Slain Trooper’s Family Emotional During Sarah Knysz’s Sentencing

Posted at 10:47 PM, Dec 10, 2013
and last updated 2013-12-10 22:48:57-05

LUDINGTON, Mich. — Sarah Knysz was sentenced Tuesday for her involvement in the killing of Michigan State Police Trooper Paul Butterfield.

Knysz was given the maximum sentence of between two and five years in prison for being an accessory to the murder after the fact.

She was also given an 11-month concurrent sentence for vehicle theft.

She pleaded guilty Nov. 5, and was initially due to be sentenced Dec. 17.  However, it was moved up to Tuesday because she is due to deliver her child.

Knysz, 20, said that she saw her husband Eric shoot Butterfield during a Sept. 9 traffic stop.  Her attorney maintained that she was controlled by him following the incident.

In court Tuesday, Butterfield’s loved ones spoke out for the first time.

“Today, my wedding dress hangs in my closet next to Paul’s State Trooper uniform, neither one to be worn again,” his fiance Jennifer Sielski said.

Butterfield’s father Paul, a retired trooper, handed Sarah a photo of his son to look at while he spoke in court.

“I have followed your court hearings and seen your tears, which can not compare to tears the my wife and I shed following the shooting. You made the choice to stay with him instead of doing the right thing and leave and call police,” he said.

After the shooting, Sarah accompanied Knysz to his mother’s house, where she says he cleaned blood off the vehicle with napkins.

Officials say the two then stole a vehicle that they had test driven earlier that day before being arrested in Manistee County.  Eric Knysz will go to trial for the murder in February.