Man can stand trial for 2011 killing of Oregon police chief

July 4, 2018

ST HELEN, Ore. (AP) — The man accused of killing the police chief of a small Oregon town in 2011 has been found fit to stand trial for aggravated murder.

Daniel Butts, of Kalama, Washington, could face the death penalty if convicted of fatally shooting 55-year-old Ralph Painter, the police chief of Rainier.

KOIN-TV reports that a Columbia County Circuit judge on Tuesday found Butts suffers from schizophrenia but that his symptoms have diminished as a result of his current hospitalization and forced medication. Trial is set for February.

Butts was sent to the Oregon State Hospital in 2013 after being found unable to assist in his own defense. He was diagnosed schizophrenia shortly after.

Authorities say he gunned down Painter who responded to an attempted theft at a car audio store on Jan. 5, 2011.

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