Tuesday, October 21, 2014 Headlines & Global News

Debra Milke Walks Free After Decades On Death Row

By Bianca Facchinei b.facchinei@hngn.com | Sep 07, 2013 11:43 AM EDT

Debra Milke
Debra Milke, an Arizona woman convicted of murder, conspiracy to commit murder, child abuse, and kidnapping in 1990, has been released from prison and death row. (Photo : Twitter)

Debra Milke, an Arizona woman convicted of murder, conspiracy to commit murder, child abuse, and kidnapping in 1990, has been released from prison and death row, CNN reported.

While she is no longer behind bars, her legal battle is not entirely over yet. 

In March, Arizona Attorney General Tom March said his office would appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court if her conviction and sentence was overturned. 

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Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals' Chief Judge Alex Kozinski ruled in spring that Milke did not receive a fair trial.

However, Milke still faces charges and was released on bond as she might face a retrial. Her legal team has not commented on her release but will address the media soon according to one of her attorneys.

Additionally, a spokesman for the prosecutor's office said they will not discuss the case and directed inquiries to the Maricopa County Attorney's Office.

Milke was convicted in 1990 following the death of her 4-year-old son. A few months later, she was sentenced to death row. 

According to Milke, her son, Christopher, was on his way to the mall with her roommate, James Styers. Instead of driving him to the mall, Styers picked up a friend and "the two men drove the boy out of town to a secluded ravine, where Styers shot Christopher three times in the head," Kozinski said. Styers was convicted of murder and sentenced to death. 

Kozinski also said during Milke's trial, "no ... witnesses or direct evidence (linked) Milke to the crime." 

Milke was questioned by police in a completely undocumented interrogation and officials claimed she admitted to involvement in the crime. However, Milke denied their claims and said she never admitted to anything. 

"The judge and jury believed Saldate," Kozinski said in his March ruling overturning Milke's conviction. "But they didn't know about Saldate's long history of lying under oath and other misconduct." 

Despite Saldate's history, Horne says Milke still belongs on death row. 

"After dressing him up and telling him he was going to the mall to see Santa Claus, Milke was convicted of sending her young son off to be shot, execution style, in a desert wash," he said.

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