Competency hearing underway for man accused of killing Rainier police chief

Daniel Butts during a competency hearing in February 2018 (KATU News photo).png

A competency hearing is underway this week for the man accused of shooting and killing Rainier police chief Ralph Painter with his own gun.

Daniel Butts is accused of murdering Painter back in 2011. He was found competent to stand trial in February 2012, but officials later decided he required further evaluation. His trial is now on hold.

READ MORE: 6 years later and still no justice for Rainier police chief killed in line of duty

In court Tuesday morning, one of the psychologists who evaluated Butts said he is clearly schizophrenic but is fit to stand trial. Doctors, along with Butts' defense attorneys, say he hears voices and that his schizophrenia went untreated for years.

In an interview, Butts told a psychologist he felt like his life was threatened when he crossed paths with Painter, and that he felt like he had to grab the chief's gun and shoot him for his own safety.

Butts' father, Mikel, told KATU News the blame lies solely with the state of Oregon.

"Oregon also owns the embarrassing and totally humiliating behavior of Ralph Painter and his blatant disregard for training protocol and cost the chief his life with his own gun," Mikel Butts said.

The hearing to determine whether Butts is fit to stand trial is expected to continue through this week.

If he's deemed fit to stand trial, he'll enter a plea and a trial date will be set.


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