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

  • 8 On Your SideMore>>

  • TPD homicide detective under federal criminal investigation

    TPD homicide detective under federal criminal investigation

    Tuesday, April 22 2014 6:55 PM EDT2014-04-22 22:55:30 GMT
    Tampa Police Officer Eric Houston, who is working at a crime scene in this file photo, is under federal investigation.Tampa Police Officer Eric Houston, who is working at a crime scene in this file photo, is under federal investigation.
    The feds are investigating one of Tampa Police Department's lead homicide detectives. Officer Eric Houston, who is one of the lead detectives in the Julie Schenecker murder investigation, is under federal criminal investigation. 
    The feds are investigating one of Tampa Police Department's lead homicide detectives. Officer Eric Houston, who is one of the lead detectives in the Julie Schenecker murder investigation, is under federal criminal investigation. 
  • New Port Richey soldier says squatters won't leave his home

    New Port Richey soldier says squatters won't leave his home

    Tuesday, April 22 2014 4:01 AM EDT2014-04-22 08:01:42 GMT
    Soldier & homeowner Michael Sharkey was deployed to Afghanistan two years ago. Facebook photoSoldier & homeowner Michael Sharkey was deployed to Afghanistan two years ago. Facebook photo
     When soldier Michael Sharkey was deployed to Afghanistan two years ago, he asked a friend to watch over his New Port Richey house. Now, they're fighting to get their house back.
    When soldier Michael Sharkey was deployed to Afghanistan two years ago, he asked a friend to watch over his New Port Richey house. Now, they're fighting to get their house back.
  • Tampa homeowner says Duke Energy is a bully for taking her oak tree

    Tampa homeowner says Duke Energy is a bully for taking her oak tree

    Monday, April 21 2014 5:34 PM EDT2014-04-21 21:34:15 GMT
    Neda Dandache and her family love their backyard oasis, even though a gigantic Duke Energy transmission tower abuts their backyard. Oak trees block that view, for now, and give them shade.The trees have never been an issue, but now, Duke wants them gone. Dandache says Duke's forester told her they may cause a problem - seven years from now."
    Neda Dandache and her family love their backyard oasis, even though a gigantic Duke Energy transmission tower abuts their backyard. Oak trees block that view, for now, and give them shade.The trees have never been an issue, but now, Duke wants them gone. Dandache says Duke's forester told her they may cause a problem - seven years from now."
  • 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>>

  • New Port Richey soldier says squatters won't leave his home

    New Port Richey soldier says squatters won't leave his home

    Tuesday, April 22 2014 4:01 AM EDT2014-04-22 08:01:42 GMT
    Soldier & homeowner Michael Sharkey was deployed to Afghanistan two years ago. Facebook photoSoldier & homeowner Michael Sharkey was deployed to Afghanistan two years ago. Facebook photo
     When soldier Michael Sharkey was deployed to Afghanistan two years ago, he asked a friend to watch over his New Port Richey house. Now, they're fighting to get their house back.
    When soldier Michael Sharkey was deployed to Afghanistan two years ago, he asked a friend to watch over his New Port Richey house. Now, they're fighting to get their house back.
  • Mom bites off dog's ear to save daughter during attack

    Mom bites off dog's ear to save daughter during attack

    Tuesday, April 22 2014 2:49 PM EDT2014-04-22 18:49:19 GMT
    Image from CNN/KHOU-TVImage from CNN/KHOU-TV
    In a backyard in Alvin, swings a very lucky girl. Her name is Mackenzi Plass, or Kenzi for short, and she survived a dog attack and has undergone several surgeries."She'll be two and a half in May," said her very proud mother Chelsi Camp. "She's doing great. You wouldn't know it if you couldn't see."Mackenzi has scars on her face after the ordeal just weeks ago that put her mother's animal instincts to the test."You do whatever you can," said Camp. "I don't have physical strength at my side."...
    In a backyard in Alvin, swings a very lucky girl. Her name is Mackenzi Plass, or Kenzi for short, and she survived a dog attack and has undergone several surgeries."She'll be two and a half in May," said her very proud mother Chelsi Camp. "She's doing great. You wouldn't know it if you couldn't see."Mackenzi has scars on her face after the ordeal just weeks ago that put her mother's animal instincts to the test."You do whatever you can," said Camp. "I don't have physical strength at my side."...
  • Hope the dog: Burns are 90% healed

    Hope the dog: Burns are 90% healed

    Tuesday, April 22 2014 6:07 PM EDT2014-04-22 22:07:14 GMT
    Hope's burns are 90% healed. Hardee County Animal Rescue Facebook page photoHope's burns are 90% healed. Hardee County Animal Rescue Facebook page photo
    We have some good news to report about Hope, the little 1-year-old dog that won over the hearts of many after she was doused with kerosene and lit on fire.
    We have some good news to report about Hope, the little 1-year-old dog that won over the hearts of many after she was doused with kerosene and lit on fire.
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.