Man convicted of killing 2 young cyclists by Phoenix canal


PHOENIX (AP) – A Phoenix man accused of sexually attacking and fatally stabbing a teen and a 22-year-old woman in separate killings 30 years ago, one of whom was decapitated, was convicted Tuesday of all charges including murder.

Bryan Patrick Miller waived his right to a jury trial, so Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Suzanne Cohen decided his fate.

The Maricopa County Attorney’s Office said Tuesday in a statement that the court would now move into the aggravation phase of the trial, in which prosecutors are seeking the death penalty. Judge Cohen will also rule on his sentencing at a later date.

“After more than two decades of anguish, the families of these women now have someone held accountable for their heinous murders,” County Attorney Rachel Mitchell said.

Amanda Martin, an attorney supervisor in the capital unit of the Maricopa County Office of the Public Defender, said defense attorneys accepted the verdict and were now focused on keeping Miller off death row.

“We look forward to providing the Court with all information we believe supports a life sentence,” Martin said in a statement. “The loss of another life as a part of this process is unnecessary for justice to be served.”

Miller, 50, faced two counts each of first-degree murder, kidnapping and attempted sexual assault. He never testified during the trial, which began in October, and initially used an insanity defense.

He was accused of killing Angela Brosso in November 1992 on the eve of her 22nd birthday and 17-year-old Melanie Bernas in September 1993.

Both disappeared while riding their bicycles along the Arizona Canal in north Phoenix, according to authorities.

Police believe the killer knocked Brosso off her bicycle, stabbed her and dragged her off the trail. Her naked body was found decapitated near a bike trail.

Ten months later Bernas’ body was discovered floating in the canal. Police said she was not decapitated. Her bicycle was missing.

Authorities said DNA evidence showed the attacks were linked to the same suspect.

In 2014 a genealogist who uses ancestry databases in her research was given access to the DNA gathered in the investigations and eventually came up with the last name Miller. Bryan Miller had been on the police department’s list of investigative leads in the case, according to court records. He was arrested for the killings 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.


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