Update: West Jordan police name person of interest in shooting death of couple inside their home

West Jordan Sgt. J.C. Holt at a Monday news conference (left) and person of interest Albert Enoch Johnson (right). Photos Courtesy: West Jordan police

WEST JORDAN, Utah, April 20, 2020 (Gephardt Daily) — West Jordan police have named a person of interest in the murder of a married couple who were shot to death early Saturday in a struggle inside their home.

The victims have been identified as Kathy Butterfield, 30, and Anthony “Tony” Butterfield, 31. Their three small children were not injured in the attack.

West Jordan Sgt. J.C. Holt said at a Monday 4 p.m. news conference that police are searching for 31-year-old 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.”

The children are now in the care of family members, who “are fully cooperative and obviously upset, to get that phone call to come get the kids,” Holt said.

Family statement

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 Monday at 4:30 p.m., that account had raised $168,856.

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.



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