Mother may have helped alleged cop killers

September 24, 2013


Sarah and Eric Knysz

Sarah and Eric Knysz

CHARGES FILED IN MANISTEE COUNTY ALSO. LUDINGTON – Eric and Sarah Knysz may not have acted alone the night that Michigan State Police Trooper Paul Butterfiled was shot and killed. Recently released affidavits indicate that Eric Knysz’s mother, Tammi Spofford played a role in helping the couple get rid of the pickup they were in at the time of the shooting. The pickup belonged to Eric Knysz’s father.

Michigan State Police Detective Dave Johnson testified in front of Mason County Patricia Baker that after the shooting, Sarah Knysz allegedly contacted Spofford. The couple then allegedly picked her up, and the three drove in the pickup to the residence of Timothy Schultz at 515 E. Hansen Road in Custer Township. From there, the couple allegedly stole a car belonging to Schultz. That car was the vehicle the couple was found in when they were apprehended at the Dublin General Store in Manistee County.

Trooper Butterfield, 43, was shot the evening of Sept. 9 during a routine traffic stop on North Custer Road in Free Soil Township. He later died at Munson Medical Center in Traverse City.

Eric Knysz, 19, is being charged with murder of a police officer, felony firearms, carrying a concealed weapon, auto theft and being a second time offender. Sarah Knysz, his 20-year-old wife, is charged with being an accessory after the fact and auto theft. Charges have not been filed against Spofford. Relatives have said that she was not aware of the shooting when she helped with the pickup truck.
The affidavits don’t provide a motive for the shooting, and they don’t say why the trooper stopped the pickup. The affidavits also don’t include information about statements made by the suspects to police. The court redacted those statements, saying they might impact the couple’s right to a fair trial.

Eric and Sarah Knysz were scheduled for a preliminary examination in 79th District Court Wednesday but they waived their right to be seen by the judge within 14 days of arraignment. A new date has not yet been set by the magistrate.

The couple has also now been charged for crimes in Manistee County, in connection with Trooper Butterfield’s death, according to 9 & 10 News.

Eric Knysz is charged with several crimes, including receiving and concealing a stolen firearm, carrying a concealed weapon and assault with a dangerous weapon. Sara Knysz is charged with unlawful driving away of a vehicle.

Both will be back in court on October 8th.

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