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Mentally ill Puyallup man once again charged with murder in roommate’s death

Post by Adam Lynn / The News Tribune on May 16, 2013 at 3:30 pm |
May 16, 2013 3:30 pm

A Puyallup man who two years ago was declared incompetent to stand trial in the stabbing death of his roommate is once more being prosecuted in the case.

Pierce County prosecutors re-filed a first-degree murder charge against Lawrence David Butterfield, 57, late last month.

They contend he used a hunting knife to kill James Bradshaw, 53, in the men’s apartment on Nov. 18, 2010.

Butterfield, who has a documented history of “significant mental health issues,” told investigators he heard voices telling him to kill in the days leading up the attack, court records show.

Butterfield’s mental health quickly became an issue in the case, and he was ordered evaluated at WesternStateHospital, the state-run psychiatric facility in Lakewood.

In May 2011, Superior Court Judge Frank Cuthbertson ruled Butterfield was mentally incompetent to stand trial. Cuthbertson ordered the charge against him dismissed and had him involuntarily committed to WesternState.

There Butterfield stayed receiving treatment until recently when WesternState officials notified prosecutors that his mental health had improved to the point where they planned to release him, records show.

Butterfield was re-arraigned on the murder charge May 1 and immediately ordered to undergo another evaluation to determine if he is mentally competent to stand trial.

A hearing on that question has been scheduled for May 30. In the meantime, Butterfield remains at WesternStateHospital.

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