A Texas man is facing capital murder and arson charges after allegedly setting his house on fire Thursday night, killing his brother and gravely injuring his 82-year-old mother, according to El Paso police.
Phillip Daniel Mills, 40, of El Paso, is facing capital murder and arson charges after he allegedly set his house on fire Thursday night and the blaze killed his brother and gravely injured his 82-year-old mother
Phillip Daniel Mills, 40, of El Paso, allegedly admitted to police that he set the fire at his Fandango Place residence to ‘purge the home from evil’ because his brother and mother didn’t follow the Bible.
According to an arrest affidavit, Mills doused his living room sofa in gasoline siphoned from a weed eater before igniting it with a lit cloth, KTSM reports.
Once the sofa caught on fire, he walked outside the house and waited to see if his mother or brother would go outside but they didn’t, the affidavit says.
‘The defendant advised that he waited outside the residence with large rocks in his hands in the event that both his brother and mother had made it out the burning residence’, a detective wrote in the report.
The El Paso fire department said that firefighters arrived at the house around 11.30pm to see Mills’s mother Florence Annette Mills, rushing outside with severe burns.
Fire department rescuers pulled Paul Aaron Mills, 54, from the flames and transported him to a local hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
Florence Annette Mills was also brought to a local hospital and last listed in critical condition.
Mills had an outburst prior to the fire, in which he purposely broke a television in the living room and threatened to burn the house down, the affidavit says.
It adds, ‘The defendant states that he left the residence and allowed his mother to be in a ‘happy place’ throughout the day and waited for both his mother and brother to go to bed, before starting the fire.’
An affidavit says that Mills admitted to police that he set the fire at his Fandango Place residence to ‘purge the home from evil’ because his brother and mother didn’t follow the Bible
Mills allegedly doused his living room sofa in gasoline siphoned from a weed eater before igniting it with a lit cloth
After officers told Mills that his brother died and his mother was injured in the fire, the affidavit says that Mills laughed and called it a ‘failed attempt’ that both family members didn’t perish in the flames.
Roger Torres, a neighbor, told KTSM that Mills was always ‘troublesome’ and was acting erratic earlier that day.
Torres said, ‘He was bad news, all he would do was sit out there and drink and smoke and I noticed he was back to his old routine.’
Torres said that Mills’s family had called the police on him before because of his behavior, adding ‘They called the police department on him cause he stripped naked and he was drinking.’
The El Paso fire department said in a statement that firefighters arrived at the house around 11.30pm to see Mills’s mother Florence Annette Mills, rushing outside with severe burns
Fire department rescuers pulled Paul Aaron Mills, 54, from the flames and transported him to a local hospital, where he was pronounced dead
He saw the house in flames on Thursday around 11pm and said, ‘When we found out only two were transported we thought ‘what happened to the other brother’ there were three [people] so I thought, in my opinion, he had something to do with it.
‘I should have probably took it upon myself to call the police because they could’ve done something, maybe it could’ve been a difference if law enforcement had come out and talked to him.’
According to criminal records, Mills has previous charges brought against him that include criminal trespassing and evading arrest.
An ongoing joint investigation is being conducted by the city’s fire marshals and police department’s crimes against persons unit. Police said that Mills was booked in a downtown El Paso jail on Friday afternoon and his bond is set at $2.5million.