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Judge orders mental examination in Oakland homicide trial

An Alameda County Superior Court judge has suspended proceedings against a former nursing student standing trial for the homicide of seven people and wounding of three others. His attorney expressed doubts of the man's mental competency. The judge agreed, and the accused will be examined by two psychiatrists before returning to trial in November. Proceedings will continue then if the defendant is declared mentally competent. Prosecutors have not decided whether or not they will seek the death penalty.

The defendant has pleaded not guilty to seven counts of murder and three attempted murders and is currently being held without bail. The attacks occurred at Oikos University in East Oakland in April. He is being held in Dublin at Santa Rita Jail.

In the case of the nursing student, the defense is arguing that the man may be incapable of standing trial due to his mental well-being. The defense may argue that this is also the reason the man may have been involved in the shooting at Oikos University and that he was not in control of his actions. If it can be proven that this was the reason for the crimes, the man may be able to receive treatment in a health care facility rather than prison or the death sentence.

Unfortunately, some people suffer from serious mental problems that can cause them to do things that are beyond their control. While murder is a very serious crime that affects many people negatively, those who truly do suffer from mental disorders need medical attention and treatment more than anything else. It will be interesting to see what the psychiatrists decide in this man's case.

Source: San Francisco Chronicle, "Oikos University murder case delayed," Henry K. Lee, Oct. 1, 2012

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