WEST JORDAN — A primary suspect was named Monday in the shooting deaths of a West Jordan couple.
Police announced Monday afternoon they are looking for Albert Enoch Johnson, 31, of West Jordan, in connection with the killing of Tony Butterfield, 31, and Katherine Butterfield, 30.
Hours later, Johnson’s wife was arrested for allegedly helping her husband escape, according to a police affidavit.
Sina Johnson, 29, was arrested for investigation of obstruction of justice and tampering with evidence. According to the affidavit, Johnson “had information” regarding the Butterfields’ deaths, but “continued to falsify her knowledge of what occurred” in an interview with police.
“(She) withheld the whereabouts of the homicide suspect and falsified her recounts of what occurred and her involvement. It is known that (she) has had contact with the homicide suspect on multiple occasions prior to, and after the homicide,” the affidavit states.
Johnson also allegedly “disposed of items of evidentiary value regarding the homicide,” according to the affidavit, though the report does not say what. Police further noted in the affidavit that Johnson “made statements that she plans to buy a plane ticket to Arizona and would not specify where in Arizona she would go. The alleged party has already aided the homicide suspect in fleeing and (police believe she) will continue to aid the homicide suspect if released.”
Police said Monday they do not believe the killings were random.
“Mr. Johnson was known to the Butterfields. This was not a random act. We do believe it was a targeted act of violence and an isolated act,” said West Jordan Police Sgt. J.C. Holt.
But police did not reveal on Monday how the Butterfields knew Johnson or a possible motive for the crime. Holt, however, reiterated that the Butterfields were not involved in any criminal activity such as drugs or gangs.
“We do believe the Butterfields were absolute true victims,” Holt said. “They did not have any role in this. We don't believe there was any criminal activity going on on their part or anything like that. Just a terrible situation. Horrific.”
The bodies of the Butterfields were found early Saturday at their home, 3277 W. 6920 South. A neighbor called police after hearing gunshots and a woman screaming about 1:15 a.m., according to police. Tony Butterfield’s body was found in the backyard and his wife’s just inside the doorway. Police have not said if each person was shot more than once.
The Butterfields’ three children, all under the age of 4, were also home at the time. They were not injured. It was not known if the children saw or heard anything that morning.
Investigators believe Albert Johnson forced his way into the Butterfields’ house and a confrontation ensued.
“We do believe this was a home invasion,” Holt said. “He was not a welcome guest there.”
He was armed with a gun and the Butterfields tried to defend themselves with a knife from the house, Holt said. As of Monday, police had not found the gun.
Holt said based on the evidence collected at the scene, detectives believe Johnson was “stabbed or cut” during the altercation, on either his arms or legs. His injuries are likely significant enough that they should still be noticeable, Holt said. Some of that evidence also helped police name Johnson as a suspect.
“A lot of it had to do with the injuries that he had. We found immediately on scene clues that he had been injured as well. We have different physical evidence, items related to that,” Holt said while adding he could not go into specifics about the evidence collected.
Police also noted that Johnson seems to be 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,” Holt said.
There were also “signs the house was gone through,” he said. But investigators were unsure Monday if anything was missing from the house.
Holt said Johnson has a criminal record, possibly in California. A check of Utah court records shows he has not been charged here.
Johnson is 5 feet 10 inches tall and weighs 270 pounds. He was last seen driving a dark gray 2008 Toyota Corolla with Utah license plate V46-4MW.
Holt said the investigation has been hard on police as well as the Butterfield family because of its tragic nature and young children involved.
Family members of the couple described them as “incredible Christ-like, kind, happy and loving parents, children, siblings and friends.” The Butterfields were active members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Anyone with information on Johnson is asked to call police at 801-840-4000.