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

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

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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.

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