News | Oregon

Defense Witness Counters Competency Claims In Butts Case

OPB | Feb. 22, 2013 2:47 p.m. | St. Helens, Oregon

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A Seattle psychiatrist testified Friday at a competency hearing for the man accused of killing Rainier Police Chief Ralph Painter two years ago.

Daniel Butts

Daniel Butts

Dr. Richard Adler says he believes Daniel Butts suffers from schizophrenia, and is unable to assist in his own defense. Adler was called by defense attorneys.

He also criticized evaluation methods at the Oregon State Hospital. Doctors gave Butts a phone card that he was allowed to use when he behaved.

A hospital psychiatrist testified earlier in the week that Butts’ ability to use the card with its complex number codes was one of several indicators she took to suggest the defendant is not suffering from a serious mental illness.

Adler said that was not an appropriate way to gauge competency.

“I am exquisitely disturbed by this. What was done in this behavior modification was a one-off. It isn’t a standard thing done in a standard way with other patients. It’s a singular human experiment.”

Adler noted several diagnostic tests are available that would have offered insight into Butts condition.

Butts has largely refused medical care and analysis since he was arrested, in 2011.

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