Butts enters pleas in slaying of OR police chief

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ST. HELENS, Ore. (AP) — A young Kalama, Wash., man has pleaded not guilty to 24 charges including aggravated murder in the shooting death of the Rainier, Ore., police chief.

The Oregonian reported (http://is.gd/9yWYlC) that Daniel Butts did not speak at Wednesday’s arraignment as his lawyer entered pleas on his behalf. The defendant was chained around his waist, feet and wrists.

Columbia County Circuit Court Judge Ted Grove ruled last week that the 22-year-old man was capable of aiding in his own defense. Butts had undergone months of assessment by mental health professionals. The judge finally concluded Butts had been “gaming the system” with his behavior to avoid trial.

Butts is accused of shooting 55-year-old Chief Ralph Painter after the chief responded to a report of a suspicious person at a Rainier car stereo shop on Jan. 5, 2011. Police say Butts wrestled the chief’s gun away and shot Painter in the head.

No trial date has been set yet.

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Information from: The Oregonian, http://www.oregonlive.com