LUDINGTON, Mich. (WOOD) — The man convicted of murdering Michigan State Police Trooper Paul Butterfield attempted to kill himself Monday, a Michigan Department of Corrections spokesman said.
Eric Knysz was convicted in February murdering Butterfield during what started on Sept. 9, 2013 as a routine traffic stop in rural Mason County. He was sentenced last week to spend the rest of his life in prison.
Knysz “attempted suicide this afternoon, but is still alive at this point and is currently housed at a Jackson hospital,” MDOC spokesman Russ Marlan told 24 Hour News 8 in a Monday afternoon email.
Marlan said Kynsz attempted to hang himself using a bed sheet. Sources told 24 Hour News 8 it happened around 3:30 p.m. or 4 p.m.
Law enforcement sources told 24 Hour New s8 Knysz is said to be in critical condition and is reportedly being kept alive on life support. He is an organ donor.
Knysz was transferred from the Mason County Jail to the custody of MDOC Thursday, Mason County Sheriff’s Department officials said. He was being held at the Charles Egeler Reception and Guidance Center in Jackson, MDOC records show, where men sentenced to spend time in a Michigan are processed.
Knysz was under suicide watch while he was being held at the Mason County Jail, sources said, but that he never displayed any suicidal behavior. It is not clear if he was under suicide watch while in MDOC’s custody.
Butterfield’s father — also named Paul Butterfield — spoke to 24 Hour News 8 Monday evening after hearing of the suicide attempt:
“Mixed emotions, I guess. It just shows you what a coward he was,” Butterfield Sr. said. “I can’t say I’m going to shed a tear over all this. But, yeah, I don’t know how to react. I really don’t.”
He was driving home to Frankenmuth from a ceremony in Ludington to honor the people who tried to help Trooper Butterfield the night he was shot.
MSP Col. Kriste Kibbey Etue, Butterfield’s parents Paul and Pat Butterfield, and his fiancee Jennifer Sielski were there to thank Connie Helton and Chuck and Shannon Comstock, who came upon Butterfield just after the shooting, according to the Mason County Press.
The Michigan State Police also thanked the Lake, Manistee, Mason and Oceana county sheriff’s departments, and the Ludington Police Department, for their help, the Press reports.