Bryan Miller ‘walled off’ trauma, expert says

The childhood abuse experienced by Bryan Miller, accused of killing two young women in Phoenix 30 years ago, was so extreme that it fractured his consciousness in two, an expert witness testified Tuesday.

Forensic psychologist Dr. Mark Cunningham has spent days on the stand in the double murder trial detailing the childhood abuse Miller and others say he endured at the hands of his mother, who died in 2010.

Cunningham testified Tuesday that this chronic trauma had caused Miller to begin dissociating as a child, “walling off” his experiences into another state of consciousness, one his ordinary self had little or no awareness of.

“It’s functioning on its own,” Cunningham said, of this second state. “It’s like an encapsulated tumor.”

Miller has pleaded not guilty for reasons of insanity to murdering and attempting to sexually assault Angela Brosso on the eve of her 22nd birthday in November 1992, and Melanie Bernas, a high school student, in September 1993.

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