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Convicted killer known as the Zombie Hunter says life on death row is cold, food is

Bryan Patrick Miller did not testify at his recent murder trial for killing two young women in the early 1990’s but, when a “48 Hours” producer contacted him by email, he was ready to talk about the case.

Miller continued to deny he murdered Angela Brosso and Melanie Bernas even though he was found guilty by Judge Suzanne Cohen in a trial without a jury. Cohen sentenced Miller to death in June 2023. Under Arizona law, the case will be automatically appealed.

Bryan Patrick Miller was sentenced to death in June 2023.

Arizona Department of Corrections

Asked to explain how his DNA was found on the bodies of both women, Miller wrote, “That’s the million-dollar question.”

“If I had a provable answer for that I wouldn’t be in this situation now, would I?” he countered. “It is a question that I would like answered and everyone is so convinced that I did so it will go unanswered.”

Miller is sitting in death row at what he calls SMU, which is shorthand for a Special Management Unit at the Eyman Prison Complex in Florence, Arizona. It may surprise those not familiar with prison, but even inmates on death row have access to email.

When asked about life on death row, Miller wrote: “It is better than county jail, but it is obvious that isolation has taken its toll on many people here. From what I saw of people in county jail compared to here, the majority of the people here are by far not what I would consider the worst of the worst. It is by far safer than anywhere else in prison even though they have nothing really to lose anymore.”

He continued: “…it is far from great, as I am even more isolated from those I care about and also my legal team, the food is still not great and the cells are getting very cold now that temps are falling,” he wrote.

Miller expressed bitterness about his trial which took place almost eight years after his arrest and nearly 30 years after the first murder in the case. “How is a person supposed to defend themselves and prove anything for a crime that happened decades ago?” he asks.

He said he disagrees with psychological experts called by his defense lawyers who said he had dissociative amnesia and could not remember anything about the Brosso and Bernas murders. He repeated his position: “I maintain I did not do the murders.”

The Brosso and Bernas murders, which became known as the canal killings, are featured in “Unmasking the Zombie Hunter,” now streaming on Paramount+.

Bryan Patrick Miller in costume as the “Zombie Hunter.”

Ben Garcia

After Miller was identified as a person of interest in 2014, cold case detective Clark Schwartzkopf examined Miller’s social media accounts and discovered Miller had adopted a new persona around 2014. Miller began taking part in zombie walks in Phoenix and fashioned a homemade costume with a menacing mask and a fake Gatling gun, said Schwartzkopf. He also drove a tricked out old police car with the words Zombie Hunter on the back.

His lawyers presented a defense that essentially blamed Miller’s mother Ellen for the person he became. Miller’s lawyers said Ellen, who died in 2010, had abused him as a child, creating mental health problems. Cohen agreed Miller had been abused as a child after hearing psychological evidence throughout the eight-month trial.

“My mother was not a very good person in so many ways, but what helped was that when I was an adult, she acknowledged that she did horrible things to me and apologized,” Miller wrote.

By the time detectives arrested Miller in 2015, he was a divorced father raising a teenage daughter. Friends and even a detective working the case said Miller seemed to treat his daughter well. Not seeing her, says Miller, is his biggest regret about being imprisoned.

“What I miss most is spending time with my daughter and friends,” he wrote. 

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