Arguments in murder trial begin

February 19, 2014
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LUDINGTON — Deliberation in the trial of the man accused of murdering of a Michigan State Police trooper has begun at the Mason County Courthouse. Irons resident Eric Knysz is standing trial in 51st Circuit Court for the Sept. 9, 2013 murder of Trooper Paul Butterfield. In addition to murder of a police officer, Knysz is charged with felony firearms, carrying a concealed weapon, auto theft and being a second time offender.

Jury selection took place for nine hours Tuesday. The initial jury consisted of three men and 11 women. However, one of the jurors came down with the flu and was unable to come to court this morning. Judge Richard Cooper decided to proceed letting the jury know that there would only be one alternate.

Trooper Butterfield was fatally shot in the head on Custer Road, just north of Townline Road in Free Soil Township on Sept. 9, 2013 after he pulled over a pickup truck allegedly driven by 19-year-old Eric Knysz.

Eric Knysz’s only passenger in that vehicle was his 20-year-old pregnant wife, Sarah. Later, the two, with the alleged help of Eric’s mother, Tammi Spofford, stole a vehicle from a Branch Township residence. Eric and Sarah were eventually caught later that night at the Dublin General Store in northeastern Manistee County where Eric was shot in the leg.

In November, Sarah pleaded guilty to accessory to murder of a police officer and to unlawfully driving away a vehicle. She has been sentenced to 2 to 5 years in prison. Spofford faces the same charges and is scheduled for trial in May.

As part of the condition of her plea agreement with the Mason County Prosecutor’s Office, Sarah will be testifying against Eric. She is likely going to be a key witness for the prosecution. Prosecutor Spaniola has over 40 witnesses while defense attorney David Glancy only has one witness on his list, the defendant.

For more frequent updates, go to www.facebook.com/MasonCountyPress and www.twitter.com/MasonCoPress #TrooperMurderTrial.

Coverage of the MSP Trooper Paul Butterfield murder trial is partially sponsored by Dollars & Sense – Tax & Accounting Services LLC, 101 S. James St., Ludington. 231-845-7292. We appreciate their contribution to helping us provide coverage to you.

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