Ex-roommate of “The Zombie Hunter” testifies in murder trial of concerning items kept at home
PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -- After a weeks-long break, The Zombie Hunter trial picked back up again in court Thursday with some pretty damning testimony. Bryan Patrick Miller, who became known in the Phoenix community as “The Zombie Hunter,” a character he dressed up as at events, is the accused killer in the “Canal Murders” of Angela Brosso and Melanie Bernas in the 90s.
It was the first time we’ve heard from a close friend of Miller named Ron McGlade, his roommate at the time Melanie Bernas was killed. We learned what alarming items this friend noticed Miller had at home, and the moment he looked at the newspaper and realized something in the Bernas murder case was something he had seen before.
The state quickly zeroed in on one topic in particular: large knives. Prosecutor: “Do you recall at that time seeing him in possession of any knives?” McGlade: “Occasionally, yes.”
McGlade specifically remembered Miller with two knives, but McGlade said one of them was his own chef’s knife. Prosecutor: “Did it ever go missing?” McGlade: “Yes.” McGlade said Miller admitted to taking it, but the defense attorney made a point to say that knife was back at their house before Bernas was stabbed to death.
McGlade remembered the day he heard about Melanie’s murder along the Arizona Canal, an area where he and Miller would often ride their bikes together. He even brought it up to Miller.
McGlade: “I was kind of, more like joking, saying ‘Weren’t you out there that night? The night that happened?’ And his response was he was riding on the east side of town that night.” Prosecutor: “His bike?” McGlade: “Yes.”
But days later, McGlade was reading an article about Melanie’s murder in the local paper, and something caught his attention.
McGlade: “It was a turquoise body suit.”Prosecutor: “Why does it look familiar to you?” McGlade: “I had seen it earlier amongst his possessions.”
One of the bodysuits was brought back up later in the day by DNA lab criminalist David Duplissa, who cut a piece of fabric from it for testing. “I did cut an area that was surrounding a reddish-brown stain in the middle of the crotch,” Duplissa said.
Duplissa told the court the sperm DNA found on a vaginal swab from Bernas matched the unknown sperm DNA profile from semen on Angela Brosso’s clothing, and that’s how they made the connection that the same person likely murdered both.
With both girls stabbed to death along the canal, the state very clearly wanted to leave an impact on the judge that McGlade saw many concerning things Miller was keeping inside their home.
Prosecutor: “Did you ever find knives?” McGlade: “Yes.”
Prosecutor: “Mace?” McGlade: “Yes.”
Prosecutor: “Articles of women’s clothing?” McGlade: “Yes.”
While the state did most of the questioning Thursday, the defense did ask McGlade if he ever saw Miller aggressive or physical or controversial. McGlade said no and told the attorneys Miller was fearful of knives because his mom threatened him with knives when he was young.
McGlade said the two of them would watch a lot of movies together, but he said he found a list of movie titles in Miller’s bag and noticed they were all in the genre of slasher movies, which McGlade found odd since they didn’t watch those types of movies.
We know years later, Miller became his own fantastical character called “The Zombie Hunter” that involved a giant gun and costume, with a police car with blood dripping down the side, so now we know he may have been thinking about this stuff decades before he brought that character to life.
This trial is nowhere near over; the attorneys confirmed Thursday this will be going into December. True Crime Arizona host Briana Whitney and Chief Investigative reporter Morgan Loew are unraveling it all week by week on the ‘True Crime Arizona’ podcast.
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