Police shooting suspect heading back to mental hospital

Police shooting suspect heading back to mental hospital
Daniel Butts

ST. HELENS, Ore. – Daniel Butts, the man accused of shooting and killing Rainier’s police chief, is heading back to the Oregon State Hospital.

A judge determined that Butts needs further mental evaluation to see if he’s fit to stand trial.

Judge Ted Grove originally decided in February that Butts was competent to stand trial for shooting and killing Chief Ralph Painter; however, on Thursday Grove decided Butts now requires further evaluation.

Butts recently developed an infection after he stabbed himself in the head with a pencil.

He has been refusing treatment while in jail, but will be forced to get treatment while at the state hospital, according to a Portland Tribune report.

Because of this latest incident, Butts’ lawyers asked the judge to send him back to the state hospital. His lawyers also claim that Butts is being mistreated in jail.

State mental health experts have until July 1 to evaluate Butts and give the judge a report on his mental condition, according to a court order. 

Butts faces aggravated murder charges for shooting and killing Painter in January 2011. Investigators said Butts managed to grab Painters gun during a struggle.

From day one of the case, there have been questions about Butt’s mental health.

 However, in his February ruling, Grove said he felt Butts was able to participate in his own defense and was trying to game the system by acting out in court.

If Butts is ruled not fit to stand trial, he could be sent to the state hospital and avoid the death penalty.

Grove will next review the case at a hearing on April 23.