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Originally published Wednesday, February 20, 2013 at 8:49 PM

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Competency hearing in Ore. police chief slaying

A psychiatrist who evaluated a man charged with fatally shooting the Rainier, Ore., police chief says Daniel Butts "communicated very well" with staff at the Oregon State Hospital.

The Associated Press

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ST. HELENS, Ore. —

A psychiatrist who evaluated a man charged with fatally shooting the Rainier, Ore., police chief says Daniel Butts "communicated very well" with staff at the Oregon State Hospital.

Dr. Stephanie Lopez evaluated Butts for three weeks at the state mental hospital. She testified Wednesday at a competency hearing in St. Helens, Ore., that the 23-year-old man did not show the typical signs of mental health problems.

Lawyers for Butts say the Kalama, Wash., man doesn't communicate and can't assist in his defense as they prepare for a murder trial in the January 2011 death of Rainier Police Chief Ralph Painter.

Columbia County prosecutors disagree and say the case should go to trial. Butts could face the death penalty if convicted.

KATU-TV says ( http://is.gd/Vbvs0b) the hearing is scheduled to continue Thursday.

In February 2012, Judge Ted Grove found Butts competent to stand trial but the judge later decided the defendant required further evaluation.

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Information from: KATU-TV, http://www.katu.com/

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