Maricopa County judge finds Phoenix man guilty of first-degree murder in canal cases
Apr 11, 2023, 2:07 PM | Updated: 2:22 pm
(Photo provided by Maricopa County Sheriff's Office)
PHOENIX — A Maricopa County Superior Court judge on Tuesday found Bryan Patrick Miller guilty of murdering two young women in separate killings 30 years ago near a metro Phoenix canal system.
Miller was charged with first-degree murder in the killing Angela Brosso in November 1992 on the eve of her 22nd birthday and 17-year-old Melanie Bernas in September 1993.
Prosecutors had previously said they would seek the death penalty for Miller if he was convicted.
Judge Suzanne Cohen also found Miller guilty on two counts of kidnapping and two counts of attempted sexual assault.
Brosso and Bernas both disappeared while riding their bicycles along the Arizona Canal in north Phoenix, according to authorities.
Police believe Miller knocked Brasso off her bicycle, stabbed her and dragged her off the trail. Her naked body was found decapitated near a bike trail.
Ten months later, police said Bernas’ body was discovered floating in the canal. Bernas was not decapitated, but her bicycle was missing.
Authorities said DNA evidence collected in the aftermath of both crimes showed the attacks were linked to the same suspect, and Miller was arrested for the murders in January 2015.
According to police, Miller denied any involvement although he acknowledged living in the vicinity of the killings at the time and said he rode his bike on paths in the area.
It took years before Miller was found mentally competent to stand trial.
He waived his right to a jury trial, leading to the Maricopa County Superior Court judge deciding Miller’s fate.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.