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Year in Review: Butts forcibly medicated to stand trial

Year in Review The wheels of justice lurched slightly forward in 2015 following the Oregon Supreme Court’s decision in October to have accused murderer Daniel A. Butts forcibly medicated so that he can stand trial for the crime of allegedly murdering Rainier Police Chief Ralph Painter in January 2011.

Since then, however, little information about Butts’ status has been released from the Oregon State Hospital, where he is being held.

“I have not heard a word since he went down to the hospital from anybody, officially,” said Columbia County District Attorney Stephen Atchison. “There has been no word from the hospital, either to the court or me or to the defense, that I know of.”

BUTTS Atchison explained that the Sell order — which is the court order allowing for Butts to be forcibly medicated — had been tweaked to allow the state to use whatever medication is necessary to ensure Butts’ mental state is sufficient for him to aid and assist in his defense.

Following a determination from the hospital that Butts is fit for trial, presiding Columbia Circuit Court Judge Ted Grove would have to agree with the state’s assessment.

Considering other cases in the works, and other uncertainties, Atchison said he is doubtful the Butts trial will start next year.

“I’m just not sure how we can fit it into 2016,” he said.