A Columbia County Circuit judge Tuesday sentenced a Washington man to life in state custody for the 2011 shooting death of Rainier, Oregon, Police Chief Ralph Painter.
Daniel Butts, 29, pleaded guilty except for insanity to six charges including one count of aggravated murder.
Butts is not eligible for early release, but can apply for parole when he is 70.
Butts shot Painter while the police chief was responding to reports of an attempted car theft.
In those years leading up to his sentencing, Columbia County District Attorney Jeff Auxier said Butts had been held at the Oregon State Hospital, Multnomah County Detention Center and Columbia County Jail.
Butts will remain at the Oregon State Hospital unless the Psychiatric Security Review Board rules he is fit enough to be transferred to the Department of Corrections.
“This plea agreement acknowledges that there is substantial evidence that Daniel Butts does in fact suffer from a mental illness, but that his mental illness was never an excuse for the killing of Chief Ralph Painter,” said District Attorney Auxier in a press release. “Painter acted heroically that day, and there are no excuses for the defendant’s violent act.”