Mom on death row for killing 4-year-old son goes free & you won't believe why
Arizona mom Debra Milke, who has been on death row for more than 22 years for the murder of her 4-year-old son, may soon be a free woman again. Milke, who is now 49 years old, was charged with murder, conspiracy to commit murder, child abuse, and kidnapping on October 12, 1990, months after her 4-year-old son, Christopher, was found dead. She was later convicted and sentenced to death.
The story began when Milke sent her son to see Santa Claus at the mall with her roommate, James Styers. Sadly, though, the boy was taken elsewhere and shot to death by Styers and an unnamed man. What began for this mom with her son's horrific murder could only be described as the worst nightmare imaginable for any mom--and it will leave you speechless.
Detective Armando Saldate, the head of the investigation back in 1990, claimed that Styer's friend told police that Christopher's murder was actually ordered by his own mother, Milke. The mom was sentenced to death months later after a trial.
But yesterday, federal appeals court judge Alex Kozinski overturned that conviction, on grounds that Milke never got a fair trial because she was convicted based solely on the accounts of the Styer, his unnamed friend, and a sketchy detective without any solid evidence. "The Constitution requires a fair trial," Kozinski wrote in his ruling, according to CNN. "This never happened in Milke's case."
Judge Kozinski, who is presiding over the appealed case, doesn't agree with the key witness, detective Saldate, because of his history of misconduct on the job, mostly, but also because he says that during Milke's trial, "no other witnesses or direct evidence (linked) Milke to the crime" and it was just the detective's word against Milke's.
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Milke denied any tie to her son's death although Saldate said he "didn't buy" her reaction when he questioned her. During her police interrogation after the murder, Saldate claimed that Milke confessed to the crime, but the mother said she never admitted to having done anything. In addition to that, there weren't any witnesses during the time of Milke's questioning, or any video recordings corroborating this! It was also learned that Saldate had thrown out his notes IMMEDIATELY after completing the report. That is so sketchy! Judge Kozinski admits that the state made the mistake of trusting Saldate who had a history of lying under oath and misconduct on the job.
Now, in order to give Milke a fair trial, police officials are expected to hand over any of Saldate's records of the case to Milke's lawyers before she is tried again. Once this happens, a district court must order Milke's release unless prosecutors tell the court within 30 days that they plan to retry her. If they don't say anything, Milke won't be tried again and is free!
All I can is WOW … this mom spent a huge portion of her life in prison and for all we know she could very well be innocent! Not only is it awful that this woman was locked up for so long without being given a chance, but her son's death hasn't even been brought to justice yet. It's scary and awful how Milke's case was completely mishandled. I'd say she has a right to sue the state for being careless with their investigation and wrongfully convicting her through word of mouth "evidence." Not only did she lose her son, but she also lost many years of her life which she could have used to properly move on.
Image via Arizona Department of Corrections