Trooper killer to be sentenced Tuesday

April 7, 2014
Eric Knysz on day 5 of his trial.

Eric Knysz on day 5 of his trial.

LUDINGTON — Eric John Knysz, the 20-year-old Irons resident who murdered Michigan State Police Trooper Paul Butterfield, will be sentenced Tuesday afternoon by Judge Richard Cooper in 51st Circuit Court.

In February, a jury found Knysz guilty of first degree murder of a peace officer, the jury also found him guilty of felony firearms possession, carrying a concealed weapon and unlawfully driving away a motor vehicle.

Judge Richard Cooper

Judge Richard Cooper

First degree murder of a peace officer is a felony punishable by life in prison without parole. He also faces two years in prison for the felony firearms charge, five years for carrying a concealed weapon and five years for unlawfully driving away a vehicle. Those sentences would run concurrent with the life sentence.

On Sept. 9, 2013, Knysz shot Trooper Butterfield in the head moments after Butterfield pulled over the pickup truck Knysz was driving on North Custer Road north of Townline Road in Free Soil Township. Knysz’ wife, Sarah Knysz, 21, was in the pickup. At that time she was 6 months pregnant with the couple’s son. Sarah Knysz is serving a 2 to 5 year prison sentence for accessory to murder of a peace officer and unlawfully driving away a motor vehicle. Eric Knysz’ mother, Tammi Spofford, faces those same charges.

Sentencing is scheduled to start at 4 p.m.

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