Phoenix canal murders trial continues: Bryan Patrick Miller accused of killing 2 women

A judge has found that Bryan Patrick Miller. who was charged with sexually attacking and fatally stabbing Melanie Bernas and Angela Brosso nearly 30 years ago near a canal system in metro Phoenix, is mentally fit to stand trial.

As the so-called "Canal Killer" is on trial for the deaths of two women in the 90s, several key witnesses and loved ones will be taking the stand in the trial against Bryan Patrick Miller. The trial began on Oct. 3, years after DNA findings linked Miller to the deaths of 22-year-old Angela Brosso in November 1992 and 17-year-old Melanie Bernas in September 1993.

We'll be tracking the trial's latest developments as the judge decides Miller's fate following his choice to waive a trial by jury.

Nov. 14

The trial is scheduled to resume on Monday, November 14.

Nov. 3

The trial is scheduled to resume at around 10:30 a.m.

Oct. 31

Some testimonies today focused on evidence seized during a search conducted in 2015, when Miller was arrested.

During court, a Phoenix Police digital forensics scientist testified, as did a Phoenix crime lab serologist on the DNA that was discovered.

Phoenix Police Det. David Hadad, Digital Forensics Scientist, looked at Miller's phone and a laptop they retrieved from his home in a 2015 search warrant.

Oct. 11

Tuesday's focused on the autopsies of both victims, Melanie Bernas and Angela Brosso.

A doctor who examined the autopsies detailed the stab wounds and the damage caused by those wounds, saying both victims had major damage to their aorta, the main artery that carries blood from the heart to the rest of the body.

Oct. 10

The trial picked back up Monday as a pathologist talked about the autopsy results for Melanie Bernas. Detectives also took the stand to testify about surveillance on Miller, obtaining his DNA sample and the search of his home.

The trial continues Tuesday.

Oct. 5

A 17-year-old junior at Arcadia High school in Phoenix who loved sports and riding her bike. Melanie Bernas' mother testified virtually in court on Oct. 5. She says her daughter was not allowed to ride her bike at night.

Elaine Bernas says she was surprised her daughter wasn't home when she returned the night of Sept. 21, 1992.

"I thought she was going to stay home, and I kissed her goodbye and said 'I'll see you in a little while,'" she remembered.

The trial will resume Monday, Oct. 10.

Oct. 4

Day two in the double murder trial of Bryan Patrick Miller, the man accused of murdering two young women along a Phoenix canal in the 1990s. Today we're hearing from someone who knew one of the victims, Angela Brosso. She was 22 years old when she was murdered and decapitated.

Brosso was killed on the eve of her birthday. We have always called her Angela Brosso, but the person who took the stand this morning, her boyfriend, called her Angie. Joseph Krakowiecki was 24 years old at the time she was murdered in November 1992.

Krakowiecki testified in court today that the two would often ride their mountain bikes along the canal path behind their apartments near 24th Avenue and Cactus in Phoenix. On Sunday night November 8, 1992, Brosso went riding alone while he stayed behind, preparing for her upcoming birthday.

"Yes, I was baking her a cake that night. That's why I didn't go on the bike ride," he said.

Krakowiecki says when Angie didn't return, he began to worry, and finally called the police around 11 p.m.

Brosso's headless body was discovered the following morning in a vacant lot off the bike path. 11 days later, her head was discovered floating in the canal next to the bike path.

The defense had no questions for Krakowiecki.

The Phoenix Police detective who investigated the case also testified today. Detective Mike Meislish testified to details of the graphic murder scene. Prosecutors also had exhibits, such as the clothing Brosso was wearing when she was murdered.

Defense attorneys have said they will show that defendant Bryan Miller is not guilty by reason of insanity. They say Miller suffers from Autism spectrum disorder and complex dissociative disorders. 

The prosecution meanwhile, says the murders of Angela Brosso and Melanie Bernas were planned and calculated.

The trial will resume tomorrow morning.

Oct. 3

A bench trial is scheduled to begin Monday for a man accused of sexually attacking and fatally stabbing two young women in separate killings nearly 30 years ago near a metro Phoenix canal system.

Bryan Patrick Miller, 49, is charged with two counts each of first-degree murder, kidnapping and attempted sexual assault.

Prosecutors said the state is seeking the death penalty if Miller is convicted.

He waived his right to a jury trial so a Maricopa County Superior Court judge will decide Miller’s fate.

Miller is accused of killing 22-year-old Angela Brosso in November 1992 and 17-year-old Melanie Bernas in September 1993.

Brosso and Bernas both disappeared while riding their bicycles along the Arizona Canal in north Phoenix.

Authorities said Brosso’s body was found nude and decapitated in a field near a bike path that’s adjacent to the canal.

Ten months later, Bernas’ body was discovered floating in the canal.

Authorities said DNA evidence collected in the aftermath of both crimes showed the attacks were linked to the same suspect.

Miller was arrested for the murders in 2015, but denied any involvement, although he acknowledged living in the vicinity of the killings at the time and said he rode his bike on paths in the area, according to Phoenix police.

It wasn't until nine months ago that Miller was found mentally fit to go on trial.

More on the Bryan Patrick Miller case:

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Bryan Patrick Miller_Angela Brosso_Melanie Bernas

A judge has found that Bryan Patrick Miller. who was charged with sexually attacking and fatally stabbing Melanie Bernas and Angela Brosso nearly 30 years ago near a canal system in metro Phoenix, is mentally fit to stand trial.