'Zombie Hunter' Bryan Miller reveals he was 'beaten' as a child after being arrested for Pheonix canal murders
Warning: This article contains information about sexual assault, child abuse, and murder which could be triggering. Discretion is advised.
PHOENIX, ARIZONA: In a two-hour interrogation tape, Bryan Patrick Miller, also known as the 'Zombie Hunter', told cops that he was beaten by his mother as a child when he was arrested for two gruesome murders that occurred thirty years before. Miller is on trial for the 1993 murder of Melanie Bernas and the 1992 murder of Angela Brosso.
According to a report by Arizona's Family, the two victims were bicyclists who were on paths close to the Arizona Canal. Brosso's body was discovered was beheaded. Both women's bodies were reportedly mutilated and had been subjected to sexual assault, according to forensic findings. Miller was taken into custody in 2015 after investigators were able to compare his DNA to those of the victims. After several years of delays, his trial began in October 2022. Miller's two-hour questioning footage was shown to the jury for 40 minutes on November 2. He was being questioned in the video by Phoenix Police Detective William Schira about what it was like to grow up with his mother after his father died. “With me and my mom? Horrible,” Miller said, adding, “Being beaten. Didn’t matter if I did something wrong or if she did something and forgot she did it, I would get a beating for it.”
Defense lawyers are trying to persuade the judge, who is also the jury, to find Miller not guilty due to insanity by proving that Miller's mental illness was caused by childhood trauma and abuse.
Miller is also questioned by Schira in another part of the video about a letter he wrote as a teenager. It depicts the attack, torture, and murder of a 17-year-old woman. That letter is known by the prosecution as "the plan". It allegedly demonstrates that Miller planned the murders of Brosso and Bernas. “Do you remember writing this?” Schira asks after placing a sheet of paper in front of Miller. “That does look like my handwriting,” Miller says after examining the paper. “Would it surprise you if I told you that your mom brought this to the police department?” asks Schira.
In the early 1990s, Miller's mother discovered a note in Miller's room and brought it to the Phoenix Police Department. Miller was later added to the list of suspects in the case as a result of the letter. Schira gave his testimony despite having since left the police force. “Did he have any explanation for you why his DNA or semen was on and in Ms Bernas and Ms Brosso?” asked prosecutor Vincent Imbordino. “He could not explain that,” Schira said in the video obtained by Arizona's Family.
Another retired Phoenix police officer testified earlier in the day about a chat he had with Miller in 1989. When Miller was apprehended, he had just stabbed a woman in the Paradise Valley Mall parking lot. He was only a teenager at the time. Miller was being driven to a youth detention facility by Officer Oliver Peltier when the conversation started. “After my initial question to him, I asked him if he did it to see what it felt like. And Bryan said, ‘I guess that’s why I did it,’” said Peltier. “Did you ask him what it made him feel?” asked prosecutor Vince Imbordino. “I did. I said, ‘How did it make you feel?’ And Bryan said it sent chills up his spine,” replied Peltier.