On January 5, 2011 Daniel Butts murdered Rainier Police Chief Ralph Painter.
Through a series of endless hearings for the next seven years and several trips to the State Hospital where Daniel Butts received anti- psychotic drugs to help him reach a level to assist in his own defense. In February of 2018, a series of competency hearings began to determine if Daniel Butts is, or will in the near future, be found competent to stand trial.
After all the witnesses spoke for both sides which took nearly a week, a quick decision on behalf of Judge Grove was hoped for but not delivered. It would take several more months before our family would receive the news that Daniel Butts was found competent to stand trial. Good news “yes” but squelched once again by the stall tactics of the defense team.
No trial or hearing would happen until at least sometime in 2019. After receiving the competency news, our family prepares to go to trial. We hear some rumblings about a possible plea deal, but nothing solid to substantiate those rumors.
After a while, our family is approached to consider taking a plea. Through a series of many more meetings with the DA and a retired judge, our family decides to take the plea. On March 26th, 2019, our family has their day in court to tell the court and Daniel Butts how his decision on January 5, 2011 to murder Chief Painter changed all of our lives forever.
Daniel Butts was asked by Judge Grove, if he understood the charges being brought against him. He vocalized that he indeed did understand, and he changed his plea from not guilty, to guilty of aggravated murder.
This brings me back to the original question: “What Now?”
So, Daniel Butts has been found competent, he understands the charges and he changes his plea to aggravated murder. If he was found competent, and he was, then one has to assume that the medication was effective and balanced him out. So, the question has to be asked, why is Daniel Butts still taking up residence at the State Hospital?
Keep in mind that this is the same facility that refused to treat him several times until Judge Grove strong armed them with the backing of the Oregon Supreme Court. At a cost of $1,320 per day (conservative figure), how does the State explain this to the taxpayers?
My understanding is that the DOC has a more than adequate medical facility to handle Daniel’s medical needs at a fraction of the cost. The taxpayers have paid enough to protect a murderer. The State owes the Painter Family, the Citizens of Rainier and the Law Enforcement Community some answers. What Now?