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Arrests made in shooting death of MSP trooper

Published 10:16am Thursday, September 12, 2013

Mason County Prosecuting Attorney Paul Spaniola announced that charges have been filed Wednesday against two individuals allegedly involved in the murder of Michigan State Police Trooper Paul Butterfield on Sept. 9 in Sherman Township, Mason County.

Sarah Renee Knysz, 20, of Luther, Mich., was arraigned Wednesday before 79th District Court Magistrate Patricia Baker on a two-count felony complaint: accessory after the fact to murder and unlawful driving away of an automobile. A preliminary examination was scheduled for her to be held on Sept. 25 in the Mason County Courthouse in Ludington. A bond was set for her at $250,000 cash or surety and she was remanded to the Mason County Jail pending the posting of that bond and the preliminary examination.

Charges have been authorized against Eric John Knysz, 19, of Luther. He will be arraigned on his charges once he is returned to Mason County. The four-count complaint against Eric lists charges as follows: murder of peace officer, a felony punishable by life without parole; felony firearms, a felony punishable by two years served consecutively to the sentence of the murder count; carrying a concealed weapon, a felony punishable by up to five years confinement and/or $2,500 fine; and unlawful driving away of an automobile, a felony punishable by up to five years confinement. He has also been given a notice of habitual offender second status, which would elevate the maximum penalties to one and one-half times the maximum otherwise set forth by statute.

Ford Stone, the Manistee County Prosecuting Attorney, is also reviewing the investigation for crimes which may have been committed by the suspects during the course of their apprehension in Manistee County. Craig Cooper, Lake County Prosecutor, is also exploring potential charges in Lake County.

Both defendants are presumed to be innocent unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt as to their respective charges.

Accessory after the fact to murder is a felony carrying a maximum five-year penalty.

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