Trooper-death suspect wife sentenced as accessory - WNEM TV 5

Trooper-death suspect wife sentenced as accessory

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Sarah Knysz Sarah Knysz
Eric Knysz Eric Knysz
Trooper Paul Butterfield Trooper Paul Butterfield
SAGINAW, MI (WNEM/AP) -

The pregnant wife of a man charged with fatally shooting a Michigan state trooper during a traffic stop has been sentenced to two to five years in prison for helping him escape.

Mason County Circuit Judge Richard I. Cooper in Ludington on Tuesday sentenced 20-year-old Sarah Knysz for being an accessory after the fact and auto theft.

Eric Knysz faces trial starting Feb. 18, 2014, on a first-degree murder charge in the death of Trooper Paul Butterfield. He was killed during a traffic stop Sept. 9 in Mason County's Sherman Township.

Sarah Knysz pleaded guilty Nov. 5 and agreed to testify against her husband.

She told the judge Tuesday that she was afraid of her husband and helped him to keep herself and her baby safe.

The mother of Eric Knysz was also charged with helping her son steal a car to flee.

50-year-old Tammi Lynne Spofford was charged with being an accessory after the fact to Trooper Paul Butterfield's killing and auto theft. She could face up to five years in prison.

The shooting happened near Ludington, in Mason County. Investigators say Butterfield stopped a vehicle and then was shot in the head.

He was taken to a nearby hospital, where he later died at Munson Medical Center in Traverse City during emergency surgery.

Two hours later, police found the two suspects at a gas station in the town of Wellston. When police approached them, Eric Knysz pointed a gun at the officers.

Police shot Eric Knysz, who was taken to a hospital with non-life-threatening injuries. Eric Knysz faces a homicide charge, murder of a police officer and other felonies. His trial is set to begin Feb. 18 in Mason County Circuit Court.

Butterfield is a 1988 graduate of Bridgeport High School and was a 1987 Class A State Cross Country Champion.

Butterfield had been with the MSP for 14 years and worked at the MSP detachment in Hart. He was a veteran of the U.S. Army and had recently become engaged to be married.

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