Published November 17, 2014
A Florida man has been found not guilty by reason of insanity in the slaying of his father in a case where the defense claimed that an energy drink contributed to his mental unbalance.
Pinellas County Judge Nancy Moate Ley ordered Wednesday that 42-year-old Stephen Coffeen be sent to a state mental hospital rather than stand trial for murder in the December 2009 suffocation death of his 83-year-old father.
The case made national headlines after a doctor suggested the consumption of the energy drink Red Bull along with sleep deprivation contributed to Coffeen's temporary insanity. The judge discounted that assertion.
The defendant's brother said Coffeen has no history of mental illness.
Four experts concluded unanimously that Coffeen was unable to understand his actions at the time of the killing.