NEW: Defense says Austin Harrouff’s ‘Dr. Phil’ interview tapes incomplete

Nov 22, 2017
Austin Harrouff is transported by detectives to the Martin County Jail from St. Mary’s Hospital on October 3, 2016. Harrouff, who allegedly fatally stabbed a Martin County couple in their home on August 15th, has officially been charged with two counts of first-degree murder. (Richard Graulich / The Palm Beach Post)

The defense attorneys for Austin Harrouff, the 20-year-old Jupiter man charged with killing two people and biting one of their faces in Martin County last year, say that the interviews between their client and TV’s Dr. Phil McGraw that have been provided to the court are not complete, according to court records.

Attorney Nellie King wrote in a motion this week that the extended interview requested by an assistant state attorney from the production company for “Dr. Phil” this year has been edited. The motion does not specify how the attorneys know something is missing.

In court Tuesday, Judge Lawrence Mirman granted the motion, according to court records. Now the defense is expected to subpoena the production company to get the complete interview.

Harrouff is charged with two counts of first-degree murder and one count of attempted murder in the Aug. 15, 2016, fatal attacks of John Stevens III and his wife, Michelle Mishcon at their home on Southeast Kokomo Lane, just north of the Palm Beach County border. Authorities said Harrouff also tried to kill a neighbor, Jeff Fisher, but he got away and called for help. The homicides made international headlines news after authorities revealed Harrouff was found biting the face of Stevens when they arrived at the scene.

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In the original 22-minute edited interview released earlier this year, Harrouff tells “Dr. Phil” that he doesn’t remember what happened that night but that he didn’t want it to have happened. At one point he talks about having superpowers and extended his apologies to the families of Stevens and Mishcon.

“I didn’t know if it was reality or a dream. It’s like waking up from a nightmare,” Harrouff says.

In September, the defense, state and Peteski Productions, the production company for the “Dr. Phil” show, all filed arguments stating why the extended 100-minute version either should or should not be released. The state argued the interview in its entirety was needed for prosecution. Peteski Productions asked if the extended version was released, that a watermark be used so it would be protected by copyright. Harrouff’s attorneys asked that the interview not be released at all.

Mirman ruled the recordings be released with a watermark because they were “highly relevant.”

It’s unclear what may be in the additional hour and 20 minutes or how much longer the video actually is if Harrouff’s attorneys are able to obtain more from the production company.

Although there is no date set in the court record, the next hearing will address whether the video can be released to the public. Harrouff’s lawyers have argued that it will only bring prejudice to their client. King and the other lawyers previously made this argument in February, but Mirman ruled the tapes should be released.