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Daniel Butts

Daniel Armaugh Butts

A decision on whether Daniel Butts, the Kalama man accused of murdering Rainier Police Chief Ralph Painter nearly seven years ago, is fit to stand trial will have to wait until at least next week.

Butts was in Columbia County court this week for a mental competency hearing. According to the county district attorney's office, Judge Ted Grove did not make a decision on Butts' mental readiness this week.

It is currently unclear on when Grove will make that call.

If Butts is declared fit to stand trial, he could be headed to trial in February 2019.

Butts has been in and out of Oregon State Hospital in Salem after being ruled unfit to stand trial in 2013 and was determined to be unable to assist in his own defense. He has since been forcibly medicated at Oregon State Hospital in hopes he will eventually be able to stand trial. 

During the January 2011 shooting, Painter was responding to a car theft call at Rainier Sound Authority. When the Rainier police chief arrived, he and Butts got into a struggle and Painter was shot in the head after Butts allegedly took Painter’s pistol.

— Jackson Hogan, The Daily News



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