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Originally published Wednesday, February 20, 2013 at 5:53 AM

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Defendant hearing in Rainier police chief slaying

A hearing Wednesday in St. Helens may determine whether Daniel Butts is mentally able to assist in his defense at a murder trial in the shooting death of Rainier Police Chief Ralph Painter.

The Associated Press

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ST. HELENS, Ore. —

A hearing Wednesday in St. Helens may determine whether Daniel Butts is mentally able to assist in his defense at a murder trial in the shooting death of Rainier Police Chief Ralph Painter.

Lawyers for the 23-year-old Kalama, Wash., man say he doesn't communicate and can't help them, but Columbia County prosecutors disagree and say the case should go to trial. Butts could face the death penalty if convicted.

The Daily News reports ( http://bit.ly/XrX0dL) the hearing is expected to take two days and Butts may be required to wear a stun belt in court to prevent disruptions. At one hearing last year a judge ruled Butts was faking mental illness.

Painter was shot to death in January 2011 while responding to a disturbance call in a stereo shop.

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

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