Mother of accused trooper killer waives district court prelim

December 11, 2013


LUDINGTON – The mother of the man charged with murdering a Michigan State Police trooper has waived her preliminary examination in district court today, meaning she will be arraigned next week in circuit court.
Tammi Spofford, 50, of 8124 W. Eight Mile Road, Irons, appeared in front of Judge Peter Wadel in 79th District Court. Several law enforcement officers were present including Mason County Sheriff Kim Cole and Ludington Police Chief Mark Barnett.
Spofford is charged with accessory after the fact to the Sept. 9 murder of Paul Butterfield. She is also charged with unlawfully driving away a motor vehicle. The first charge is punishable by up to five years in confinement and/or a $10,000 and the second is punishable by up to five years in confinement. Both are felonies.
Spofford will be arraigned in 51st Circuit Court on Dec. 17, however the defendant is not expected to appear for arraignment. At that time, a preliminary examination will be scheduled.
At the request of Spofford’s attorney, Douglas Stevenson, Judge Wadel reduced her bond to $10,000 cash/surety from the original $35,000.
Sarah Knysz, the 20-year-old wife of Eric Knysz, was sentenced in circuit court Tuesday. She received a 2 to 5 year sentence accessory to murder and unlawfully driving away a motor vehicle. During testimony, Sarah Knysz said that Eric told Spofford that he had murdered Butterfield. Spofford initially had told the media she was unaware that her son had killed the trooper. Spofford allegedly helped the Knyszs steal a car from a Branch Township resident. Sarah Knysz is scheduled to be sentenced on Dec. 17.
Mason County Prosecutor Paul Spaniola said that as part of Sarah pleading guilty as charged, unconditionally, she will be testifying against her husband.
Spofford has had her share of run-ins with the law, including past charges of obstructing justice and domestic violence.

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