Mesa man accused of planning murder-suicide 'copycat' crime

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Carlos Hillan By Jennifer Thomas Carlos Hillan By Jennifer Thomas

MESA, Ariz. – Mesa police have arrested a man they say planned a copycat domestic violence homicide similar to one in Phoenix earlier this week.

Mesa police spokesman Detective Steve Berry said Carlos Hillan, 34, was planning to kill his estranged wife and her boyfriend.

Hillan reportedly had arranged to meet them at the woman's home to drop off the couple's daughter on Wednesday. Instead he left the child with friends, who became concerned when they saw a machete, ropes, zip ties and a gallon of gasoline inside his car, according to Berry.

The friends called police.

Hillan was taken into custody at his estranged wife's house waiting for her to arrive home from work. Berry said Hillan jumped the back wall of her house with a gas can and a lighter.

"He admitted that he fully intended to kill his ex-wife, her boyfriend and himself," Berry said.

Berry said Hillan indicated that he was going to chop them up and set them on fire.

A scenario that Mesa police likened to a murder-suicide in Phoenix on Tuesday.

Phoenix police said Michael Sanders killed his wife, their 14-year-old daughter and his brother-in-law before killing himself on Tuesday. Sanders' wife's body was found burning in the backyard of his home near Tatum Boulevard and Thunderbird Road.

"It's eerily similar that this was going to happen two days later with the same type of crime and the same domestic type of situation," Berry said.

Hillan was booked on two counts of attempted first-degree murder, attempted arson and burglary.