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Spencer Coffin pleads guilty

Court finds father shot son in self-defense
June 21, 2018

A Lewes man has pleaded guilty to charges of menacing, crime against a vulnerable adult and breach of release after his father shot him in self-defense in December. 

Spencer Coffin, 32, will serve two years and 30 days in jail followed by a year of probation, Delaware Department of Justice spokesman Carl Kanefsky said. Coffin was already in jail at the time of his sentencing pending substance abuse treatment, Kanefsky said. On Jan. 9, Coffin was sentenced to six months in jail and mandatory completion of a substance abuse treatment program for a fourth DUI, resisting arrest and not having a valid license.

According to court documents,  in December 2017, Coffin was verbally aggressive and appeared to be hallucinating and paranoid while at his residence on Breakwater Street. Coffin left to go to a house where he purchased drugs and then came back, still aggressive. When he came back, the doors had been locked so he could not get inside. He pounded on the door until his father let him in. Coffin cursed and yelled, and his father armed himself with a .22-caliber revolver and went into a third-floor bedroom. Court documents say Coffin came up the stairs yelling in an aggressive voice. As Coffin continued to approach, the father pointed the gun at him and fired.

Coffin was convinced to go to a hospital; a witness said during the ride to Beebe Healthcare, Coffin took out a glass pipe and smoked crack cocaine. After months of discussion with the Delaware Attorney General’s Office, Delaware State Police investigators decided not to bring charges against Coffin’s father, determining he acted in self-defense.