Judge frees Arizona mother on death row for 22 years
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.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Buffet: Berkshire’s built to last
- Most young Republicans back legal marijuana
- Perceived slights have some New Yorkers longing for Pennsylvania
- Monarch butterflies find milkweed supply dwindles
- Huge, ancient quasar could alter theories on black holes
- Florida fisherman’s high court win spurs call for legal reform
- Mo. gunman kills 7, self, in rampage
- Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu rejects Jewish House Democrats’ invitation
- Congress approves 1-week funding measure for Homeland Security
- Suspects’ search of victims’ homes OK’d in Colorado
- Spacewalks lay groundwork for taxi crew