May 13, 2014, 8:17 AM EST
The judge in Oscar Pistorius‘ murder trial will rule Wednesday if the runner will be placed under psychiatric evaluation, a decision that could delay the trial significantly.
Prosecutor Gerrie Nel formally requested Pistorius be placed under mental observation Tuesday, one day after a forensic psychiatrist testified that Pistorius had an anxiety disorder that may have impacted his fatal shooting of girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp on Valentine’s Day 2013.
If Judge Thokozile Masipa grants the request, the evaluation period could last 30 days, according to reports.
Pistorius, the first double amputee to run in the Olympics in 2012, said he thought an intruder was locked inside his bathroom when he shot four times through a locked door, hitting and killing Steenkamp inside.
He faces 25 years to life in prison if convicted of premeditated murder. If not found guilty of premeditated murder, Pistorius could be convicted of culpable homicide, South Africa’s version of manslaughter for negligent killing.
The psychiatrist, Dr. Merryll Vorster, continued to answer questions Tuesday. She said a person with Pistorius’ anxiety disorder probably shouldn’t own guns but may be more likely to purchase them for protection.
Nel made his request that Pistorius be placed under evaluation after Vorster’s testimony. He and lead defense attorney Barry Roux argued for more than an hour over the application. Roux said Pistorius should not be placed under mental observation and that he planned to call another witness to testify about Pistorius’ mental state.
Nel questioned the timing of Vorster being called, so late in the defense’s order of witnesses. He suggested she was called because Pistorius “was not the most impressive witness” when he testified in his own defense one month ago. Vorster said she visited Pistorius twice, both times earlier this month.
The trial is scheduled to resume at 3:30 a.m. ET on Wednesday.
- Olympic Year in Review: Winter Sports 0
- Lindsey Vonn OK after fall in Val d’Isere super-G (video) 0
- Lindsey Vonn wins cow in Val d’Isere, one victory from record 0
- Michael Phelps gets probation after guilty plea in DUI case 7
- Stephen Colbert and the Olympics 0
- U.S. will bid for 2024 Olympics, no city chosen yet 6
- Adrian Peterson won’t try for Olympics, but other RBs might 2
- Emotional Bode Miller medals in race that mattered most (61)
- Russian women kissing after relay victory at World Championships causes stir (60)
- IOC drops wrestling from 2020 Olympics (47)
- South Korea filing official complaint over Yuna Kim’s Olympic silver (39)
- Zola Budd, 47, dominates college runners in 5K (33)