WA man charged in OR police slaying is competent

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ST. HELENS, Ore. (AP) -- A young Washington man accused of gunning down the Rainier, Ore., police chief a year ago has been found mentally sound to proceed to trial on aggravated murder and related charges.

Columbia County, Ore., Circuit Court Judge Ted Grove ruled Thursday in the case of 22-year-old Daniel Butts of Kalama, Wash.

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 show on Jan. 5, 2011.

The Daily News of Longview (http://is.gd/PNFk25) says the case now proceeds to an arraignment where Butts will be asked to enter pleas to 24 charges including aggravated murder.

Dr. Brooke Howard testified during a competency hearing that she believed Butts was faking mental illness symptoms to avoid standing trial.

A defense psychiatrist, Dr. Jerry Larsen, testified there was no way Butts could fake mental illness for nearly a year.

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Information from: The Daily News, http://www.tdn.com