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Oscar Pistorius to start psychiatric evaluation next week

Oscar Pistorius’ trial is delayed until he undergoes psychiatric tests. (Gianluigi Guercia/Getty Images) Oscar Pistorius’ murder trial is delayed until he undergoes psychiatric tests. (Gianluigi Guercia/Getty Images)

A judge ruled Oscar Pistorius will start a period of psychiatric evaluation at a government institution next week, reports the Associated Press.

Pistorius, who is accused of killing his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp on Feb. 14, 2013, will return to the courtroom June 30, when his trial continues. In the meantime, a panel will evaluate whether Pistorius can be held legally responsible for the killing depending on his mental state.

Judge Thokozile Masipa says Pistorius will be an outpatient at Weskoppies Psychiatric Hospital in Pretoria, which allows him to leave the facility each afternoon or when “formally excused” by hospital staff. He will be evaluated for no more than 30 days.

Pistorius is currently free on bail and faces 25 years to life in prison if found guilty on the premeditated murder charge.

Pistorius said he shot Steenkamp accidentally, thinking she was an intruder. Authorities say Pistorius killed her during an argument.

A psychiatrist testified she believed Pistorius had an anxiety disorder from childhood which may have contributed to him killing Steenkamp, prompting the chief prosecutor to ask the court that he be sent for a mental evaluation.

More from the AP:

Judge Masipa said Tuesday that the panel should determine whether any mental illness may have affected Pistorius' capacity to be "criminally responsible" for killing Steenkamp. She said the panel would evaluate "whether he was capable of appreciating the wrongfulness of his act or of acting in accordance with an appreciation of the wrongfulness of his act."

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