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Doctor: Teen Was Sane At Time Of Murders

A College Place teenager accused of suffocating his sister and her friend was sane at the time of the slayings, a psychiatrist has found.

The psychiatrist made the determination after examining Daniel Betournay, 15, at the Child Study and Treatment Center near Tacoma earlier this month, Deputy Walla Walla County Prosecutor Joe Golden said Wednesday.

Judge Yancey Reser ordered the evaluation after Betournay pleaded innocent by reason of insanity Feb. 27 to two counts of first-degree murder. The youth earlier entered a standard innocent plea.

Betournay is accused of killing his sister, April Betournay, and her friend, Beth Garbe, both 14, by binding their hands and feet and putting plastic bags over their heads on Dec. 14 at the Betournay home.

Golden said the defense also had the boy examined by their own expert, but he had not seen the result of that evaluation.

“Basically if their expert says he was not sane at the time, it will come down to a courtroom battle of the experts,” Golden said.

A hearing was being held Wednesday on defense motions to suppress Betournay’s confession and to change the location of the trial because of publicity.

Betournay is scheduled to go on trial April 3.