Assessment ordered for Cape Breton man accused of killing common-law wife

Gardiner Mines man not criminally responsible for common-law wife's death

A Cape Breton man accused of killing his common-law wife has been ordered to undergo a psychiatric assessment to determine if he was criminally responsible at the time of the death and if he is fit to stand trial.

Richard Wayne MacNeil, 40, is charged with first-degree murder in the death of Sarabeth Anne Forbes, 33.

MacNeil did not appear in Sydney provincial court Friday but was represented by his legal aid lawyer, Darlene MacRury, who asked for the assessment.

Members of both the MacNeil and Forbes families were present in the courtroom and visibly upset.

Cape Breton Regional Police were called to the scene in Gardiner Mines, just outside of Glace Bay, on April 18.

Forbes was found dead inside a home. Police arrested MacNeil at the scene.

The case will return to court on May 26.