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Butts mental evaluation release delayed

A mental health evaluation of Daniel A. Butts, 21, the suspect in the shooting death of Rainier Police Chief Ralph Painter, was not released to the public as planned last week.

That's because a July 22 hearing to determine the Kalama, Wash., man's mental fitness to stand trial was indefinitely postponed after Butts was sent to the Oregon State Hospital on July 7 for further mental assessment at his attorney's request.

Now, it's again up to Judge Ted Grove to determine when to release the earlier mental health evaluation, conducted at the Columbia County Jail in April.

Butts is accused of shooting Painter with the police chief's gun on Jan. 5 during a confrontation in Rainier. If convicted, he could face the death penalty.

Columbia County District Attorney Steve Atchison said he is meeting with Grove and Butts' attorney Friday to determine the next steps. Atchison said there is no indication when the process will move forward.

'We may know more by Friday, we may not,' he said.