Man accused of murdering Rainier police chief back in court for - KPTV - FOX 12

Man accused of murdering Rainier police chief back in court for competency hearing

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Daniel Butts in court Monday (KPTV) Daniel Butts in court Monday (KPTV)
Chief Ralph Painter (Family photo/KPTV) Chief Ralph Painter (Family photo/KPTV)
RAINIER, OR (KPTV) -

The man accused of murdering Rainier Police Chief Ralph Painter in 2011 is back in court this week to determine if he’s fit to stand trial.

Daniel Butts, now 28 years old, sat quietly during Monday’s hearing.

Butts is accused of shooting and killing Ralph Painter in January 2011. Painter responded to a disturbance call at a car audio store when he confronted the suspected, leading to a fight.

Investigators said Butts grabbed Painter's gun and shot him.

During prior court appearances over the years, Butts has made various outbursts.

His defense states Butts is not capable of assisting in his own defense because he is mentally ill. A judge made that same determination in 2013 and Butts was sent to the Oregon State Mental Hospital in Salem.

In 2014, a judge signed an order authorizing state workers to give Butts anti-psychotic medication.

On Monday, a clinical psychologist who evaluated Butts at the Oregon State Hospital said he is capable of standing trial.

Also in court Monday, they played a recording from an interview with Butts and the psychologist from last November. Butts said he didn’t think he had an “emotional problem” and the shooting was out of “basic instinct,” adding “since he pepper-sprayed me, he got shot with his own gun.”

Painter’s family said it’s been frustrating to wait all this time with very little action. They believe it’s time to move on.

“A lot of life happens in seven years. We’ve had a lot of deaths, some major illness, just a lot of life happens in that time and it’s time to move forward,” said Ralph Painter’s brother Alan Painter.

Butts faces a possible death penalty if he’s convicted.

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