Debra Jean Milke: Retrial Hearing Set For Ariz. Mom Freed From Death Row

PHOTO: Debra Jean Milke in court
Share
Copy

Attorneys are scheduled to return to court today to discuss the retrial of an Arizona mother who was released from prison earlier this month after her conviction was thrown out in the 1989 murder of her 4-year-old son.

Prosecutors and Debra Jean Milke's defense team are expected to discuss how to proceed with a retrial against the 49-year-old woman, decades after she was convicted and condemned to death row.

Milke was released on Sept. 6 on a $250,000 bond as she awaits the next phase of her legal process.

The Maricopa County Attorney's Office has vowed to retry Milke, and prosecutors will seek the death penalty, according to the Associated Press. Her retrial is tentatively scheduled for Sept. 30.

In December 1989, according to prosecutors, Milke told her 4-year-old son, Christopher, that she was going to take him to see Santa Claus. Instead, they said, Milke handed her son over to two men who took him into the Arizona desert and killed him so she could collect an insurance payout.

Prosecutors said Milke confessed to Phoenix Police Det. Armando Saldate. However, he said he failed to tape record it.

Milke denied that she ever confessed, but was found guilty and sentenced to death.

In March, a federal appeals court overturned her conviction because the prosecution did not disclose Saldate's history of misconduct, which included eight cases in which judges tossed out confessions, indictments and convictions because he lied under oath or violated suspects' rights during interrogations.

Roger Scott and James Styers, the two men who prosecutors claimed actually killed Milke's son, were convicted and remain on death row.

Scott confessed to the crime during a police interrogation, according to the AP, and led police to the boy's body. Neither man testified at Milke's trial.

As one of the most polarizing inmates in Arizona history, Milke has been vilified as a heartless child killer. However, she has also amassed support from people as far away as Germany who proclaim her innocence.

Milke's case has inspired such fervor that her supporters have even bought her a home in Phoenix, her defense attorney, Michael Kimerer, told ABCNews.com.

After spending decades on death row, Kimerer said Milke was in "shock and disbelief" when a judge allowed her to post bond months after her conviction was tossed.

"She said, 'Oh, I just can't catch up with my feelings,'" Kimerer said. "It's overwhelming."

Join the Discussion
blog comments powered by Disqus
 
You Might Also Like...