Crime, Fire + Courts

Davis man who smothered father released from mental-health facility

By From page A2 | November 17, 2013

A Davis man jailed nearly four years ago for killing his elderly father, then found not guilty by reason of insanity, is heading back home following a Florida judge’s ruling Friday that he can be released from a mental health hospital.

Stephen Coffeen, 44, must continue outpatient treatment in California, however, meeting regularly with mental-health professionals and a forensic case manager, the St. Petersburg Times reported.

The former East Davis resident had no prior criminal history when, on Dec. 18, 2009, he was arrested on suspicion of smothering 83-year-old Robert Coffeen in the victim’s St. Petersburg home.

According to media accounts, Stephen Coffeen was overheard making odd statements at the crime scene, asking that his rental car be taken into evidence and saying that his father had tried to poison another son’s dog. He also claimed that he had killed his father in self-defense.

In an unusual move, both the prosecution and defense agreed that Coffeen’s mental state at the time prevented him from understanding the gravity of his actions, a stipulation that led to the June 8, 2011, insanity ruling.

Coffeen was sent to a state mental health hospital, then to an unlocked mental-health facility following the ruling, according to the St. Petersburg Times.

— Reach Lauren Keene at [email protected] or 530-747-8046. Follow her on Twitter at @laurenkeene

Lauren Keene

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