‘Zombie Hunter’ described as intelligent, controlling

Leslie Dana-Kirby, a clinical and forensic psychologist appointed by the court, testified that she disagreed with Bryan Patrick Miller's team's assessment.
Published: Feb. 27, 2023 at 8:40 PM MST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) - A court-appointed forensic psychologist testified that she believes Bryan Patrick Miller was legally sane at the time of the Phoenix Canal Murders. That contradicts the conclusion of the main defense psychologist, who testified for weeks in January and February.

Miller drove around Phoenix in an old police cruiser with a Zombie in the back seat before he was arrested. The phrase “Zombie Hunter” was written on the trunk. Police linked him to the two murders known as the Phoenix Canal Killings through DNA in 2015. Angela Brosso was knocked off of her bicycle, stabbed, and decapitated in 1992. The following year, Melanie Bernas was also riding a bicycle when she was stabbed and killed. The murders became known as the Canal Killings.

Miller’s defense team focused most on arguing that Miller suffered from multiple mental illnesses and should be deemed not guilty by reason of insanity. On Monday, Leslie Dana-Kirby, a clinical and forensic psychologist appointed by the court, testified that she disagreed with the defense team’s assessment. “It was my opinion that the defendant was legally sane at the time of the alleged offenses,” said Dana-Kirby, who testified on behalf of the prosecution.

Dana-Kirby testified that she reviewed interviews Miller’s friends gave to police and other psychologists. She also interviewed Miller herself. She testified that Miller’s friends believed him to be intelligent and temperamental. One of Miller’s former girlfriends referred to him as controlling.

Dana-Kirby revealed the extent of Miller’s run-ins with police when he was a juvenile, including arrests for arson, criminal damage, shoplifting, and being recommended to a juvenile sex offender program when he was 16.

Prosecutors also brought up a letter Miller is said to have written when he was 18. It appeared to be a plan to abduct and murder a teenage girl. “That’s the document that’s entitled, ‘The Plan.’ And it’s extremely graphic and very violent. And it was not just kidnap, but kidnap, rape, torture, terrify, kill, eat and save some body parts,” said Dana-Kirby.

Prosecutors have argued that the letter was evidence that Miller had planned what eventually became the Canal Killings two years before he actually carried out the murders. The Defense team has referred to the letter as fiction or fantasy.