Detective details plan to get DNA from Phoenix Canal Murders suspect during trial

Detective Clark Schwartzkopf met with Bryan Patrick Miller at a Chili's, and took his silverware and glass to be analyzed.
Published: Oct. 10, 2022 at 5:57 PM MST
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PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) - It was a plan hatched in the parking lot of an Amazon warehouse in the West Valley. Detective Clark Schwartzkopf had been surveilling a person of interest in a decades-old murder case for three days, watching for him to discard a soda can or something that would contain DNA.

Unfortunately, the person of interest, a man named Bryan Patrick Miller, had not discarded anything useful. “So, I approached Mr. Miller in the parking lot and talked to him,” said Schwartzkopf in court Monday, nearly eight years since that meeting. The detective was working on the cold case murders of 22-year-old Angela Brosso and 17-year-old Melanie Bernas.

The two had been murdered in 1992 and 1993 while riding bikes near the Arizona Canal. The killer had sexually assaulted both victims, and police had DNA from the rape kits. Until 2014 however, investigators had no idea whom exactly the DNA belonged to. A researcher in California used genetic genealogy to match the DNA from the Canal Murders to a family name: Miller. It just so happened that Bryan Patrick Miller was on a list of persons of interest in the Canal Murders.

Here’s how Schwartzkopf described his plan to get Miller’s DNA in court on Monday:

That talk led to a meeting at a Chili’s, where Phoenix police had arranged for a table with sanitized silverware and glasses. Schwartzkopf met with Miller and his daughter. The three talked about Miller’s “Zombie Mobile” and the security job. After the meal, detectives retrieved Miller’s silverware and glass, and less than two weeks later, Miller was in custody and charged with the murders of Brosso and Bernas.