By Peter D'Oench


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FORT LAUDERDALE (CBSMiami) — It was an emotional day for the family of a Tequesta couple brutally murdered in their home.

At the Parker Playhouse in Ft. Lauderdale Friday afternoon, the son and daughter of John Stevens III shed tears as they spoke about their father. Along with their step-mother Michelle Stevens, the couple was beaten, stabbed and killed while sitting in their garage.

“My dad, his name was John Stevens the third,” said his son, John Stevens IV. “I will just say he was a kind man. He was a loving husband and a dedicated father, and a dedicated person, and inspiring grandfather. I lost him but I will never forget him.”

He said his father had been looking forward to seeing his 3-month-old granddaughter in just a few weeks and taking her out on his boat.

“He was so excited and he felt so blessed,” a visibly shaken Stevens IV said. “He couldn’t wait to meet her and he couldn’t wait to take her out on the water.”

His sister Ivy Stevens echoed the same sentiments.

“My dad loved all of you and so did Michelle,” she said. “And we’re gonna miss them.”

Ivy spoke in front of more than 500 people, who began filing into the venue hours before the service.

19-year-old Austin Harrouff is accused of the murders and deputies reportedly found him eating pieces of John’s face.

The Martin County Sheriff’s Office said Harrouff, an FSU student and aspiring body builder, said video from Duffy’s Sports Grill shows him walking around the restaurant shortly before he reportedly had a fight with his father and would storm out by himself. Several hours later, police said he murdered the Stevens.

Michelle Stevens was the daughter of former North Miami Beach Mayor Jeff Mishcon.

“I was told that after losing a daughter, life never gets better. It just gets different,” Mishcon said. “The last few days have been so difficult. My family is aware of the love and strength you are giving us and we will make it through.”

Friends and family members spoke and shared memories for more than an hour.

“Michelle made everybody shine,” said a friend. “She was the most pleasant person on this earth.”

“Words can not express the pain that this family is feeling,” said another.

Harrouff’s family released a statement, in part saying:

“The Harrouff family expresses their deepest sympathy for the pain and suffering caused by Austin Harrouff. There are no words we can offer to give any real comfort for this tragic loss.”

Michelle and John Stevens were laid to rest in a private ceremony.

The Martin County Sheriff’s Office said once Harrouff is released from a West Palm Beach hospital, he will be charged with two counts of first degree murder and the attempted first degree murder of the victims’ neighbor, Jeff Fisher, who tried to stop the attack.

He remains in critical but stable condition.

Peter D'Oench

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