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Judge in face-biting attack denies insanity rules challenge

The Palm Beach (Fla.) Post
Austin Harrouff, right, who is accused of killing a Tequesta couple in 2016, listens as his attorney Robert Watson the court during a hearing Thursday, June 13, 2019, at the Martin County Courthouse in Stuart, Fla.

Stuart, Fla. – A judge has rejected a constitutional challenge to Florida’s insanity defense law made by the attorneys for a man accused of killing a couple and chewing the husband’s face.

The Palm Beach Post reports that Circuit Court Judge Sherwood Bauer ruled Monday against a motion by 22-year-old August Harrouff’s legal team.

Harrouff’s attorneys had argued the law wrongly places the burden of proof on defendants instead of prosecutors. Attorney Robert J. Watson said the law’s requirement that defendants prove insanity to a “clear and convincing” level wrongly places the burden of proof on defendants instead of prosecutors.

It was not immediately clear whether Harrouff’s defense team would appeal the ruling.

Harrouff is charged with murdering 59-year-old John Stevens III and 53-year-old Michelle Mishcon in 2016.