Police chief murder suspect ruled incompetent

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by KGW.com Staff

NWCN.com

Posted on February 27, 2013 at 3:40 PM

Updated Thursday, Feb 28 at 1:52 PM

ST. HELENS, Ore. -- The man accused of killing Rainier Police Chief Ralph Painter was deemed incapable of assisting in his own defense and was ordered back to the state mental hospital, a Columbia County judge ruled Wednesday.

Lawyers for 23-year-old Daniel Butts successfully argued that he doesn't communicate and therefore was unable to testify in his own trial. 

Columbia County prosecutors disagreed, and said the case should go forward.

Doctors testifying for the prosecution said they had visited with Butts extensively and found no mental illness. Butts would have faced the death penalty if convicted.

Complete coverage: Rainier chief shooting

Painter was shot to death in 2011 while responding to a disturbance call in a stereo shop. At one hearing last year, a judge ruled that Butts was faking mental illness. 

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