LUDINGTON, Mich. (WOOD) - Four days after he allegedly shot and killed Michigan State Police Trooper Paul Butterfield, a 19-year-old suspect was officially charged.
Eric Knysz, 19, was arraigned Friday afternoon in Mason County District Court on charges of murder of a police officer, felony firearms, carrying a concealed weapon, auto theft and being a second-time offender.
The arraignment came a day before the funeral planned for the trooper in Manistee.
Knysz appeared in court through a video link from the Mason County Jail, where he was brought Friday after days in the hospital for a gunshot wound to the knee.
Sitting in a chair, though it was not clear if it was a wheelchair, Knysz said he understood his rights and the charges against him. He asked for a court-appointed attorney.
Mason County Prosecutor Paul Spaniola asked that Knysz be held without bond.
"This not only is a felony murder case, but the defendant is an extreme flight risk," he said. "He was attempting to flee and was armed and dangerous."
The magistrate agreed and ordered Knysz held without bond. He was also told to have no contact with his wife Sarah, who is also the in Mason County Jail on charges connected to Butterfield's death.
Knysz's parents and other relatives were in court. His mother cried in the back row. After the hearing, Knysz's father said it was difficult to see his son on the video screen.
State police troopers drove Knysz to the jail late Friday afternoon from Munson Medical Center in Traverse City. He wore an orange jail uniform and sat low in the front seat of a state police patrol car as he arrived at the jail.
Relatives say he underwent three surgeries at the hospital for the gunshot wound to his knee. He sustained that injury in a shootout at the time of his arrest.
Knysz's 20-year-old wife Sarah Knysz, who is six months pregnant, was arraigned on Wednesday for her alleged role in the killing. She's being held in jail on a $250,000 bond on charges being an accessory after the fact and auto theft.
Police said Butterfield pulled over the Knyszes in a traffic stop Monday night in Sherman Township. That’s when Butterfield was shot in the head, allegedly by Knysz. He later died from his injuries during surgery.
Spaniola declined to comment after the Friday arraignment about whether a motive had been established.
The two suspects drove off from the scene and were arrested a few hours later following a gunfight with police at the Dublin General Store gas station in Wellston in Manistee County.
Knysz has a criminal history dating back to 2008, when he was 14 and, while armed with a gun, broke into a home in Lake County. He's been in front of a Lake County judge four times for five crimes, serving 34 of the 1,006 days he was sentenced to jail. The judge suspended the rest of the jail time - a common practice.
Knysz is expected back in court for a preliminary hearing on Sept. 25.
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Two other people, who were inside the residence at the time, escaped safely.
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