Convicted in 1990 for the murder of her four-year-old son, Debra Jean Milke spent 22 years awaiting execution on Death Row. Today she is free.
Her conviction was based on an alleged verbal confession to a detective who has since been charged with misconduct. It is suggested that he actually lied about the confession.
Milke has always maintained that she is innocent of the crime and insisted that she never confessed to the murder.
The Metro reports:
A mother who spent 22 years on death row for the murder of her four-year-old son has been cleared by a judge.
Debra Jean Milke was convicted in 1990 over Christopher’s death, but prosecutors failed to disclose a detective’s history of misconduct.
She hugged her supporters and sobbed as she exited the courtroom in Phoenix.
Judge Rosa Mroz ended the case after prosecutors lost their final appeal last week.
Milke was convicted of murder in 1990 over the death of her son, Christopher.
Authorities say Milke dressed him in his favourite outfit and told him he was going to see Santa Claus at a shopping mall in December 1989.
He was then taken into the desert near Phoenix by two men and shot in the back of the head.
Authorities had alleged that Milke’s motive was that she did not want the child any more and did not want him to live with his father.
Milke has maintained her innocence and denied that she confessed to the killing. The two men who led her child to his death were convicted of murder but refused to testify against Milke.
An appeals court overturned Milke’s conviction in 2013, ruling that prosecutors failed to disclose a detective’s history of misconduct.
Her conviction was based entirely on a confession Milke gave to the now-discredited detective, which he did not record.
The federal appeals court threw out Milke’s conviction and death sentence, arguing prosecutors knew about Phoenix police detective Armando Saldate’s record of misconduct, but did not disclose it.
Multiple court rulings in other cases said the now-retired officer either lied under oath or violated suspects’ rights during interrogations.
These days, as a journalist, writer and editor I write a wide variety of features, frivolous and serious. I work mainly for women's magazines and national newspapers and also enjoy writing for independent news outlets and websites - the sort that publish stories the mainstream media fail to report.
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