Confession of a killer

February 21, 2014
Eric Knysz in court Friday.

Eric Knysz in court Friday.

Editor’s note about our legal system. A confession to a police officer is not enough for a person to be convicted of a crime. Every person in this country accused of a crime has a right to a trial. 

By Lisa Enos. MCP Correspondent.

LUDINGTON — Eric Knyzs waved his miranda rights and spoke to Michigan State Police Detective Gary Green while he lay recovering from the gunshot wound to his knee at Munson Medical Center in Traverse City on Sept. 10, 2013, the day after he allegedly shot MSP Trooper Paul Butterfield.

The mostly unintelligible interviewed was played for the jury who were provided a transcript of the interview. It was very difficult to understand Knysz’ statements, but he did admit to shooting Butterfield once at a range of about 5 feet as he approached his vehicle.

He said he shot Trooper Butterfield because he was driving on a suspended license and had guns in the car and didn’t want to go to jail. Guns he said were there because there were some “bad guys” after him. Knysz initially refused to admit during that interview that he had stolen a white Pontiac Grand Prix from a Timothy Schultz of Branch Township, but later acquiesced when the detective interviewing him reminded him that they had already talked to his wife, Sarah and that she had been “pretty honest.”

Knysz sounded angry when he was asked more than once whether he had changed his clothes when he stopped at his mother’s residence. He said that he had “hung out” with her for a bit. Throughout the line of questioning, Knysz made statements which were very difficult to discern as he was mumbling, post surgery and possibly under the influence of pain medication.

He chose to moan in pain rather than answer the questions about the stolen car or whether he had changed clothes, perhaps in an effort to protect his mother who is alleged to have traveled with him in his dad’s red Chevrolet pick up truck to Schultz’s house. There Knysz and his wife Sarah allegedly stole the white Grand Prix and drove away earlier testimony by the vehicle’s owner, Tim Schutz, indicated they had planned on buying.

Knysz first indicated that after hanging out with his mother he had walked to the Dublin gas station where he had been apprehended. It is unknown at this time if there were in fact any “bad guys” that Knysz was trying to get away from or if the testimony was pure fantasy. Knysz mentioned cocaine in his interview, that Lake County Sheriff’s deputies had previously accused him of carrying drugs in his car.

Two witnesses — a married couple, Deborah and Mark Harris — came forth to testify that Knysz had told them that he had “Killed a f#$%$#g cop” They said he had come to their house to see about purchasing some marijuana because Knysz knew Mr. Harris had a medical marijuana card.

A rifle, a hand gun, snacks, pop and cigarettes were among the items seized from the white Grand Prix, the Knysz’ getaway car. Is there more to the story? Were there in fact drugs involved and “bad guys” after Knysz? Gary Green’s Testimony continues Monday– Green’s second interview with Eric Knysz.

The 51st Circuit Court trial against Eric Knysz continues Monday at 9:30 a.m.


For more frequent updates, please be sure to follow us at or #TrooperMurderTrial.

Major sponsor of MCP’s trial coverage is FloraCraft of Ludington: Additional sponsorship by Dollars & Sense Accounting of Ludington: 231-845-7292.

Photos by Rob Alway, Editor-in-Chief.


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