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Defense delayed again in NC nursing home slay case

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CARTHAGE, NC (AP) -- The trial of a man charged with killing eight people in a Moore County nursing home is being postponed again because of a juror's unspecified medical issues.

Defense attorneys Jonathan Megerian and Franklin Wells were scheduled to start calling witnesses Tuesday as
lawyers for Robert Stewart present their case.

The lawyers don't dispute that Stewart was the gunman at Pinelake Health and Rehabilitation Center in March 2009 when eight people were killed. But they say a combination of depression and prescription drugs in excessive doses means he's not legally responsible for his actions.

The so-called "diminished capacity" defenses have only been allowed in North Carolina courts since a state Supreme Court decision in 1988. Juries are often skeptical, and the defense is rarely used.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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