Utah Couple Was Killed While Kids Slept, Allegedly by Suspect Who 'Believed They Had Money'

Albert Johnson, 31, has been charged aggravated murder in the April 18 homicides of Katherine and Tony Butterfield

Tony and Katherine C. Butterfield
Photo: Go Fund Me

The man accused of killing a Utah couple in their home while their children slept upstairs allegedly attacked them because he "believed they had money."

Albert Johnson, 31, has been charged with aggravated murder and aggravated robbery in connection with the homicide deaths of Katherine and Tony Butterfield on April 18. Charging documents state Johnson allegedly admitted to robbing the couple and killing them because he needed money.

“[Johnson] stated he had been worried about his own finances, so he went to the Butterfields' home to 'get money,'" Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill alleged during a press conference. "When he arrived at their home, he covered his face with a mask and kicked in the door."

Gill alleged that when Johnson got inside, he pointed his shotgun at the couple and demanded money from the Butterfields, leaving with only $20 in cash and two cell phones. But when he got to his car and took off his mask, he realized he forgot his keys and went back inside, Gill alleged.

That's when Tony Butterfield began to stab him, Johnson allegedly confessed. Johnson then allegedly shot Tony, and when Katherine began screaming he allegedly shot her too. Johnson allegedly confessed he then grabbed his keys and fled the scene, going back to his home, where he took a shower and changed his clothes.

The couple's children, ages 6 months, 2 and 4 years old, slept asleep upstairs. They were not harmed during the killings.

Johnson's wife, Sani Johnson, who has been charged with tampering with evidence and obstruction of justice, allegedly told police that on the night of the Butterfield's deaths, her husband came home at around 3 or 4 a.m. claiming someone had stabbed him and that his life was over.

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After he left their home, she threw away his bloody clothes and cleaned up blood from the hallway and bathroom, police allege. Investigators later recovered Johnson's discarded clothes.

During her interview with detectives, Sani allegedly said her husband knew the couple because he had attempted to get a job at their family’s landscaping company, West Jordan Police Department Sgt. J.C. Holt tells PEOPLE.

Sina Johnson Albert Enoch Johnson
Sina Johnson and Albert Enoch Johnson. Salt Lake County Jail; West Jordan Police Department

Security camera footage recovered from investigators from inside the home allegedly shows Albert Johnson entering the home, going upstairs to the couple's bedroom and forcing them out of bed as they slept in pajamas.

He allegedly is shown taking them downstairs and can be heard demanding money from the couple, say investigators.

Days after the couple's deaths, Albert Johnson was arrested in California, where he was previously convicted of a violent felony, Gill said.

In addition to murder, Johnson has been charged with aggravated kidnapping, aggravated burglary, obstruction of justice and use of a firearm by a restricted person.

On May 8, Johnson appeared in court via video teleconference and was appointed a public defender, Robin Ljungberg, who declined to comment on behalf of his client.

Attorney information for Sani Johnson was not available Friday.

Neither Sani nor Albert Johnson have entered a pleas.

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