Friends Recount Devastation at Learning Utah Couple Was Killed with Kids Upstairs: ‘Great People’

by San Eli News

Friends of the Utah couple who were killed in their home as their children slept upstairs are coming to terms with their loved ones’ sudden deaths.

“I thought he was playing some sort of a joke or something. I didn’t believe him,” longtime friend Travis Osborne told Fox13 of the phone call he received from his brother in the middle of the night.

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Katherine and Tony Butterfield were fatally shot early Saturday morning as their three children, ages 4 and under, slept in their West Jordan home, according to police. The couple were allegedly targeted by a man they knew who barged into their home with a gun and shot them as they fought for their lives.

“This is the first time I’ve been back to the house since the news,” he said during a visit of Butterfield’s home. “[It’s] pretty rough, pretty rough being here.”

The suspect, Albert Johnson, has since been arrested in California in connection with the couple’s murder. A motive for the slayings has not been released as of Wednesday.

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Osborne met Tony in college 11 years ago and they remained close.

“We’ve been friends for a long time,” Osborne said. “Tony and Katherine were just good, salt of the earth kind of people.”

RELATED: Man Accused of Killing ‘Loving Parents’ in Utah Home While 3 Kids Slept Is Arrested in California

It is unclear if Johnson has been charged or if he has an attorney.

On Monday, his wife, Sina Johnson, 29, was arrested in connection to the case for allegedly hiding evidence and helping her husband allegedly flee. It is unclear if Sina has been charged or if she has an attorney.

Salt Lake County Jail; West Jordan Police Department

Now, as friends and family await justice, they remember the Butterfields and hope to help their three young children.

“Their smiles, their willingness to help out everybody, just great people,” Obsorne said. “[I’m] so sad to see them go.”

A GoFundMe page set up by longtime friend Chelsey Timmerman has raised more than $200,000 of its $225,000 goal.

“Katherine Crane Butterfield grew up directly across the street from me and our families have been friends since before I was born,” Timmerman said in a Facebook post sharing the page. “My heart breaks for the sweet children they have left behind.”