Murder suspect charged with homicide, denied bond

September 13, 2013
Eric Knysz

Eric Knysz

LUDINGTON – Eric John Knysz, 19, 1844 10 Mile Road, Luther, Lake County, faces a life sentence for the murder of Michigan State Police Trooper Paul Butterfield. Knysz was arraigned this afternoon in front of Patricia Baker, magistrate of the 79th District Court. The arraignment took place over video monitors, with Knysz at the Mason County Jail and the proceedings taking place at the Mason County Courthouse. He was denied bond, based on the request of Prosecutor Paul Spaniola. He also is to have no communication in any way with his wife, Sarah Knysz, who is also a suspect.

Family members, including Eric's father, Jack Knysz, watch the video arraignment.

Family members, including Eric’s father, Jack Knysz, watch the video arraignment.

Eric Knysz has been charged with four counts: Count 1, homicide-murder of a peace officer, a felony punishable by life without parole. Count 2, weapons-felony firearm for the possession of a firearm during the Sept. 9 murder of Trooper Butterfield, a charge punishable by two years served consecutively to count 1. Count 3, carrying a concealed weapon, a felony punishable by up to five years confinement and/or $2,500 fine. Count 4, unlawful driving away of an automobile, a felony punishable by up to five years confinement. He has also been given a notice of habitual offender, second felony offense, which would elevate the maximum penalties to 1.5 times the maximum otherwise set forth by statue.

Trooper Butterfield, 43, was gunned down Monday during a routine traffic stop on North Custer Road in Free Soil Township. Eric Knysz and his wife, Sarah Renee Knysz, were reported to be the occupants of the vehicle that was pulled over. The two were apprehended later that night at the Dublin General Store in northern Manistee County. Eric Knysz was shot by police and has been recovering from wounds at Munson Medical Center in Traverse City.

A preliminary examination in 79th District Court has been scheduled for Sept. 25 at 1 p.m.

On Wednesday, Sarah Knysz, 20, also of 1844 10 Mile Road, Luther, was arraigned in 79th District Court on a two count felony complaint, in relation to Monday’s murder of Trooper Butterfield.

Count 1 is accessory after the fact to Butterfield’s murder, a felony punishable by up to five years confinement and a $10,000 fine. Count 2 is unlawful driving away of an automobile, a felony punishable by up to five years confinement. A preliminary examination is scheduled for Sept. 25 at 1 p.m. at the Mason County Courthouse. A bond was set at $250,000 cash or surety and she was remanded to the Mason County Jail, pending the posting of that bond and the preliminary examination.

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