LUDINGTON, Mich. (WOOD) — In day four of the trial of the man accused of shooting and killing a Michigan State Police trooper, jurors got to hear a recorded confession from the suspect himself.
Eric Knysz is charged with the Sept. 9 murder of Trooper Paul Butterfield II. He has pleaded not guilty to the crime.
Testimony in the trial that is expected to last eight or nine days has included forensic evidence linking Knysz to the murder weapon and the allegedly stolen getaway car.
Friday, jurors heard the suspect’s own words from the night of the shooting when he agreed to waive his Miranda rights and speak with police officers without an attorney present.
Knysz sounded groggy and occasionally moaned in pain during the recorded interview.
“He pulled off the road and turned around and pulled me over,” Knysz said to the detective. “He walked up to the car and I shot him.”
Knysz told police that his wife, Sarah, was afraid as she fled with him. He told detectives that he’d gotten the gun used in the shooting from the “streets,” and that he was carrying it for protection from people who were following him. He says he shot Butterfield because he was afraid of being arrested.
After he was shot, Butterfield fell forward, Knysz said in the recording.
And it wasn’t just police claiming Knysz had confessed. Two of his friends also took the stand and told the jury he came to their home after the shooting and admitted the crime to them.
In an interview after his testimony, Mark Harris said he was in “disbelief” after Knysz told them he’d shot an officer.
“To my recollection, my daughter come in the room and said, ‘So, you drove off from a police officer?’ He said, ‘No, I blowed his f***in’ head off and then I drove away,’” Harris told 24 Hour News 8.
Eric Knysz’ defense attorney, David Glancy, tried to raise doubt about Harris’ testimony, pointing out the fact that he didn’t call police after the alleged confession.
Harris says he didn’t call police because he didn’t want to believe what Knysz was saying, and by the time he realized it was a true story, Knysz and his wife, Sarah, had already been arrested.
Testimony in the trial will resume Monday at 9:30 a.m.
Among the witnesses who will testify, jurors are expected to hear from the doctor who performed the autopsy on Butterfield’s body.