Eric Knysz taken off life support, dies

Eric Knysz during sentencing proceedings. (April 8, 2014)
Eric Knysz during sentencing proceedings. (April 8, 2014)

JACKSON, Mich. (WOOD) – The man convicted in the murder of Michigan State Police Trooper Paul Butterfield has died after he was taken off of life support, according to the Michigan Department of Corrections.

Eric Knysz was put on life support at Allegiance Health Hospital in Jackson after he attempted to commit suicide by hanging himself with a bed sheet Monday while at the Charles E. Egeler Reception and Guidance Center, also in Jackson, MDOC authorities said.

He was removed from life support around 10:30 a.m. Thursday, two days after he was declared clinically brain dead, a family member confirmed to 24 Hour News 8.

Knysz had been under suicide watch while he was being held at the Mason County Jail, sources said, but said he never displayed any suicidal behavior. It is not clear if he was under suicide watch while in MDOC’s custody.

On Wednesday, Knysz’ older sister, Bonnie Knysz, told 24 Hour News 8 she believes her brother was already planning suicide before he was sentenced last Tuesday to life in prison without parole for killing Butterfield during a traffic stop in rural Mason County in September 2013.

She also said that her family decided to go ahead with the decision Eric made several years ago to be an organ donor, after doctors said his organs could save up to seven lives. Thursday, those organs were harvested.

“This doesn’t make up for the trooper dying, and in no way are these people who are going to receive these organs, are their lives more important than the trooper, not at all,” Bonnie Knysz said. “Eric took the trooper’s life and his own, but in that he’ll be able to save other people’s lives.”

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