By Rob Alway. Editor-in-Chief.
PERE MARQUETTE TWP. — A special recognition ceremony honoring those who were part of the emergency response to the Sept. 9, 2013 murder of Michigan State Police Trooper Paul Butterfield was held this afternoon at the Ludington & Scottville Area Chamber of Commerce/Mason County Airport complex.
Connie Helton along with Chuck and Shannon Comstock were the first people to stop along North Custer Road just north of Townline Road that warm September night, and render aid to Trooper Butterfield, who had been shot in the head moments later by Eric John Knysz of Irons.
The three were given the Michigan State Police’s Distinguished Citizen Award for what MSP Col. Kriste Kibbey Etue described as nothing less than heroic efforts to save the 43-year-old trooper.
“I want to thank you for choosing to stop when you could have easily continued on your way. But, you didn’t do that,” Col. Etue said. “Trooper Butterfield was truly blessed for what you did.”
The three also received a tribute from the Michigan State Legislature, which was presented by representatives Ray Franz and John Bumstead along with Sen. Geoff Hansen.
MSP unit citations were presented to Lake, Manistee, Mason and Oceana counties sheriffs’ offices along with Ludington Police Department for those agencies’ involvement in the entire incident. Another special recognition was given to Mason County Prosecutor Paul Spaniola, who was unable to attend.
Last week Knysz was sentenced to life in prison without parole. His wife, Sarah, is also serving time in prison for her involvement in the crime and his mother, Tammi Spofford, is scheduled for trial in May.