LUDINGTON, Mich. — A 20-year-old man was convicted of first-degree murder Tuesday for fatally shooting a Michigan state trooper during a traffic stop.
Eric Knysz was found guilty in the September shooting death of 43-year-old Trooper Paul Butterfield II. Prosecutors said Knysz had stolen guns with him when Butterfield pulled over his pickup truck in Mason County, in west-central Michigan.
Sentencing is set for April 18, though first-degree murder carries a mandatory penalty of life in prison without the possibility of parole in Michigan.
In his closing arguments, defense attorney David Glancy noted that the only witness who could place Knysz in the pickup that day was his wife, Sarah, who testified against him. Glancy said she benefited from a plea deal with prosecutors that brought her a sentence of two to five years in prison as an accessory after the fact.
But jurors sided with prosecutors after deliberating for about two hours.
"Justice was served," Col. Kriste Kibbey Etue, state police commander, told the Ludington Daily News.
Butterfield's fiancee, Jen Sielski, said the verdict doesn't bring back Butterfield but protects the public.
"At least the killer won't hurt anyone else," Sielski said.
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Copyright 2014 The Associated Press