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Man Accused Of Killing Couple In Utah Home Invasion Arrested In California After Fight With Police
Tony and Katherine Butterfield were shot to death as they tried to fight off home invaders.
A Utah man accused of killing a young couple during a home invasion over the weekend has been apprehended in California shortly after he was named as the prime suspect.
Tony Butterfield, 31, and Katherine Butterfield, 30, were shot to death in their West Jordan home early Saturday morning as they attempted to fight off an intruder, West Jordan Police spokesman Sgt. J.C. Holt told Oxygen.com on Monday.
But by Wednesday morning, investigators found him.
“Mr. Johnson was taken into custody early this morning in the Sacramento CA area,” the West Jordan police announced. They said they received assistance from allied law enforcement authorities and the US Marshals Service.
Holt told Oxygen.com Wednesday morning that Johnson had some connection to California and investigators found him after his car — a 2008 Toyota Corolla that was mentioned in his wanted posters — turned up in Sacramento.
Johnson has a black eye and swollen face in his mugshot because “he tried to evade and resist arrest and he fought with the officers who were trying to arrest him," Holt told Oxygen.com.
He’s being held without bail on a fugitive from justice arrest warrant, according to online jail records. Holt said he’s facing two counts of aggravated murder at the very minimum, noting Johnson will be extradited back to Utah to face charges.
“This is a very trying time for the Butterfields' loved ones,” police said in a statement Wednesday. “We are hopeful to bring closure to this terrible tragedy and this is a step in that direction.”
It appears that the Butterfields got into a scuffle with Albert Johnson as they were defending their home, Holt told Oxygen.com Monday.
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 at the presser later that day that it appeared that the intruder may have been stabbed in his arms or legs. 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, and he 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 that the Butterfield rummaged through the home but it’s unclear if any belongings were stolen. Holt said at Monday’s presser that Johnson is known to the victims but he didn’t specify how.
Johnson's wife, who was arrested earlier this week, has been accused of aiding his 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.
The victims' family described the couple as "incredible Christ-like, kind, happy, and loving parents, children, siblings and friends" in a statement. The couple's three children — ages 4, 2, and about 6 months old — were sleeping upstairs during the weekend violence, but were not harmed.
Albert Johnson is scheduled to appear in court in Stockton, California on April 24. It’s not clear if he has a lawyer.