| USWorld

Larger text Larger text Smaller text Smaller text | Order Photo Reprints

Judge frees Arizona mother on death row for 22 years

In this Aug. 1, 2013 file photo, Debra Jean Milke listens to a judge during a hearing as she awaits a retrial in the 1989 shooting death of her 4-year-old son, Christopher, at Maricopa County Superior Court in Phoenix. A judge is allowing Milke to be released on bail as she awaits retrial in the 1989 killing of her young son, a case that had her on death row since 1990 until her conviction was overturn this year.

Email Newsletters

Click here to sign up for one of our email newsletters.

Daily Photo Galleries

By The Associated Press
Friday, Sept. 6, 2013, 8:24 p.m.

PHOENIX — An Arizona woman who spent more than two decades on death row was released on bond on Friday when a judge ruled there's no direct evidence linking her to the death of her young son, other than a purported confession to a detective whose honesty has been questioned.

Supporters of Debra Milke posted a $250,000 bond and she walked out of the Maricopa County Sheriff's jail.

The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals overturned her conviction in March, stating that prosecutors should have disclosed information that cast doubt on the credibility of a since-retired detective who said Milke confessed.

The 49-year-old Milke has not been exonerated, but a judge said she could go free while preparing for a new trial in a case that made her one of Arizona's most reviled inmates.

Milke was convicted in the death of her 4-year-old son, Christopher, who was allegedly killed for a $5,000 insurance payout. His mother was accused of dressing the boy in his favorite outfit in December 1989 and telling him he was going to see Santa Claus at a mall before handing him over to two men who took the child into the desert and shot him.

A defense lawyer told the judge last week that Milke would live in a Phoenix-area home purchased by supporters.

Prosecutors declined to comment on Milke's possible release and have not appealed the bond order.

Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.



Show commenting policy

Most-Read Nation

  1. FAA wants to fine SkyPan $1.9 million for ‘reckless’ drone operations
  2. Tennessee board drops vote on seeking God’s mercy over gay marriage
  3. Drug overdose suspected in death of New York doctor found in lobby
  4. About 6,000 drug inmates await early release from prison
  5. Big firms park $2.1T offshore to avoid taxes, study claims
  6. Michigan factory supervisor wins $310M Powerball prize
  7. Boston art lovers stage mock anti-Renoir protest
  8. Amtrak CEO says safety mandate threatens service outside Northeast corridor
  9. Floods inundate Phoenix
  10. Number of deported lowest since 2006, AP finds
  11. Fantasy sports websites draw Congress’ eye