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Alleged killer about to be released in Lakewood from Western State. State senator says no

Accused killer Lawrence David Butterfield is about to be released from Western State Hospital and into Lakewood — as early as Monday, Washington state Senator Steve O’Ban said Friday.

He wants Gov. Jay Inslee to stop it.

“In recent days, I have received reports stating this release will occur in early September perhaps now on September 11th and that the release plan is currently being examined,” O’Ban, R-University Place told Inslee in a letter dated Sept. 8.

Butterfield is mentally ill. He’s been charged with murder three times for the death of his roommate seven years ago. But Butterfield’s schizophrenia and low IQ have kept him from going to trial.

A July 12 story in The News Tribune documented the revolving door that gets Butterfield released and then charged again.

O’Ban asked several questions in his letter and raises the specter of several safety concerns.

“Has the state employed sufficient safeguards, in coordination with law enforcement and community behavioral health agencies, to provide for ongoing monitoring of Mr. Butterfield’s health status and compliance with necessary treatment?” O’Ban wrote.

O’Ban also questioned if Butterfield’s release should occur in Lewis County, where Butterfield is from, instead of Lakewood.

“There is no excuse to release into a community of vulnerable people a man with a history of extreme violence who is still dangerous, still having hallucinations, and still incompetent to stand trial,” O’Ban said. “We passed a law to stop Pierce County from being a dumping ground for dangerous people and we intend to see it enforced.”

Craig Sailor: 253-597-8541, @crsailor

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