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Police: Man faces 10 charges in shooting of West Jordan couple

FILE: DA Sim Gill and County Mayor Jenny Wilson releasing the details of the diversion program July 30, 2019. (Paul Nelson)

WEST JORDAN, Utah — The man accused of killing Tony and Katherine Butterfield of West Jordan last month now faces 10 charges in connection with their murder.

Among these charges, Albert Johnson, 31, faces two counts of first-degree aggravated murder, aggravated kidnapping, obstruction of justice and other charges related to the case. 

Johnson is currently in custody at the Salt Lake County jail. 

Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill said Johnson admitted to killing Tony, 31, and his wife Katherine, 30, on April 18. Gill said Johnson reportedly admitted to detectives he wanted to rob the Butterfields, assuming they had money. He left their house with $20 and two cell phones. 

At the time of the initial robbery, Gill said Johnson was wearing a facemask while forcing entry into the Butterfield’s bedroom. He forced them out of bed and demanded money. 

After leaving the house, Johnson returned to his car when he realized he had dropped his car keys in the house. He returned to the house without his mask, where Tony Butterfield recognized him upon re-entry and asked him, “Why?”

 

Gill said after that, Tony Butterfield began stabbing Johnson to prevent him from coming back inside — which prompted Johnson to shoot Tony because it was so painful. Katherine began screaming and — afraid of being caught by a neighbor — Johnson shot Katherine. 

Gill reports Tony Butterfield died from a single gunshot to the head.  Katherine died from a single gunshot to the torso. The couple’s three children were found inside unharmed. 

Johnson was previously convicted of a violent felony in Sacramento, according to Gill. 

These new developments come one day after Johnson was extradited to Utah from California, where he fled after the double homicide. Police identified Johnson as the suspect on April 20 — two days after the bodies were found when West Jordan police responded to a report of possible gunshots early that morning. 

West Jordan police report they received multiple tips which helped them track Johnson to Stockton, California, where he was arrested April 22. Johnson reported to detectives he had thrown the handgun used to shoot the couple into the Sacramento River. 

Johnson’s wife, Sina Johnson, was charged with obstruction of justice on April 23. Jail records show her in Salt Lake County jail as of Wednesday morning. 

“We have done our best and we will continue to do our best,” said West Jordan Police Chief Ken Wallentine during a press conference Wednesday. “As a law enforcement officer, you see a number of homicide cases. Each and every one is [an] assault on our community, as is this one. We are very mindful of the tremendous heartache.”