Pinellas 'Red Bull Killer' free to go home to California - WFLA News Channel 8

Pinellas 'Red Bull Killer' free to go home to California

Posted: Updated:
In 2009, Stephen Coffeen suffocated his father, 83-year-old Robert Coffeen, with a couch pillow. Pinellas County Jail booking photo In 2009, Stephen Coffeen suffocated his father, 83-year-old Robert Coffeen, with a couch pillow. Pinellas County Jail booking photo
CLEARWATER, FL (WFLA) -

A man who was nicknamed the 'Red Bull killer' for murdering his own father is now free to go home to California.

When Stephen Coffeen walked into a Pinellas county courtroom Friday morning, it marked a milestone in an unusual case that's lasted nearly four years.

Officials say in 2009, Coffeen suffocated his 83 year old father with a couch pillow in St. Petersburg.

Related: read more about the Red Bull case

Coffeen had been visiting from California.

One doctor said drinking Red Bull and a lack of sleep contributed to his mental state.

Five experts agreed he was not guilty by reason of insanity. So instead of a trial he was sent to be treated.

Judge Nancy Moate Ley said, "From one point of view, it's easier just to keep everybody locked up forever but that is not the law."

Coffeen's Attorney Peter Sartes said, "He is a textbook case. He is the reason why not guilty by reason of insanity exists."

On Friday, Judge Ley felt Coffeen completed all the treatment he needed, so she allowed him to go back to his home to California.

Judge Ley told Coffeen, "In spite of what some people might think, in no way is this saying this conditional release is done and you're just free."

After he moves back to Davis, California, he will have to regularly meet with a psychiatrist. He'll also join a bipolar support group and take stress reduction classes.

Judge Ley instructed, "If you violate this order, there is nothing for me to do but pick you back up and place you in a more restrictive environment."

Outside the courtroom, Coffeen was stone faced and ignored reporter's questions.

Instead, his attorney spoke for him.

Sartes said, "The things that have transpired that's been involved in are things he's gonna live with for the rest of his life."

Coffeen is required to return to Pinellas County on June 20th for a status hearing.

Stay connected with the news of the day. Download the WFLA news app today. It's FREE http://8.wfla.com/1etbepy

  • NewsMore>>

  • Former Marine's computer damaged during trip to Tampa

    Former Marine's computer damaged during trip to Tampa

    Monday, September 15 2014 10:35 PM EDT2014-09-16 02:35:25 GMT
    Farina's computer arrived in this damaged package from UPS.Farina's computer arrived in this damaged package from UPS.
    Vincent Farina had a plan when he left the Marines to pursue his degree in game design.But that plan was stalled when his computer was damage while shipped from Camp Pendleton, California to Tampa.
    Vincent Farina had a plan when he left the Marines to pursue his degree in game design.But that plan was stalled when his computer was damage while shipped from Camp Pendleton, California to Tampa.
  • Four survive St. Petersburg plane crash

    Four survive St. Petersburg plane crash

    Monday, September 15 2014 9:58 PM EDT2014-09-16 01:58:51 GMT
    Crews removed the wreckage from Vinoy Park on Monday night.Crews removed the wreckage from Vinoy Park on Monday night.

    With rescue crews on their way, Kerry Moser grabbed his cell and captured images just minutes after a plane went down Monday morning at Vinoy Park in St. Petersburg. On the video you can hear a bystander talking to the pilot – “We're right here. I'm trying to help you. I don't want you to. . . Buddy. We got help on the way.”

    With rescue crews on their way, Kerry Moser grabbed his cell and captured images just minutes after a plane went down Monday morning at Vinoy Park in St. Petersburg. On the video you can hear a bystander talking to the pilot – “We're right here. I'm trying to help you. I don't want you to. . . Buddy. We got help on the way.”

  • Sarasota health aide charged with stealing from elderly client

    Sarasota health aide charged with stealing from elderly client

    Monday, September 15 2014 9:56 PM EDT2014-09-16 01:56:56 GMT
    Investigators say Horton, 42, took advantage of an elderly Venice woman. Investigators say Horton, 42, took advantage of an elderly Venice woman.
    A 42-year-old North Port home health in is behind bars for bilking an elderly client out of approximately $5,000.Michelle Horton, an employee of Almost Family Inc., was booked into the Sarasota County Jail where she is being held on a bond of $20,000.
    A 42-year-old North Port home health in is behind bars for bilking an elderly client out of approximately $5,000.Michelle Horton, an employee of Almost Family Inc., was booked into the Sarasota County Jail where she is being held on a bond of $20,000.
  • Sign up for WFLA News Channel 8 Email Alerts

    * denotes required fields






    Thank you for signing up! You will receive a confirmation email shortly.
Powered by WorldNow

200 South Parker Street, Tampa, FL 33606

Telephone: 813.228.8888
Fax: 813.225.2770
Email: news@wfla.com

Can’t find something?
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Media General Communications Holdings, LLC. A Media General Company.