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Butts records will stay sealed

Columbia County Circuit Court Judge Ted Grove declared Tuesday morning he would not allow the public to view mental health records of murder suspect Daniel Butts prior to a hearing that will determine if he is fit to stand trial.

There have been numerous delays in the planned public release of the April 2 Oregon State Hospital report on the mental state of Daniel A. Butts, accused of shooting and killing Rainier Police Chief Ralph Painter last January.

Those records have been sealed under a protective order and will now continue to be closed until a planned Nov. 17 aid and assist hearing. That's where Grove will decide if Butts is mentally fit to aid in his own defense. Butts faces the death penalty if convicted of aggravated murder.

Grove said he made the decision to keep the records sealed because the detailed medical report may contain material not admissible in court.