ST. HELENS, Ore. (AP) -- A lawyer for a man accused of killing the Rainier police chief said there's a simple way to test whether his client is faking mental illness: Give him anti-psychotic drugs and see if his mental condition improves.
Medication also might get 22-year-old Daniel Butts to start talking to his legal team, lawyer Patrick Sweeney said in court Tuesday.
"He has shut down," Sweeney said.
Butts is accused of killing Police Chief Ralph Painter a year ago.
Columbia County Circuit Court Judge Ted Grove heard closing arguments Tuesday during a hearing into whether Butts is mentally competent to stand trial on the aggravated murder charge, which could lead to a death sentence.
A ruling is expected Jan. 17, the Longview Daily News reported.
In testimony last month, a state doctor testified that Butts is faking mental illness to avoid prosecution. A doctor for Butts' legal team countered that he has serious mental illness.
Butts, of Kalama, Wash., is not taking any medication, and prescribing anti-psychotic drugs could resolve the dispute, Sweeney said.
"We're not talking about dismissing charges," Sweeney said. "This is not a permanent resolution in the case. It would just get him medicated."
Delays would give Butts exactly what he wants, District Attorney Stephen Atchison said.
"A delay never helps the state. It always helps the defense," he said. "Evidence goes stale. The sooner we can get the case to trial, it's always better."
Painter was killed on Jan. 5 after responding to a report of a suspicious person. A grand jury indictment said Butts took the 55-year-old chief's pistol in a struggle and shot him in the head.
Butts also is accused of firing at other police officers as they responded and of shooting at a nearby church before he was wounded and taken into custody.