Prosecutors Say West Jordan Double Murder Suspect Confessed To Crime
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Prosecutors said the man accused of killing a West Jordan couple confessed to the crime and said he stole $20 and two cell phones from the home.
On Wednesday, Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill announced charges of aggravated murder and robbery had been filed against Albert Johnson.
“Johnson stated that he knew the Butterfields and that he believed they had money. He stated that he had been worried about his own finances, so he went to the Butterfields’ home to ‘get money,’” Gill said.
Neighbors and friends of Tony and Katherine Butterfield were relieved the suspect was behind bars, but none could wrap their minds around his motive.
“The first thing I heard was her saying ‘Oh my God!’ really loud and it startled me,” said Debi Ayer, the Butterfield’s neighbor who called 911. “Before police got here, I heard her and the two gunshots and then it just went quiet.”
Ayer was shaken from sleep in the early morning hours of April 18 when Katherine and Tony Butterfield were found dead in their West Jordan home near 6920 South and 3300 West.
Authorities said Albert Johnson confessed to the crime after his arrest near Stockton, California.
Gill said Johnson was extradited to Utah on Tuesday and was in custody at the Salt Lake County Jail.
LIVE: Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill is holding a press conference with an update on the double homicide of Tony and Katherine Butterfield of West Jordan
Posted by KSL 5 TV on Wednesday, May 6, 2020
According to Gill, surveillance video obtained from inside the Butterfield’s home allegedly captured Johnson “entering the upstairs of the home, forcing Tony and Katherine out of bed in their undergarments, and taking them to the lower level of the home. Johnson can also be heard on the audio demanding money from Tony and Katherine.”
Court documents said “Johnson was wearing a mask and told detectives he took $20 and two cellphones. He left the house and cut through the neighbor’s yard where he discarded the two cell phones.”
Once at his car, police said Johnson took off his mask and realized he had forgotten his keys and returned to the home. That’s when Tony Butterfield recognized Johnson without the mask on.
“And asked him ‘why?’” Gill said. “Tony then started stabbing Johnson to prevent him from coming back into the house. Johnson said that it was so painful that he shot Tony. Katherine began screaming and Johnson thought he saw a neighbor nearby, so Johnson shot Katherine.”
”She probably walked out and saw him with her husband and then turned around and ran back in,” Ayer said. Police found Tony Butterfield’s body in the backyard of his home with a gunshot wound to the head, while Katherine Butterfield was found with a fatal gunshot wound to the torso.
Ayer said she heard the screaming and gunshots while sleeping in her room. She said she got up and went to the hallway of her home, where she called 911.
Detectives said the couple’s three children, ages 4, 2, and 6 months, were unharmed.
“I heard one of the kids crying after the police arrived, (saying) ‘I want my daddy,’” Ayer said.
Ayer said her great-grandson would often play with the Butterfield children and she was praying justice will bring closure to the Butterfield’s loved ones.
“It broke my heart and it did bother me that I heard her last words,” Ayer said. “I cried … that whole weekend, I always heard them out there. I always heard the kids, I always heard him working. Then it was too quiet.”
Detectives said they found $200 inside a book and a shotgun at Johnson’s apartment where he fled after the shooting before fleeing to California.
“During a search of Johnson’s apartment, blood was located in several areas of the home,” a probable cause statement read. “Johnson’s clothing and shoes that he was wearing at the time of the alleged homicides, all of which were stained with a significant amount of blood, were retrieved from a dumpster near his home after having been placed there by his wife [Sina Johnson] the morning of the homicides.”
Police said Johnson told them he threw the gun used in the crime into the Sacramento River.
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