A Utah couple was killed, fighting off a home intruder as their three children slept. In the early hours of Saturday, April 18, Tony and Katherine Butterfield were gunned down in their West Jordan home. Police responded to a terrifying call from the couple’s neighbor who reportedly heard a woman screaming and gunshots from inside the Butterfield home.
Although the gruesome crime is horrific, all three of their children, ages 4 and under, appear to have slept through the entire incident.
Police responded to call at 1:15 AM from the Butterfield’s neighbor.
@WJPD_PIO looking for the suspect in a double murder this morning. This is in the neighborhood of 6900 south, 3200 west. No motive, but police say they have leads in the case. pic.twitter.com/TtiyNgzkGG
On arrival, officers found Katherine, 30, dead inside the home while Tony, 31, was found dead in the family’s backyard. It appeared that Tony and the suspect had gotten into a fight in the yard and that the suspect had been injured with a knife.
Police began searching for suspects immediately, while no motive was apparent immediately after the murders, the police did have leads in the case.
On April 22, authorities arrested a man in Sacramento, California, and identified him as a suspect.
Albert Enoch Johnson, 31, was arrested in Sacramento by local police with the assistance of the US Marshal’s Service as a suspect in the Butterfield murders. The Salt Lake Tribune reports that he was booked into the San Joaquin County jail just after 6 a.m. with noticeable injuries to his face. Police believe Johnson was injured, possibly with a knife, during a fight with Tony Butterfield in the back yard.
West Jordan police spokesman Sgt. J.C. Holt said at a Wednesday news conference that Johnson’s facial injuries came from his arrest.
Mr. Johnson was taken into custody early this morning in the Sacramento CA area. We appreciate the assistance from allied law enforcement authorities and the US Marshals Service in assisting with his apprehension. PIO will be avail for sound after 11am for further updates. pic.twitter.com/aQdvlxoDMA
“Mr. Johnson did try to evade officers. Mr. Johnson tried to escape officers and he did resist arrest,” Holt said. “We regret that he made that decision.”
Holt would not comment on the other injuries, which police believe are the result of a fight with Tony Butterfield.
Johnson’s wife is also being investigated for obstruction of justice and tampering with evidence.
Johnson’s wife, Sina Johnson, 29, is also in custody. She was booked into the Salt Lake County jail Monday, for investigation of obstruction of justice and tampering with evidence. She is being held without bail.
During an interview with detectives, Sina allegedly said her husband had attempted to get a job at the Butterfields’ family landscaping company, Holt said, but would not elaborate about a potential motive.
While the investigation continues, Tony and Katherine Butterfield were remembered at a small memorial and funeral service.
Tony and Katherine Butterfield’s families came together to lay the couple to rest in a private memorial service in West Jordan on Saturday, the Deseret News reports.
“We will miss them terribly, but will feel their presence daily. As hard as this is, we have faith that we will all be together again someday,” Mark and Kathy Butterfield wrote of their son, Tony, and daughter-in-law, Katherine, in a letter read at their funeral Saturday, reports the Salt Lake Tribune.
“They created a wonderful life together,” Katherine’s sister, Emily Hurst, read from a letter.
“Our hearts are broken as we mourn the tragic loss of Tony & Katherine Butterfield and are concerned about what comes next for their three surviving children.”
A GoFundMe page was set up shortly after the tragedy to raise funds for funeral expenses and “to aid and support their beautiful little family.”
“Tony & Katherine were young and in love for several years before they both served LDS missions and married shortly after they both returned from their service,” a message on the page reads. “They created a beautiful family and a wonderful life for their 3 children; with the most recent addition arriving just 6 months ago.”
The fundraising page has received $250,000 towards its goal. The families released the following statement in response:
“Our hearts are overwhelmed by the outpouring of generosity from family, friends, neighbors, community and beyond. We are deeply touched by your kindness, love and support during this tragic time.”