Man killed couple in home after taking cash, police say

Posted at 6:52 AM, May 8, 2020 and last updated 3:56 PM, May 25, 2023


SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — A Utah man forced a couple out of their bed at gunpoint, took money and cellphones, then killed them after he was recognized, prosecutors said Wednesday.

Albert E. Johnson broke into the house wearing a mask April 18 but removed it after escaping to his car and realizing he didn’t have his keys, prosecutors said in court documents.

He returned to the house to find the keys and the man he had just robbed, Tony Butterfield, 31, recognized Johnson without the mask. He asked him “why?” then stabbed him to keep him from coming back inside, prosecutors said.

Wounded, Johnson shot Butterfield and then his wife, Katherine Butterfield, 30, as she screamed, according to court documents.

Johnson, 31, was charged Wednesday with aggravated murder, kidnapping, robbery and other counts. He could face the death penalty if he is convicted. No attorney was immediately listed for him.

Johnson went back to his apartment, changed his clothes and left for California, prosecutors said. Police later found $200 hidden in a book in his apartment. He was arrested in the Stockton area after a five-day manhunt.

Johnson’s wife told police he knew them because he once tried to get a job with their landscaping business, according to court documents.

The couple left behind three children, all under 4 years old. They were in the house but unharmed and are staying with family.

Both Johnson and the Butterfields lived in West Jordan, about 15 miles (24 kilometers) south of Salt Lake City.

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