Police continue search for man accused of killing Utah couple; suspect’s wife arrested
WEST JORDAN, Utah (Gephardt Daily) — The wife of a man suspected in the aggravated murder of a Utah couple was arrested Monday and is facing two felony charges.
Sina Johnson, wife of Albert Enoch Johnson, has been charged with obstruction of justice, a first-degree felony, and tampering with evidence, a third-degree felony.
Sina Johnson, who will be 30 years old next month, allegedly had “information regarding an aggravated murder involving two victims in the city of West Jordan that occurred on April 18,” according to a probable cause statement filed in 3rd District Court in Salt Lake County by a West Jordan police officer.
The reporting officer stated in the charging document that in an interview post Miranda, Sina Johnson continued to falsify her knowledge of what occurred.
She “withheld the whereabouts of the homicide suspect and falsified her recount of what occurred and her involvement,” according to the document, which says she had contact with her husband several times before and after the homicide.
Sina Johnson is charged with tampering with evidence because, according to the document, “she disposed of items of evidentiary value regarding the homicide,” and admitted to doing so.
The probable cause statement notes that she is charged with first-degree felony obstruction because aggravated murder is a capital offense. She was booked into Salt Lake County Jail, where she is being held without bail.
Albert Enoch Johnson, 31, is the suspect in the fatal shooting of Anthony “Tony” Butterfield and his wife, Katherine Butterfield, in their West Jordan home early Saturday. The couple’s three children, age 4 and younger, were in the home, but were not injured.
West Jordan Sgt. J.C. Holt said at a Monday news conference that police were searching for Albert Enoch Johnson, from West Jordan. He is 5 feet 10 inches tall and 270 pounds.
Holt said Johnson was known to the Butterfields and the killing is thought to be a targeted and isolated act. Police do not believe there is an active threat in the area the killing took place.
“We do not believe the person of interest was invited into the home,” Holt said. “It was a home invasion, there were signs of forced entry into the home.”
Holt said at this time police are not saying what the relationship between Johnson and the victims is, and the motive is not clear at this time.
“We don’t want to give up too much while Mr. Johnson is not in custody,” Holt said. “The detectives are looking into a motive; it’s hard to say what that motive is, as we have not had a chance to question Mr. Johnson.”
Police are not currently looking for any other persons of interest in the case.
Johnson is likely to have injuries as there was believed to be an altercation; police believe he was either stabbed or cut on his arms and legs. Holt said the injuries are thought to be significant enough that they would still be visible.
Johnson was last seen driving a dark gray 2008 Toyota Corolla with black wheels and the license plate V464MW. Holt said he could still be driving the vehicle, or could have dropped it off.
“We do believe that the Butterfields were absolute, true victims. We do not believe there was any criminal activity going on on their part,” Holt said. Johnson does have a criminal history, he added.
Holt previously told Gephardt Daily that police arrived shortly after a 1:15 a.m. call to dispatch, in which a neighbor said she heard gunshots and a woman screaming.
Officers responded to the scene, near 7000 South and 3200 West, and knocked on the door, Holt said. When no one answered, police went to the backyard and found Tony Butterfield deceased. Entering the house, officers found Kathy Butterfield just inside the front door, also dead. Both had been shot.
“There were also three kids inside the home, the oldest age 4, and down to infant,” Holt said. “They were not injured in any of this.”
Late Saturday afternoon, extended family members released the following statement on the death of Kathy and Anthony Butterfield:
The families of Tony and Katherine C. Butterfield are devastated by the sudden passing of their loved ones. Tony and Katherine were incredible Christ-like, kind, happy, and loving parents, children, siblings and friends. We mourn their loss, but are grateful for the sure knowledge we have that we will be with them again.
We hold no ill-will towards to the perpetrator(s) and pray for them and their families. We are grateful for the immediate and professional work of the West Jordan Police and other investigators, and are confident in their abilities to bring this case to resolution.
We ask for prayers for Tony and Katherine’s three sweet children, as well as for the many, many people who love Tony and Katherine. We are appreciative and overwhelmed with the outpouring of love and support we have received. Thank you.
A GoFundMe account has been established to help provide for the couple’s three young children. As of Tuesday at 10 a.m., that account had raised $191,745.
The GoFundMe page said: “Our hearts are broken as we mourn the tragic loss of Tony and Katherine Butterfield and are concerned what comes next for their three surviving children.
“In the early hours of Saturday morning, April 18, an intruder came into their home and despite fighting for their lives, they were brutally shot and killed while their three children, ages four and under, slept upstairs. While we are so grateful that their children were not harmed, we are devastated at the loss of their loving parents.”
The youngest child is just six months old, the page said.
The crime scene
Gephardt Daily was on the scene early Saturday, when police from multiple agencies were securing and searching the area. K-9s were brought in, but no suspect was located.
There are signs an altercation took place prior to the shootings, Holt said, and the house had been “gone through.”
Holt said police had not been called to the residence before, and the couple had no criminal history.
“It’s just a horrible case,” Holt said. “It’s just really awful.”
Anyone who sees Johnson or who has any information about his whereabouts is asked to call West Jordan police at (801) 840-4000.