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Bakker Begins Tests to Evaluate His Mental State

September 02, 1989|From United Press International

BUTNER, N.C. — Television evangelist Jim Bakker, suffering hallucinations and depression, faced a battery of tests and interviews with psychiatrists Friday to determine his competency.

Bakker's wife, Tammy Faye, arrived Friday afternoon at the psychiatric hospital at the federal penitentiary here, accompanied by his sister, Donna Puckett, and two unidentified people.

U.S. District Judge Robert Potter ordered Bakker committed to the prison hospital for a competency hearing after his attorney and psychiatrist said that he had suffered a nervous breakdown.

Bakker, 49, had been on trial for fraud and conspiracy stemming from the way he raised and spent money at PTL.

Hospital officials told reporters there would be no condition announcements on Bakker, but prison warden J. T. Hadden said other patients were aware that Bakker had been brought to Butner.

"They know," Hadden said. "There's a lot of talk. There's much interest."

Bakker will spend the next few days undergoing evaluations, talking with therapists, reading and, if he wishes, mingling with patients and inmates, officials said.

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