ST. HELENS, Ore. (KATU/CNN) – An Oregon man pleaded guilty Tuesday to killing a police chief back in 2011 and was sentenced to life in prison.
It was a day eight-years in the making for the family of Ralph Painter, former Rainier Police Chief.
Daniel Butts, the man accused of killing Painter, pleaded guilty and was sentenced the life in prison.
Kathy Painter is Ralph Painter’s mother. She said, “No family should ever wait this long to get justice. There will never be enough justice for what we got,” Ralph’s mother, Kathy said. “I wondered a lot of times if I would live long enough to see my son get some justice.” She said now they can put this all to rest.
Painter’s wife, Amy, said no sentence would be long enough. Painter’s brother, Alan, said they’ll take what they can get.
Several of painter’s family members, including his children, spoke at court.
Alan said, “We hope we’re done for a while. Goodness sakes, eight years of this is a long time.”
During Tuesday’s court hearing, Daniel Butts rarely spoke and never addressed Painter’s family.
Melissa Gavin, speaking on behalf of Butts’ mother, said this should have never happened. “We hope that Chief Painter’s family and community can understand we are a family caught up in terrible circumstances and we just wish for healing and peace for all.”
Butts suffers from schizophrenia, so he’ll go to an Oregon State Hospital first. If he is deemed fit, he will be sent to serve out his sentence in prison.
Butts won’t be eligible for parole for nearly 49 years.