SALEM -- A judge is expected to soon decide whether Daniel Butts is mentally competent to be tried in the slaying of Rainier Police Chief Ralph Painter.

Chief Painter was killed outside a church in Rainier during a struggle with Butts, 21, of Kalama, at a car stereo shop on Jan. 5.

Psychiatrist Dr. Jerry Larsen testified for the defense that Butts would not cooperate when he attempted to evaluate him. Larsen later told the court he thought Butts was mentally ill and may be schizophrenic.

Butts' mother told him she witnessed odd behavior and said Butts was acting crazy, like he was somebody else just prior to the shooting.

On Tuesday, Butts' father said that Daniel had been withdrawn and spent several days in bed before the deadly shooting.

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Butts' attorneys also repeatedly asked a state doctor on the witness stand if Daniel's behavior was consistent with someone suffering from schizophrenia. The doctor mentioned that Butts had a family history of mental illness.

However, a clinical and forensic psychologist who took the stand early Wednesday said she believes Butts is ready to stand trial.

Dr. Brooke Howard, who works at the Oregon State Hospital, testified in Wednesday's hearing. She had met with Butts on March 7, March 15 and July 25 and said that, in her opinion, Butts does not meet the requirements for mental illness.

Howard also testified that she believes Butts is capable of working with his attorneys and that he is mentally fit to stand trial.

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Butts was arrested for the murder last January and eventually transferred to the Oregon State Hospital for mental evaluation.

During his arraignment, Butts kept angrily interrupting his lawyers and complaining that sheriff's deputies guarding him were making too much noise.Then, the sheriff put the arraignment on hold, and called for a competency hearing.

If Butts' case goes to trial in Columbia County and he is found guilty by a jury, he could face the death penalty.

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