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Manhunt Under Way In Brutal Killing Of Young Couple During Home Invasion As Suspect's Wife Is Arrested
Albert Enoch Johnson knew the victims, Katherine and Tony Butterfield, and may have targeted them, authorities in Utah believe.
The wife of a Utah man suspected of killing a young couple during a home invasion has been arrested as police continue their search for her husband.
Tony Butterfield, 31, and Katherine Butterfield, 30, were both shot to death in their West Jordan home early Saturday morning as they tried to fight off an intruder, West Jordan police spokesman Sgt. J.C. Holt told Oxygen.com. The couple's three children — ages 4, 2, and about six months old — were sleeping upstairs during the violence, but were unharmed.
Holt identified the suspect as 31-year-old Albert Enoch Johnson at a Monday press conference. Holt said it appears that Johnson is in hiding.
“Obviously we’ve been actively looking for him for a few days and he is avoiding contact with us. So that should lend some insight into what we feel like is going on with him,” he said.
Johnson's wife has been accused of helping him escape. Sina Anne Johnson, 29, allegedly “withheld the whereabouts of the homicide suspect” and “falsified her [statements] of what occurred and her involvement,” according to a probable cause statement obtained by the Salt Lake Tribune. She is also accused of disposing evidence related to the double homicide, according to the affidavit, obtained by Deseret News. She has been charged with obstruction of justice and tampering with evidence. She is being held without bail and it's unclear if she has a lawyer.
Holt said that Albert Johnson is no stranger to the slain couple.
“They were known to each other,” he said at Monday’s presser “It was not random. We believe that they were in fact targeted by Mr. Johnson.”
Holt did not specify how they knew one another but he was quick to note that Johnson was not invited in. He previously told Oxygen.com that there were signs of forced entry at the home. Holt said he believed the entire family was sleeping when Johnson allegedly broke in at 1:15 am.
“He was not a welcome guest,” Holt said at the news conference.
Police were called after a neighbor said they heard gunshots and a woman screaming. When police arrived at the Butterfield home, they found Tony's body in the backyard and Katherine's right inside the home's back doorway.
“It looks like there was probably some kind of altercation that happened right there," Holt told Oxygen.com on Monday. He told reporters that it appears that the intruder may have been stabbed in his arms or legs. The wounds are not believed to be life threatening but Holt said they are likely noticeable. He said it's not clear whether it was Katherine or Tony who may have hurt the assailant.
He specified at the presser that it appears that the couple grabbed a knife from within their home in defense. Holt said the gun used in the incident to kill the couple was not found at the scene.
A motive for the alleged break-in is unclear. Holt told Oxygen.com the intruder apparently rummaged through the home but it’s unclear if any belongings were stolen.
Holt made sure to clarify at Monday’s news conference that the slain couple should have no blame cast on them.
“We do believe that the Butterfields were absolutely true victims during this, as a result of this act,” Holt said. “They did not have any role in this. We do not believe there was any criminal activity on their part.”
Holt said Johnson has a criminal record in California; the Butterfields do not have any. Their family described them as "incredible Christ-like, kind, happy, and loving parents, children, siblings and friends" in a statement.
Johnson is 5 feet 10 inches tall and weighs 270 pounds and may be driving a 2008 Toyota Corolla with Utah license plate V464MW. Anyone with information is asked to call police at 801-840-4000.