'Red Bull Killer' Declared Insane
Though judge says case was never about energy drink
By Tim Karan,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 8, 2011 2:00 PM CDT
A judge ruled the "Red Bull murder" defendant not guilty by reason of insanity.   (Shutterstock)

(Newser) – A Florida man who smothered his elderly father to death is going to a state hospital instead of a state prison. A judge declared that Stephen Coffeen "did not understand the wrongfulness of his actions" and found him not guilty by reason of insanity today, reports the St. Petersburg Times. What normally would have been a local case drew national attention when an expert noted in court that Coffeen had been guzzling Red Bull before the killing, notes ABC. The "Red Bull defense" became an instant headline hit.

"This case is not and never has been about Red Bull," said the judge. Four experts who testified at the non-jury hearing agreed that the 41-year-old could not differentiate right from wrong. Coffeen's brother is upset with the verdict, saying Coffeen intended to kill their father all along. "He got away with murder," he says. "Let 12 Floridians make the decision, not four 'experts.'"