Alan Champagne, bodies in Phoenix backyard: $1 million bond set for suspect in double homicide

PHOENIX - A $1 million bond was set Thursday for an ex-convict accused in a double-homicide case after human remains were found at his mother's former home in Phoenix.

Alan Matthew Champagne, 42, was arraigned after being rebooked into jail Wednesday on suspicion of two counts of first-degree murder and two counts of concealment of dead bodies.

Champagne was already in custody on unrelated criminal trespassing and aggravated assault charges , authorities said.

Phoenix police were called Tuesday after landscapers doing work for the home's new owners discovered the mummified and decomposing bodies of a man and a woman inside a wooden box buried in the backyard.

On Thursday afternoon, police identified the bodies as 32-year-old (at time of death) Philmon Tapaha and 26-year-old (at time of death) Brandi Nicole Hoffner.

Authorities believe the two were killed in a north Phoenix apartment sometime in summer 2011 after some kind of altercation with Champagne.

Police processed the apartment as a homicide scene in October 2011 and said they recovered biological evidence through forensic means.

"We believe the bodies were transported and then buried in the backyard of the mother's home," said Sgt. Tommy Thompson, a police spokesman.

In March 2012, police were trying to follow up on an unrelated case involving Champagne and he barricaded himself in at his mother's house. Police allege that Champagne fired numerous shots at officers before he was arrested.

Champagne was interviewed Wednesday by police about the double-homicide case but wouldn't talk about it, Thompson said.

He didn't have a lawyer as of Thursday. Champagne has a status conference and preliminary hearing scheduled next week.

The remains have been taken to the Maricopa County Medical Examiner's Office for autopsies, Thompson said.

Records show Champagne was given a 14-year prison term in 1991 for second-degree murder. He was released in 2005.