Utah man gets life in prison for robbing, killing couple

Posted at 3:42 PM, October 15, 2020 and last updated 3:31 PM, July 20, 2023

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — A judge has sentenced a Utah man to life in prison without the possibility of parole after he forced a couple out of their bed at gunpoint, took their money and cellphones and killed them after he was recognized.


Third District Court Judge James Blanch sentenced Albert E. Johnson on Thursday after Johnson pleaded guilty to aggravated murder and aggravated robbery in connection to an unrelated robbery, the Salt Lake Tribune reported.

Prosecutors said Johnson broke into Tony and Katherine Butterfield’s West Jordan home in April wearing a mask but removed it after escaping to his car and realizing he didn’t have his keys. He then returned to the home without his mask, where he was recognized by the husband.

The Butterfields’ three young children, ages 4, 2 and 6 months, were home at the time and were not harmed, authorities said. Johnson later fled to California where he was arrested in a fight with police.

Johnson told investigators he was worried about finances and believed the Butterfields had money.

Johnson’s wife Sina Johnson was later charged with obstruction of justice and pleaded guilty to a third-degree felony charge in August for cleaning up evidence and lying about her husband’s whereabouts.

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

“I’m so sorry for your sister, your brother, their kids. That’s not really my character. … I’m so sorry. I apologize,” Johnson said during his sentencing.

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

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