‘Zombie Hunter’ sentenced to death for Phoenix canal murders
PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) — A serial killer who referred to himself as the “Zombie Hunter” has been sentenced to death. Judge Suzanne Cohen handed down the ruling Wednesday afternoon at the Maricopa County Superior Court in downtown Phoenix.
At the end of a six-month bench trial in April, 50-year-old Bryan Patrick Miller was convicted of murdering Angela Brosso on Nov. 8, 1992 while she was out on a bike ride along a Phoenix canal the night before her birthday. Nearly a year later on Sept. 21, 1993, the body of 17-year-old Melanie Bernas was found about 1.5 miles away from where Brosso was murdered.
Investigators found both women had been sliced with a knife and showed signs of sexual assault. The murders remained unsolved for over 20 years until DNA linked Miller to the crimes in 2015. His trial finally got underway last September. Miller waived his right to a jury trial, meaning it was up to the judge alone to convict him and then decide his sentence.
Following his conviction, the sentencing phase of the trial happened last month, where Miller spoke in court for the first time. “I am not looking for sympathy today,” he said on May 22. “This time is for the family and the friends of the victims. I cannot imagine what pain they have endured for all these years.”
On Wednesday, Miller received two death sentences for murder as well as an additional 24 years for two counts of kidnapping and two counts of attempted sexual assault.
“September of this year will mark the 30-year anniversary of the gruesome murder of our beloved little sister, Melanie,” Burnas’ sister, Jill Canetta, said in court. “Words cannot begin to explain the level of excruciating pain we experience every single day since her murder. We live without her smile, her hugs, her companionship. We live without her love.”
“The defendant stole my angel from the Earth. Angela was my one and only. I will never be able to plan her wedding. I will never have grandchildren,” said Linda Brosso, Angela’s mother. “With his actions on that night, he murdered my angel, he ripped my heart, and I will never, ever be the same.”
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