PHOENIX – A paroled convict who terrified a neighborhood and held a woman and her children hostage during a lengthy and violent standoff with Mesa Police will serve an 18-year sentence in the Arizona Department of Corrections. Michael Brandon Huppeler (D.O.B. 4/20/1983) was sentenced today by Judge Karen Mullins after waiving his right to a trial and agreeing to plead guilty to aggravated assault with two prior felonies. At the time of the incident, Huppeler was on parole after serving a prison sentence for auto theft.
“This sentence is far in excess of the presumptive term for the offenses committed by this defendant, which is appropriate given the level of harm he caused to innocent citizens and law enforcement officers,” said Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery. “His term of incarceration will provide ample time for him to ponder the consequences of his actions and plan a fitting retirement from his criminal career.”
On December 11, 2014, Mesa police observed Huppeler riding a bicycle near the 7600 block of East Golf and recognized him as having an outstanding felony warrant. When officers attempted to conduct a traffic stop, Huppeler immediately fled on foot and was observed jumping over a fence into a nearby backyard. After establishing a perimeter around the neighborhood and initiating a search, a woman in a nearby residence discovered Huppeler in her laundry room and began screaming. Huppeler pushed her out of the way, ran through her house and exited the front door. He then jumped the block wall into one neighboring backyard and then another and entered a residence on East Garnett unseen by police and the homeowner.
Police contacted the homeowner and asked permission to search her yard, which she granted. After officers informed her that her yard was clear they instructed her to remain inside and lock her doors. After doing so, the homeowner encountered Huppeler inside the residence. She grabbed her two children and sat on the couch. Huppeler told her he had a warrant and that he would not harm her or her children. He asked her to tell him where the police were and then asked for a glass of water. While he was drinking the water, the homeowner was able to surreptitiously text her boyfriend one letter at a time over a 30-minute period and tell him what was occurring. Her boyfriend then called 9-1-1.
After receiving information about Huppeler’s location, Mesa SWAT officers forced entry into the residence. Huppeler fled through a side door and was met by multiple officers who ordered him to surrender. Huppeler disregarded their commands and a violent struggle ensued in which Huppeler was struck with a Taser and multiple bean bag rounds only to continue fighting with the officers. At one point he nearly grabbed an officer’s weapon. Eventually several officers were able to subdue him and take him into custody. It was later determined that Huppeler was under the influence of methamphetamine and opiates.
Huppeler has prior convictions for escape, resisting arrest, burglary and aggravated assault.