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Knysz sentencing

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Posted: Tuesday, April 8, 2014 5:00 pm | Updated: 12:57 pm, Wed Apr 9, 2014.

4:55 p.m. update: Cooper has sentenced Knysz to life in prison.

"...in conclusion, the anger level of defendant and his choice of how to deal with the problem was such an extreme nature that the statutory consequence for killing a police officer is warranted...," Cooper said.

 

4:40 p.m. update: Sielski gave a tearful statement about how Knysz robbed her of her "hero." Paul's father, Paul T. Butterfield, said he hoped that Knysz received a stern sentence.

"I'm hoping and praying you receive the maximum sentence the law will allow."

Knysz is now addressing the court. He apologized to the Butterfield family said his wife and mother did not voluntarily participate in the crime.

 

4:25 p.m. update: Mason County Prosecuting Attorney Paul Spaniola has made his comments about how Knysz's actions have affected officers and families around the state. Paul's fiancee Jen Sielski is speaking now.

4:15 p.m. update: Defense attorney David Glancy and Judge Cooper are discussing statements allegedly made by Knysz in the Mason County Jail. Glancy said Knysz admits saying "I shot a state trooper so I'd have no problems shooting a corrections officer," but Glancy claims the statement was made to another inmate not at a corrections officer. The statement would affect Knysz's corrections score under sentencing guidelines.

4 p.m. update: Knysz has entered the courtroom, still walking with a cane. The courtroom is packed with people, including many law enforcement officers. Trooper Butterfield's fiancee, Jen Sielski, is in the front row along with Paul's family.

Eric Knysz, 20, of Irons, will find out Tuesday whether he might spend the rest of his life in prison after a jury of 12 Mason County residents found him guilty of the Sept. 9, 2013 killing of Trooper Paul K. Butterfield as Butterfield made a traffic stop on Knysz and his wife, Sarah.

Eric Knysz was found guilty of murder of a police officer, unlawful driving away of an automobile, carrying a concealed weapon without a permit and felony firearm on Feb. 26. His sentencing is set for 4 p.m. Tuesday in front of Judge Richard Cooper in 51st Circuit Court.

Jen Sielski, Butterfield’s fiancée, said after the verdict that justice was served, but it does not bring Paul back. She said she is still grieving for the man she loved.

“I believe justice was served today, unfortunately it doesn’t bring Paul back,” Sielski said that day. “At least his killer won’t be out to hurt anyone else.”

Mason County Prosecuting Attorney Paul Spaniola said there was no joy in the verdict for him.

“There was no elation, it was, ‘We lost a trooper and we have to do justice’ and that’s what we did,” Spaniola said.

Spaniola said he wanted to express his sadness because he had not been able to say anything about that yet.

Col. Kriste Kibbey Etue, the commander of the Michigan State Police, was on hand for the verdict. It is unknown whether she might be in attendance on Tuesday.

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