Criminal Justice

Psychiatrist Says Red Bull and Sleep Deprivation Caused Murder Defendant’s Psychosis

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A defense psychiatrist has concluded that a Florida murder defendant killed his 83-year-old father during a psychotic break fueled by Red Bull and sleep deprivation.

The psychiatrist testified about his conclusions in a bond reduction hearing last February for defendant Stephen Coffeen, according to the St. Petersburg Times and ABC Action News. Now prosecutors are weighing whether to accept the insanity defense for Coffeen, who remains behind bars.

Coffeen’s brother, Thomas Coffeen, noted the testimony in a letter (PDF) he sent to the judge on Monday. Thomas Coffeen disagrees with the conclusion. “Since when is being tired, and high on an energy drink, an excuse for cold blooded murder, anyway?” he wrote.

Hat tip to Legal Blog Watch.

Related coverage: “Ky. Jury Quickly Rejects Sleep-Deprivation aka ‘Caffeine’ Defense” “ ‘Caffeine Psychosis’ May Have Caused Man’s Erratic Driving, Defense Lawyer Says” “ ‘Caffeine Intoxication’ Is a Recognized Mental Disorder”

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