Man sentenced to death for Phoenix canal killings in 1990s

PHOENIX — A man who was convicted of murdering a woman and a young girl in the 1990s in Phoenix, Arizona, was sentenced Wednesday.

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Bryan Patrick Miller was convicted in April of murdering Angela Brosso in 1992 and Melanie Bernas in 1993, according to KTVK. Brosso was killed the day before her 22nd birthday and Bernas was 17 years old when she was murdered. Investigators found that both Brosso and Bernas had been cut with a knife and had signs of sexual assault.

Miller who referred to himself as the “zombie hunter,” was given the death sentence Wednesday afternoon by Judge Suzanne Cohen, the news outlet reported.

Both Brosso and Bernas disappeared when they were riding their bicycles by the Arizona Canal, authorities said, according to KSAZ.

Investigators believe that Miller knocked Brosso off her bicycle, stabbed her, and then dragged her off the trail, KNXV reported. Brosso’s body was located near a bicycle trail. Near ten months later, Bernas’ body was found floating in the canal and her bicycle appeared to be missing.

DNA evidence that was collected at both crime scenes were linked to Miller and he was arrested in Jan. 2015, the news outlet reported. He denied any involvement but reportedly admitted to living in the areas at the time.

Miller was not found mentally competent to stand trial for a few years, KNXV reported.

Miller’s trial did not begin until Oct. 2022 and his defense tried to argue that he was not guilty by reason of insanity, according to KPNX. His defense tried to argue that he didn’t remember the attacks. They also tried to say he was abused as a child and because of that, he developed a complex dissociative disorder.

Miller ended up waiving his right to a trial so his case was heard by a judge, according to the news outlet. The judge found him guilty of both murder charges and other charges including kidnapping and attempted sexual assault.

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