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Slain West Jordan couple remembered as giving, ‘goofy’ in uplifting funeral service

Kathy Butterfield walks between the caskets of her son, Tony Butterfield, and daughter-in-law, Katherine Butterfield, after the families gathered in the Herriman City Cemetery for graveside services on Saturday, April 25, 2020. The couple was shot and killed at their home in West Jordan on Saturday, April 18, 2020. Albert Enoch Johnson was arrested the following Wednesday in Stockton, California, in connection to the Butterfields’ shooting deaths.
Kathy Butterfield walks between the caskets of her son, Tony Butterfield, and daughter-in-law, Katherine Butterfield, after the families gathered in the Herriman City Cemetery for graveside services on Saturday, April 25, 2020. The couple was shot and killed at their home in West Jordan on Saturday, April 18, 2020. Albert Enoch Johnson was arrested the following Wednesday in Stockton, California, in connection to the Butterfields’ shooting deaths.
Scott G Winterton, Deseret News

HERRIMAN — Just three weeks ago, Katherine Butterfield mentioned in her journal that her husband and three kids celebrated her birthday with a “mini dance party” in their living room.

“It has been one of my most favorite birthdays ever,” she wrote in an entry read by her sister during her and her husband’s funeral service.

That was just one glimpse into the life of a fun-loving and hardworking couple given by family members Saturday. While only a small group of family members were able to attend due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the slain West Jordan couple’s service was streamed online.

The Butterfields didn’t let bumps in the road discourage them, according to family members.

In his landscaping business, Tony Butterfield “was reliable, a great communicator, and the job got done faster than estimated,” said Aaron Crane, Katherine’s brother.

“Tony helped many people with employment and often joked with family members that we should quit our jobs and work for him. I had the privilege of working alongside Tony, and though problems would arise, I never once saw him complain or raise his voice. He was a well-balanced man,” Crane said.

Tony Butterfield earned the nickname “T-money” due to his hard work and ability to save money to take care of his family, said Emily Hurst, Katherine’s sister.

Tony and Katherine Butterfield
Tony and Katherine Butterfield
West Jordan Police Department

“Tony worked hard for his family and had already taught his children the value of working,” Hurst recalled. “He never spoiled the kids and never had to. They knew how much their daddy loved them, because he was always there for a hug and a kiss, or to be goofy with them.”

The Butterfields were shot and killed April 18 in their home by an intruder after an apparent struggle during which the suspect was cut or stabbed. Police Wednesday arrested Albert Enoch Johnson, 31, in California, and accused him of the killings. He has not yet been formally charged. His wife, Sina Anne Johnson, 29, was charged with obstruction of justice.

Sina Johnson told police her husband “was familiar” with the Butterfields because he “had attempted to obtain a job with their company at one point,” according to charging documents, but a motive has not been released.

During the service, family members promised to take care of the couple’s three children, age 4 and younger, and make sure they always remember how much their parents love them.

The couple put their children first, family members said. They planned to not go on any vacations for five years in order to save for their retirement. They wanted to be able to dedicate their time to their children, and to fulfill their dream of buying a home away from the city.

“Tony and Katherine were dedicated and loving parents who strove to teach their children to be like Jesus by being kind, caring and polite. In their home, they experienced creativity, hard work, along with a lot of cuddling and demonstrations of love,” Cameron Crane, Katherine Butterfield’s brother, told reporters after the funeral.

“Katherine was a tough girl” and gave birth to the couple’s three children without medication. When her youngest was born, she had “little assistance,” said Annelisa Sohm, Katherine Butterfield’s sister.

“She was brave and determined to feel it all during the birth of her babies. ... Having a new baby didn’t slow Katherine down at all. She was up and at it almost immediately,” Sohm said.

While driven and focused, the couple also loved being “goofy” and making others laugh, family members said. They would invite new people to their game nights in order to get to know them, making friends quickly and easily.

Katherine Butterfield enjoyed writing heartfelt letters to family members and friends, and writing lists of things she loved. She also kept notes of humorous things family members said, and made them laugh when she shared them.

Saturday’s celebration of lives spent in love, service and laughter served as a stark contrast to the way they were taken.

The Butterfields were members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Members of the couple’s church congregation recalled the impact they had on the ward.

“The girls in the ward loved Katherine. They enjoyed her spirit, they enjoyed her, they felt her love as she worked with them. Tony served as a young men’s president, and had a great impact on the young men that he served with, and they loved him,” Bishop Craig Christensen recalled.

After the funeral, an intimate graveside service took place at the Herriman Cemetery with family members gathering holding colorful balloons. Two caskets were placed at the gravesite, one pink and the other blue. As the couple was laid to rest, family members released the balloons as they said one last “I love you” to the couple.