- The Washington Times - Saturday, November 26, 2016

A Florida teenager accused of murdering a married couple and then attempting to eat one of his victims wrote about being bullied and other personal problems prior to the grisly altercation, according to new documents released this week.

A state attorney’s office on Wednesday released a trove of material related to its case against 19-year-old Austin Harrouff, a Florida State University student who faces multiple murder charges related to the Aug. 15 incident in Martin County.

Among those documents are more than 100 pages worth of the teen’s own writing dating back to 2013, as well as hundreds of other files gathered during the course of collecting material in the discovery stage of the prosecution’s investigation, The Palm Beach Post reported Friday.

Those writings, the newspaper noted, offer a previously unseen glimpse inside the mind of an emotional teenager who appears to have been bullied and to have suffered anxiety prior to his arrest for the fatal stabbings of John Stevens III, 59, and Michelle Mishcon, 53.

“You say my big heart’s gonna kill me one day, my head roller coasting with these drugs in my brain,” reads an undated excerpt attributed to Mr. Harrouff and released this week. “So why do it anyways? Why do it anyways?”

“Do you know what it feels like to be so afraid to speak? Becoming a bully ‘cause all the bullies bullied me,” he wrote in another undated document. “(Expletive) man, I just wanted to be accepted. The anxiety I feel inside feels like I internally bleed.”

Authorities on Wednesday also released an accounting of the teen’s internet history prior to the assault, a wide-ranging collection of Google searches ranging from the mundane (“Coffee: Good or Bad?”) to the mystical (“what exactly is hell”), as well with searches related to meditation techniques, dandruff remedies and Satanism, among other topics.

Other searches traced back to the teenager’s smartphone include “How to sell your soul to the Devil,” “How do I let God into my life” and “How to contact Oprah Winfrey.” He also looked up details about various mental disorders, and once searched, “Why am I losing my emotions?” the newspaper noted.

Investigators initially speculated that Mr. Harrouff might have consumed synthetic drugs prior to when he was discovered allegedly attempting to eat the face off of one of his victims on Aug. 15 and taken into custody. According to the results of a drug test released this week, however, the teen only tested positive for trace amounts of alcohol and THC, the active ingredient in marijuana.

“This is a cautionary tale for why law enforcement should endeavor to conduct complete investigations reliant on evidence, like toxicology reports, instead of speculation with no basis in fact,” his attorney, Nellie King, said this week. “We know this information will be of no comfort to the victims’ families and friends, but, as painful as this process is, it is critical for everyone involved to examine the facts and avoid jumping to conclusions,” Ms. King said.

“Austin is struggling with severe mental illness and the judicial process will bear all of this out in due time,” the attorney added, according to a local CBS affiliate. 

Upon being arrested, Mr. Harrouff reportedly told investigators on his way to an area hospital that he had “ate something bad,” CBS News reported this week.

When asked what he had consumed, the teen reportedly replied, “humans.”

Mr. Harrouff has been charged with two counts of first-degree murder, as well as one count of attempted murder for allegedly attacking a neighbor who tried to intervene. He’s currently being held in the medical unit of the Martin County Jail pending a trial currently slated to begin in January 2017.

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