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Psychiatric Evaluation Ordered for Accused Would-Be Bush Assassin

September 23, 1992

DENVER (AP) _ A federal magistrate Wednesday ordered a psychiatric evaluation for a woman who allegedly stalked President Bush with a loaded pistol during his campaign visit to suburban Denver last week.

Authorities have said Deborah Butler, 33, told FBI and Secret Service agents the assassination plot was intended to draw attention to herself and her problems and that she considered Sarah Jane Moore, who tried to kill President Ford in San Francisco in 1975, her ″role model.″

Butler, a legal secretary from Arvada, was arrested Monday and charged with one count of attempted assassination, for which she could receive a life sentence, and one count of threatening the president, which carries a maximum five-year sentence.

At Wednesday’s hearing, Butler appeared in court but didn’t speak. U.S. Magistrate B.D. Pringle didn’t set bond or schedule a hearing date. He turned her over to the U.S. attorney general’s office, which has 30 days to have the psychiatric evaluation done.

Butler is accused of stalking the president Sept. 15, when Bush spoke at an outdoor rally at Inverness Business Park southeast of Denver. About 7,000 people attended.

A diary found in her car by FBI agents indicated that Butler planned to kill Bush during a planned Denver trip in August that was cancelled after Hurricane Andrew hit Florida.

According to arrest affidavits, Butler purchased a .32-caliber pistol Sept. 6, and on the day of Bush’s visit, concealed the weapon in the waistband of her pants and went to the business park.

When she found she would have to pass through a metal detector, Butler instead walked to a small hill and sat under some trees, the affidavits said.

The affidavits said Butler told authorities she edged up to where Bush’s motorcade would pass. But when a man asked her about her pocket watch, Butler told agents, this ″diverted her attention long enough so that the motorcade was right in front of her before she knew it,″ and the vehicles drove off.

Butler drove home and told her husband, ″I had a gun but couldn’t do it,″ the arrest affidavit said. Her husband took her to a psychiatric hospital, where she was arrested.

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