A look at the evidence from the 'Canal Killer' trial as Bryan Patrick Miller is on death row

Convicted serial murderer Bryan Patrick Miller is now on death row, sentenced to death for the brutal killings of two young women in the 1990s.

Now, we're getting a look at the evidence from items collected at the scenes 30 years ago to journals authored by Miller 40 years ago. We also hear from those who knew Miller as a teen.

We want to warn you – some of the images are disturbing and graphic.

‘I can’t remember everything I did back then’

"What I’m telling you is your DNA is linked to both of these women who were killed," Miller was told in the interrogation room previously.

He sat in silence after being accused of murder for the first time. He repeatedly denied the charges during his 2015 police interrogation.

"How can you explain to me that your DNA is there?" an investigator asked Miller.

He responds, "I can’t. I can’t remember everything I did back then, but I know I didn’t kill anyone."

The evidence said otherwise.

In November 1992, Angela Brosso’s decapitated and nude body was discovered by a passing bicyclist along the Arizona Canal. Her head was found 11 days later in the water.

The post-mortem report showed she had been sexually assaulted.

In September 1993, Melanie Bernas’ body was found in the canal less than two miles away from where Angela was killed. Melanie’s body was mutilated and carved and she was sexually assaulted as she was dying.

DNA collected from both women linked them to the same killer.

Incriminating evidence & trauma-based disorders

After more than two decades, police finally identified a match to the DNA evidence.

"It’s your time to tell me what happened," the investigator told Miller.

"I don’t know what happened," Miller said.

"You have to know what happened. Your semen is there. The only person that does know is you because that’s the only way your semen could be found on these women," the investigator replied.

When Miller finally faced a judge seven years after his arrest, his defense was not guilty by reason of insanity.

"Mr. Miller doesn’t know what happened those two evenings in 1990," Miller's defense attorney said in October 2022. "He suffers from complex dissociative disorders, which are trauma-based disorders."

Miller suffered physical, emotional, and psychological abuse as a child.

His mother, Ellen, was a detention officer with the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office. His father died when he was very young. 

PTSD and sexual sadism are two disorders Miller has been diagnosed with.

Read a blog that captured the trial's details up until Miller's sentencing here.

‘He had a psycho mother’

People from Miller's past spoke about his troubled childhood.

"Bryan was like an unwanted guest in his own home," said Pinky Katayama, Miller’s childhood neighbor. "Ellen told me she was pissed off that her son lived and her husband died."

"He had a psycho mother," said Suzette Hughes, another one of Miller’s childhood neighbors.

"The young man didn’t have a chance to develop his social skills, or any skill basically," said Menno Yoder, a retired Paradise Valley Mennonite Church pastor.

As a teenager, Miller composed what he referred to as "the plan." It details the gruesome actions he would eventually carry out, including kidnapping, stabbing, carving, and sexual acts.

‘There is no question’

"There is no question that what the defendant did deserves the death penalty," Maricopa County Judge Suzanne Cohen said during Miller's sentencing, sealing his fate with two death penalties.

Phoenix Police also suspect Miller killed a third person, 13-year-old Brandy Myers. She went missing in 1992 while going door to door raising money for a school fundraiser in the same Phoenix neighborhood where Miller lived.

Her body has never been found.

For now, Miller is appealing his sentence because, under Arizona law, death penalty sentences are subject to an automatic appeal.