No change in Knysz’ condition, still on life support

April 15, 2014
Eric Knysz with his public defender David Glancy.

Eric Knysz with his public defender David Glancy.

By Rob Alway. Editor-in-Chief.

JACKSON — Eric Knysz, the man who killed Michigan State Police Trooper Paul Butterfield, remains in critical condition at a Jackson area hospital. On Monday afternoon, the 20-year-old prisoner attempted to hang himself.  Mason County Sheriff Kim Cole said that at 5:15 p.m. he had contacted Michigan State Police which reported no change in Knysz’ condition; he is reportedly on life support. Another source has told MCP that Knysz’ family is on their way to Jackson to make the decision to take him off life support.

Cole said he has been contemplating Knysz’ choice of trying to end his life.

“I kept thinking what Paul’s dad said at sentencing about Paul’s accomplishments and what Knyz accomplished,” Cole said. “Life is all about choices, whether it’s easy ones like putting on your safety belt every morning or more complexed ones.

“I do feel sorry for Mr. Knyz. Being a father of kids that age and their choices in life (Drew at 20 was in Canada playing junior hockey and Kasey at 20 had been a 2 time state finalist diver and NHS member), but Paul’s killer made a series of bad choices.  I wonder why that’s so.  But in the end Paul’s killer sealed his own fate and has only himself to blame.”

Knysz had only been in prison for four days when he used a bed sheet to try to hang himself.

Mason County’s 51st Circuit Court Judge Richard Cooper sentenced the 20-year-old Irons resident last Tuesday to life in prison without the possibility of parole for the Sept. 9, 2013 killing of Michigan State Police Trooper Paul Butterfield. On Thursday he was transported by Mason County Sheriff’s Office and Michigan State Police personnel to the Charles Egeler Reception and Guidance Center in Jackson, where men sentenced to prison are processed.

While jailed in Mason County since September 9, 2013, Knysz was under suicide watch.

The suicide attempt apparently occurred around 4 or 4:30 p.m. Monday. Ironically, just an hour before that, the Michigan State Police held an awards ceremony in Ludington honoring the three civilians who were first on the scene the night Knysz murdered Trooper Butterfield on North Custer Road in Free Soil Township. The ceremony also honored local law enforcement departments for their part in the incident.

Knysz is reportedly being kept alive on life support at Allegiance Health hospital in Jackson and is an organ donor.


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