PITTSBURGH — The judge presiding over the trial of Robert Bowers, the man accused of killing 11 people at a Squirrel Hill synagogue, will allow the prosecution to conduct a psychiatric evaluation of the defendant.
U.S. District Judge Robert Colville’s opinion gave government experts permission to evaluate Bowers “as necessary and probative to rebut or confirm defense experts’ anticipated mental health testimony,” Channel 11 news partner the Tribune-Review reports.
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Any report must be held by the clerk of court and their finding not revealed unless the case moves to a sentencing phase and Bowers proceeds with a mental health defense, the judge said.
The defense has previously said that Bowers was diagnosed with epilepsy and schizophrenia.
Bowers is accused of killing 11 people at the Tree of Life synagogue on Oct. 27, 2018.
Bowers filed a notice in February that he would introduce mental health evidence. The government then asked the court for permission to have a psychiatrist interview Bowers and have a neurologist complete an evaluation.
The defense objected.
In his 23-page opinion, Colville said broad authority supports a psychiatric examination to provide a meaningful rebuttal of mental health testimony, the Trib reports.
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