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Butts mental health records release delayed again as hearing set back

Mental health evaluations of the Kalama, Wash. man accused of murdering Rainier Police Chief Ralph Painter are now expected to be unsealed Sept. 27, one week later than anticipated.

Defense attorneys are pushing for a court ruling that says Daniel A. Butts is not fit to stand trial based on his mental state. He faces the death penalty if convicted of killing Painter with the officer's own gun last January.

An aid and assist hearing, where Judge Ted Grove will presumably determine whether Butts' case will go to trial, was set for next week, but will now be held Nov. 17.

Butts' attorneys have tried to keep records from the suspect's recent evaluation at the state mental hospital sealed, saying a premature release could hurt his case.