Man gets life behind bars in trooper's death

A 20-year-old man convicted of first-degree murder for fatally shooting a Michigan state trooper during a traffic stop was sentenced Tuesday to life in prison without the possibility of parole.
AP Wire
Apr 8, 2014

Eric Knysz received the mandatory penalty under Michigan law from Mason County Circuit Judge Richard I. Cooper in Ludington. A jury found Knysz guilty in the Sept. 9, 2013, slaying of 43-year-old trooper Paul Butterfield II.

Knysz had stolen guns with him when Butterfield pulled over his pickup truck in Mason County, prosecutors said.

Before getting the sentence, Knysz apologized to Butterfield's family, saying his action was "heinous."

"I'd like to greatly apologize to them," he said, with tears in his eyes. "Tell them that I was — please hand them my sincere apologies. If I could (do) anything to change that, I would. If I could have him shoot me instead, I would."

Knysz said he's had drug, alcohol and anger-management problems.

Butterfield's fiancee, Jennifer Sielski, told the judge that she continues to suffer from his death.

"Every day, I am overcome with a feeling of panic that rushes through my body," Sielski said. "Today, my wedding dress hangs next to Paul's state trooper uniform, neither one to be ever worn again."

Before the sentencing, the judge said it was "of the utmost pain that our people who are out there to protect us are victimized for a reason that is very, very selfish." He called Knysz an "individual who is out to look out for himself, and nothing is going to get in his way."

Sarah Knysz received a sentence of 2-5 years in prison as an accessory after the fact to her husband and testified against him.

Eric Knysz's mother, Tammi Spofford, is expected to stand trial in May on charges of being an accessory after the fact to murder and auto theft. Authorities say Eric and Sarah Knysz went to Spofford's house after the shooting. Spofford then accompanied them to a place where they stole a car intended for their escape.



Paul THANK YOU for your service.


Drinking OR drugs is NO excuse!!!! You made that choice to do drugs, so the consequences of that action is correct. It is all in your hands when you make these decisions. I hope others see this and understand that this could happen to them. OBEY the law.


Okay, if we aren't going to have the death penalty how about out-sourcing to keep these most violent offenders put away at the least cost to taxpayers.
Low bidder gets the honors. My guess is China and Mexico will then house our lifers for a fraction of the cost that we currently pay.
Unintended consequences could be increased deterrence and a feeling of justice for victims families.


Make them work 10 hour shifts 6 days a week.

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