Clearwater, Florida--The so called red bull murderer is on his way home after spending 17 months in a mental facility and a year in a halfway house for killing his father.
The Judge in the case says she had no choice but to release the man who- as the 10 News Investigators discovered 4 years ago- first blamed his actions on the energy drink Red Bull.
Stephen Coffeen not only walked out of the Pinellas Courthouse Friday, he walked away from a three year period of incarceration for smothering his father Robert in his St. Petersburg home four years ago.
Coffeen's brother called 911 after he found their father's limp body.
When the 911 operator asked Tom Coffeen if their father was alive, he could be heard screaming to his brother, "Oh my God, you f***ing killed him" in the call recording.
Although Coffeen wouldn't comment Friday, four years ago he first said it was a combination of lack of sleep and Red Bull that caused him to snap and kill his dad, but then changed his plea to temporary insanity.
"That isn't in anyway excusing what you did," Judge Nancy Ley told Coffeen. But she added, "The law says if you are legally insane, you have to be found not guilty by reasons of insanity, and every doctor agreed on it here."
Ley, who appeared to go to greats lengths to deflect any criticism, about giving Coffeen a conditional release after three years, belabored the fact she was following the law.
"And so another misunderstanding that seems to come around about this case is 'oh, he's just being let go. It didn't matter; nobody was taking this seriously', and that has never been true about this case from the beginning."
The judge said the system is taking this murder seriously, and while Coffeen can go home to California, he must be monitored by four mental health professionals and take his meds.
Peter Sartes, Coffeen's attorney says the judge did the right thing.
"This is the decision she had to come to legally."
However Coffeen's brother Tom disagrees.
"I think it is absurd," he said. "Unfortunately it is not surprising with what's been going on over the last four years."
Tom Coffeen is one who thinks this is a case of someone getting away with murder. He's expressed concern that his brother could snap again and kill someone else.
"It could be me, it could be my family, and it could be anybody else because if he doesn't take his meds, which is what I said two years ago, all bets are off."
Four years ago Tom Coffeen told the 10 News Investigators he didn't believe his brother's story and could not believe the state and psychiatrists did.
We asked Coffeen what his father would have wanted. He said his father was a gentle man who would have wanted him to forgive his brother. However, Tom said that is something he can never do.