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>>

  • Clearwater man arrested for fatally shooting girlfriend

    Clearwater man arrested for fatally shooting girlfriend

    Sunday, April 20 2014 4:55 PM EDT2014-04-20 20:55:51 GMT
    Police say the shooting occurred at this home at approximately 1 a.m. Sunday.Police say the shooting occurred at this home at approximately 1 a.m. Sunday.
    A Clearwater man has been charged with second-degree murder in the early morning shooting death of his girlfriend. Alexander Richardson, 24, of 2368 Hillcreek Circle E., was booked Sunday afternoon in the Pinellas County Jail in connection with the death of Josephine Nicole Austria, 51.
    A Clearwater man has been charged with second-degree murder in the early morning shooting death of his girlfriend. Alexander Richardson, 24, of 2368 Hillcreek Circle E., was booked Sunday afternoon in the Pinellas County Jail in connection with the death of Josephine Nicole Austria, 51.

  • In Colorado, a pot holiday tries to go mainstream

    In Colorado, a pot holiday tries to go mainstream

    Sunday, April 20 2014 4:53 PM EDT2014-04-20 20:53:06 GMT
    Tens of thousands gathered for a weekend of Colorado cannabis-themed festivals and entertainment. (Source: MGN) Tens of thousands gathered for a weekend of Colorado cannabis-themed festivals and entertainment. (Source: MGN)
    The 4/20 stoner holiday is going mainstream in Colorado.
    DENVER (AP) -
  • Clearwater park drew thousands for Easter egg hunt

    Clearwater park drew thousands for Easter egg hunt

    Sunday, April 20 2014 4:21 PM EDT2014-04-20 20:21:18 GMT
    It didn't take a sharp eye tospot colorfuleggs at the 22nd Annual Easter Egg Huntat Coachman Park on Sunday.Theground waslittered with the holiday nuggets.The noon to 2 p.m.eventwas expectedto draw more than a thousand basket-toting childrento gather up more than 25,000 candy-filled eggs.Based on history, the whole thing is more in a matter of minutes.The event started with a race to find the most Easter eggs, candy and 250 golden eggs. Those who find the special golden eggs receive a stuffed...
    It didn't take a sharp eye tospot colorfuleggs at the 22nd Annual Easter Egg Huntat Coachman Park on Sunday.Theground waslittered with the holiday nuggets.The noon to 2 p.m.eventwas expectedto draw more than a thousand basket-toting childrento gather up more than 25,000 candy-filled eggs.Based on history, the whole thing is more in a matter of minutes.The event started with a race to find the most Easter eggs, candy and 250 golden eggs. Those who find the special golden eggs receive a stuffed...
  • Sign up for WFLA News Channel 8 Email Alerts

    * denotes required fields






    Thank you for signing up! You will receive a confirmation email shortly.
  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • VIRAL VIDEO: Selfie Captures Man Getting Kicked By Train Engineer

    VIRAL VIDEO: Selfie Captures Man Getting Kicked By Train Engineer

    Wednesday, April 16 2014 2:46 PM EDT2014-04-16 18:46:32 GMT
    A video posted to YouTube showing a man getting kicked in the head by a person on a passing train has gone viral.
    A video posted to YouTube showing a man getting kicked in the head by a person on a passing train has gone viral.
  • Arcadia dog set on fire improving, could be released early

    Arcadia dog set on fire improving, could be released early

    Tuesday, April 1 2014 11:26 PM EDT2014-04-02 03:26:55 GMT
    "Hope" was doused with kerosene and set on fire. BluePearl Veterinary photo"Hope" was doused with kerosene and set on fire. BluePearl Veterinary photo
    A 1-year-old DeSoto County dog that was set on fire is improving and could be released from 24-hour care to a primary care veterinarian next week.
    A 1-year-old DeSoto County dog that was set on fire is improving and could be released from 24-hour care to a primary care veterinarian next week.
  • Trending: World's most haunted island up for auction

    Trending: World's most haunted island up for auction

    Thursday, April 17 2014 12:17 PM EDT2014-04-17 16:17:05 GMT
    Poveglia. Image Wikimedia CommonsPoveglia. Image Wikimedia Commons
     A small "haunted" island off the coast of Italy near Venice will hit the auction block in May.
    A small "haunted" island off the coast of Italy near Venice will hit the auction block in May.
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.