Defense claims Zombie Hunter suffered from split personality

Judge to decide if Bryan Miller was insane
In closing arguments in the Zombie Hunter trial, a defense attorney said that Bryan Miller had two personalities due to severe abuse.
Published: Apr. 5, 2023 at 9:22 PM MST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) - Three decades after the murders of Angela Brosso and Melanie Bernas shook Phoenix, and six months after the long-awaited trial finally began, the case is headed for the trier of fact. In this case, that is not a jury. Instead, it is Judge Suzanne Cohen, a former prosecutor, who convicted another high-profile serial killer a decade ago.

On Thursday, prosecutors are expected to make their final rebuttal. Their argument has been consistent throughout the trial. It is that Bryan Patrick Miller was a predator who planned the murders and committed them for one basic reason: because he wanted to. “What we have is a man who wants to be violent with women, who wants to mutilate them, who wants to have sex with them, who did this,” said Elizabeth Reamer on Wednesday, during closing arguments. Reamer is one of three prosecutors assigned to the case.

The prosecution team argued that detectives found ample evidence of premeditation, that Miller sexually assaulted the victims either after they were dead or while they lay dying and made attempts to cover up evidence of the crime. “This isn’t about mental health. This isn’t about insanity. Instead, it’s about a man who made choices to go on canals with knives and wait for an opportunity,” said Reamer.

The defense team took months to paint a picture of Miller as a shy, mentally ill young man whose personality split into two due to severe abuse from his mother. “When I tell you that the Bryan sitting here in the courtroom is not the Bryan who committed these offenses, you know what we’re talking about,” said RJ Parker, the lead defense attorney. “Bryan had disruptions that are so severe, they fractured his consciousness. They split him into two, he has two self-states. One for managing the stuff we don’t want to deal with and one for living his life.”

Parker referred to the two states of mind as normal and trauma states. He argued that the trauma state could have planned the murders without Miller’s normal state even knowing. Defense attorneys are asking Judge Cohen to find Miller not guilty by reason of insanity. Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty.