Man charged in OR police slaying can aid defense

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ST. HELENS, Ore. (AP) — An Oregon judge says a young Washington man accused of gunning down the Rainier, Ore., police chief a year ago can aid in his own defense and has been “gaming the system.”

Columbia County Circuit Court Judge Ted Grove’s ruling Thursday means the criminal case against 22-year-old Daniel Butts of Kalama, Wash., can proceed.

Butts is accused of shooting 55-year-old Chief Ralph Painter with Painter’s own gun after the chief responded to a report of a suspicious person at a Rainier car stereo shop on Jan. 5, 2011.

Grove listed to expert testimony from mental health professionals and police officers about Butts’ behavior before and after the shooting. The judge concluded the evidence supports “a finding that the defendant is gaming the system.”

The judge said dates for an arraignment and trial will be set soon. Butts has been indicted on multiple charges, including aggravated murder.