Utah man sentenced in murder of West Jordan parents

Oct 1, 2020, 7:46 PM | Updated: 9:48 pm
West Jordan murder...
West Jordan police have identified a "person of interest" in a weekend fatal shooting. 31 year old Albert Enoch Johnson knew the couple found dead in their home. Photo credit: West Jordan police dept.

WEST JORDAN, Utah — A man who pleaded guilty in the murder of a West Jordan couple will serve life in prison for the crime.

After tearful testimonies, 3rd District Judge James Blanch sentenced Albert Enoch Johnson, 31, to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Johnson pleaded guilty to two counts of aggravated murder in the deaths of Katherine Butterfield, 30, and Tony Butterfield, 31. In exchange for the plea, the court removed the death penalty as a sentencing option.

This deal was approved by the Butterfield family in addition to Salt Lake County Deputy District Attorney Anna Rossi. 

Rossi said Johnson reportedly forced the couple from their bed at gunpoint early on April 18 and demanded money. He eventually left with just $20 and their cellphones. 

According to the prosecutor, Johnson, 31, then returned because he left his car keys in the couple’s home only to find them wielding knives in self-defense. Tony Butterfield stabbed Johnson in the arm before Johnson shot the man in the head. 

Then, Johnson shot Katherine Butterfield in the torso because he was afraid the neighbors would hear her screaming, Rossi asserted. 

“That night, they experienced what is every parent’s — every person’s, to be honest — worst nightmare,” Rossi said. “They were the mom and the dad to three little kids who now have to grow up knowing that their parents died doing absolutely everything they could to protect them in that house that night.”

In the courtroom, Johnson apologized for his actions that night.

“I’m sorry. I’m so sorry,” he said, while Emily Hurst, a family member, described the loss as immeasurable.

Johnson later turned to the courtroom and revealed he is reading The Book of Mormon in hopes of finding closure after the West Jordan murder. 

In addition to the aggravated murder charges, Johnson also pleaded guilty to an unrelated charge of aggravated robbery tied to an incident at a 7-Eleven in September 2019.

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Utah man sentenced in murder of West Jordan parents