the facts presented at trial, and the testimony of experts regarding those facts.”
The judge wrote in his order that Harrouff did not confess to a crime during the interview.
The Martin County Sheriff’s Office said there was no legal way it could have prohibited Harrouff from giving the interview, according to the Palm Beach Post.
But the son of the man killed by Harrouff argued authorities could have arrested the Jupiter teenager sooner, avoiding an opportunity to give an interview.
Harrouff was arrested October 3, 2016, and taken from the hospital to Martin County Jail with no bond. He had been recuperating in the hospital since the August 15, 2016, attack that left 59-year-old John Stevens III and 53-year-old Michelle Mishcon dead outside their home near Jupiter.
Their neighbor, Jeff Fisher, who tried to intervene in the attack before calling 911 was also injured.
When deputies first arrived, they said Harrouff was intertwined with John Stevens on the floor of the garage. Deputies said Harrouff was biting Stevens’ face and stomach after stabbing Stevens and his wife Michelle. They were so intertwined that deputies could not use deadly force to pull him off. It took Tasers, deputies, and a dog to finally get Harrouff under control.
At the time of his arrest, Harrouff dared police to test him for drugs. He tested negative for common street drugs like cocaine, heroin, marijuana and methamphetamine. An FBI test showed no evidence Harrouff was under the influence of Flakka or bath salts at the time of the incident, his attorney said last November.
Harrouff’s sister said in the days and weeks prior to the crime, her brother spoke about having super powers and exhibited strange behavior.
The former high school football player and wrestler made YouTube videos about bodybuilding and often spoke of an apparent internal struggle to not use steroids.
As for the interview with Harrouff, the “Dr.Phil” segment called “The Frat Boy Dubbed ‘Cannibal Killer’ Breaks His Silence From His Hospital Bed,” had been set to air months before. The video of Harrouff speaking to the show might be released sometime next week unless the attorney for Harrouff appeals the judge’s ruling to a higher court.