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Charges filed in fatal shooting of MSP Trooper Paul Butterfield

7:05 PM, Sep 11, 2013   |    comments
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  • Sarah Knysz - arraignment 9/11/13
  • Sarah and Eric Knysz - from Facebook

LUDINGTON, Mich. (WZZM) -- A 19-year-old man has been charged with murder in the shooting of a Michigan State Police trooper.

Eric Knysz is charged in the death of Paul Butterfield, who was shot in the head Monday night during a traffic stop in Sherman Township.

Knysz also faces two weapons charges and a motor vehicle violation. He did not appear in court Wednesday because he is recovering from a gunshot wound during a shootout with officers. Because of his criminal record, Knysz will also be charged as a habitual offender.

His 20-year-old wife, Sarah Knysz faces two charges related to driving away from the scene. She is charged with being an accessory after the fact and with unlawful driving away with a motor vehicle that did not belong to her.

Sarah was emotional during a video arraignment. She is facing the possibility of up to five years in prison if convicted of the two charges. She said very little during her video arraignment, but did convince the magistrate she understood the proceeding, her rights and the charges. She will be held on $250,000 bond.

Her preliminary hearing is scheduled for September 25.

Mason County Prosecutor Paul Spaniola says he only has some initial police reports, but is convinced Sarah and Eric were trying to leave the area after the shooting in a stolen vehicle.

"After the shooting, a vehicle was stolen from here in Mason County and that is the one they were in when apprehended up in Manistee County," said Spaniola.

The reason why Eric may have shot trooper Butterfield is a mystery.

"Motive is still unknown," said Spaniola. "Ordinary traffic stop, the kind we see on the road everyday."

Even without a motive, Spaniola is turning his attention to guilty convictions and justice. "I knew Paul, he was a good trooper; he was a good man. And I intend to do justice for Paul and do justice for Paul Butterfield."


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