Retired Cal City cop’s son accused in Michigan state trooper slaying

2013-09-13T20:30:00Z 2013-09-20T18:32:12Z Retired Cal City cop’s son accused in Michigan state trooper slayingTimes staff and wire reports
September 13, 2013 8:30 pm  • 

The son of a retired Calumet City police officer faces a murder charge in connection with the shooting death of a Michigan State Police trooper.

The Ludington Daily News reports that Eric Knysz, of Luther, Mich., was arraigned Friday from the Mason County Jail in Michigan. He also is charged with using a gun during a felony, car theft and being a habitual offender.

Knysz, 19, and his wife, Sarah, 20, were arrested and charged this week after Trooper Paul Butterfield was shot in the head during a traffic stop Monday in Sherman Township in Mason County, Mich.

Calumet City Police Chief Edward Gilmore said Eric Knysz is the son of retired Patrol Officer Jack Knysz. Gilmore said he was made aware of the local connection to the shooting death Friday, but he had no other information about the incident.

Eric Knysz was shot by another trooper during his arrest. He was treated at a Traverse City, Mich., hospital before his Friday arraignment, where he was appointed a public defender and ordered held without bond.

Sarah Knysz, who is pregnant, is charged with helping her husband try to escape. Both face Sept. 25 preliminary hearings.

Mason County Prosecutor Paul Spaniola told The Associated Press the incident started as “simply a routine traffic stop.” He added that Eric Knysz was not wanted for any offense at the time of the traffic stop.

“A lot of times, homicides have no good reason,” Spaniola said.

Sarah Knysz, who appeared in court by video camera from the county jail, won’t be released until she can post $250,000.

“The circumstances arising from this matter merit a much more serious bond,” Magistrate Patricia Baker said, in justifying the high bond.

Spaniola said Butterfield — a state trooper for 14 years — regularly handled cases in Mason County, especially following up with sex offenders to ensure they complied with restrictions.

“He had a very soft spot for animals. He was a hard worker. He did everything by the book,” Spaniola said. Butterfield’s funeral will be this afternoon at Mainstee High School, The Associated Press reports.

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