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Butts transported to state hospital

Man accused of murdering Rainier police chief transported to Salem for further evaluation
by: Submitted photo Daniel A. Butts, seen here at a hearing in January, has now grown a beard in jail, according to Columbia County Sheriff Jeff Dickerson.

Daniel Armaugh Butts, 21, the Kalama, Wash., man accused of murdering Rainier Police Chief Ralph Painter, was transported Thursday morning to the Oregon State Hospital for further mental health evaluation.

A court hearing in the case anticipated to assess Butts' mental fitness to stand trial had been scheduled for July 22. That hearing is likely to be postponed.

This is the first time Butts has traveled outside of the Columbia County Jail since his arrest last January, and it was uneventful, said Columbia County Sheriff Jeff Dickerson.

Dickerson said the transfer order received last week indicated Butts would return to the jail in 30 days.

A grand jury indicted Butts on 24 charges, including aggravated murder, related to the Jan. 5 fatal shooting of Painter and the shoot-out with police that occurred afterward.

Dickerson said Butts, who is kept in solitary confinement and isolated from other inmates, has not caused many problems for jail staff. At one point he was refusing to eat, though that has stopped, Dickerson said.

'He complies with all of our directives. We've had no problems with him other than minor issues," Dickerson said.

The results of an earlier mental health evaluation conducted at the jail in April are expected to be released on July 15 following a public information request filed by the Oregonian newspaper.

Columbia County District Attorney Stephen Atchison and the attorney for Butts were not immediately available for comment.