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Oscar Pistorius’ possible defense: Was it ‘roid rage’?

Published: Tuesday, Feb. 19 2013 2:52 p.m. MST

Olympian Oscar Pistorius stands following his bail hearing in Pretoria, South Africa, Tuesday, Feb. 19, 2013. Reports have emerged that steroids may have been found at Oscar PIstorius' home the night he shot and killed his girlfriend.

The Associated Press

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Reports have emerged that steroids may have been found at Oscar PIstorius' home the night he killed his girlfriend, a Time article said Tuesday.

"Police sources told the South Africa Times that drugs and syringes were found in a drawer in Pistorius' bedroom. Pistorius admitted to fatally shooting girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp on Valentine's Day but claimed he mistook her for an intruder. He was immediately taken for blood and urine tests after his arrest on Feb. 14. The paper reports that the Olympian's lawyers may be considering a 'roid rage' defense, arguing that Pistorius was under the influence of steroids, which can cause paranoia, jealousy, aggression and irritability, when he shot Steenkamp. Although Steven Tuson, a professor of criminal law at Johannesburg's Wits University told Reuters that a 'roid rage' defense is unlikely to succeed, there is some evidence that synthetic versions of naturally-occurring steroids could trigger unusually aggressive behavior.

"Human studies exploring this connection, however, are limited. In a 2008 study, Kevin Beaver, an associate professor at The Florida State University College of Criminology and Criminal Justice and his colleagues analyzed data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health involving 20,000 participants and found that steroid users were approximately twice as likely to engage in violent behavior, such as getting into physical fights."

Read more about Pistorius' alleged steroids on TIME.

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