Arizona man convicted of killing 2, burying bodies loses appeal

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PHOENIX — The Arizona Supreme Court has upheld the murder convictions and death sentence of a Phoenix man in the killings of two people whose bodies were later found buried in his mother’s backyard.

The court concluded Wednesday that jurors didn’t abuse their discretion by sentencing Alan Champagne to death in one of the two 2011 killings for which he was convicted.

Authorities say Champagne fatally shot Philmon Tapaha at his apartment, choked to death Brandi Nicole Hoffner, put their bodies in a box and buried it at his mother’s home.

The big break came when a landscaper doing remodeling work at the home after his mother’s eviction had discovered the buried box.

Champagne was sentenced to death in the killing of Hoffner and convicted of second-degree murder in Tapaha’s death.