Man's trial in killings along Arizona canal delayed due to pandemic

Bryan Miller

The murder trial of a 48-year-old Phoenix man arrested five years ago in the separate killings of a woman and a girl along the same canal in the early 1990s has been postponed again, this time because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Aug. 23 had been the latest of more than a half-dozen dates for Bryan Miller's trial to start in Maricopa County Superior Court. But Judge Patricia Ann Starr on Monday reset it for Feb. 23.

Miller sought the latest delay, which prosecutors opposed.

Starr granted the request, saying “the current public health situation" means lawyers can't conduct in-person interviews with witnesses, travel of some witnesses may be restricted and that it is uncertain when the court will resume starting jury trials, especially lengthy ones involving death-penalty cases.

Miller's case stems from the 1992 killing of 22-year-old Angela Brosso and the 1993 killing of 17-year-old Melanie Bernas.

Their remains were found in or near the Arizona Canal. Both had disappeared while bicycling in the area.

After Miller was arrested in 2015, police said DNA evidence linked him to the killings.

Miller has pleaded not guilty. He faces two counts each of first-degree premeditated murder and of kidnapping resulting in death and one count each of sexual assault and attempt to commit sexual assault.

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