FORT LAUDERDALE (CBSMiami/AP) — Accused face-biting murder suspect Austin Harrouff was in court Thursday as his attorneys attacked the constitutionality of the state’s laws governing insanity defenses.
Harrouff, who is accused of killing a Jupiter couple, was in court to hear two motions.
One of the arguments was over insanity and its definition.
Harrouff’s attorneys argued the law wrongly places the burden of proof on defendants instead of prosecutors.
Attorney Robert J. Watson also told Judge Sherwood Bauer Jr. the law’s requirement that defendants prove insanity to a “clear and convincing” level of proof discriminates against the mentally ill because it is a higher burden than self-defense or duress. Under self-defense, prosecutors must prove it wasn’t. Defendants who claim duress must prove it is more likely than not.
His defense attorneys previously claimed he was insane at the time of the killing.
A psychiatric profile released in April revealed Harrouff once described himself as The Terminator, a dog, Gandhi, a centaur, and Jesus.
The 22-year-old Harrouff is charged with murdering 59-year-old John Stevens III and 53-year-old Michelle Mishcon in 2016 and attacking their neighbor, Jeff Fisher, who tried to intervene in the attack before calling 911.
The first deputy on scene found Harrouff biting the face of Stevens.
Judge Bauer said he would rule soon.
Harrouff is facing two counts of first-degree murder and one count of attempted murder. His trial is scheduled for the fall.
(© Copyright 2019 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)