Home invasion suspect says he re-entered home to find his car keys, murdered couple

National / World

WEST JORDAN, Utah (KTVX) – A Utah man confessed to murdering a husband and wife after re-entering the home following a home invasion last month, according to KTVX.

Albert Johnson has been extradited back to Utah and his charging documents detail his chilling confession. According to documents, Johnson confessed to killing Tony and Katherine Butterfield because he lost his car keys during the home invasion.

Of all the tragic details of the botched home invasion robbery contained in those documents, one stands out as the most heartbreaking: Tony and Katherine Butterfield lost their lives and their three young children lost their parents because Albert Johnson lost his car keys.

(KTVX)

Prosecutors say Johnson was armed with a handgun and wearing a mask when he kicked in the family’s back door. According to officials, Johnson knew the family because he once tried to get a job with the Butterfield’s landscaping company.

Surveillance video shows Johnson entering the home and forcing the couple out of their bed, according to documents released on Wednesday.

In the video, Johnson can be heard demanding money from the couple.

Johnson told investigators he took $20 and two cell phones. He apparently threw the phones into a neighbor’s yard after leaving the home.

After leaving the home, Johnson removed his mask and realized he did not have his car keys.

“He returned to the house and Tony was standing inside the door,” Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill said at a news conference Wednesday. “Tony saw Johnson without his mask on and addressed Johnson by name, by his first name and asked him “Why?”  Tony then started stabbing Johnson to prevent him from coming back into the house. Johnson said it was so painful that he shot Tony. Katherine began screaming and Johnson thought he saw a neighbor nearby so Johnson shot Katherine.”

The Medical Examiner determined Tony’s cause of death was “a single contact gunshot wound to the head” and Katherine died of “a single gunshot wound to the torso.”

Gill’s voiced quivered with emotion when he spoke of the Butterfields’ kids who slept upstairs during the murders.

“Three children were also located inside the residence aged 6 months, 2 years and 4 years,” Gill said.  

Johnson told investigators he threw the murder weapon into the Sacramento River on his way to Stockton, California where he was later arrested after a struggle with U.S. Marshals. If convicted, he could face the death penalty.

“An aggravated murder case carries the potential of death penalty,” Gill said. “We will make those decisions and address those in the proper course of our prosecution as this moves forward.”

Johnson now sits in the Salt Lake County jail facing 10 total charges including two counts each of aggravated murder, aggravated kidnapping and aggravated robbery. His first court appearance is scheduled for Friday morning at 8 a.m.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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