Debra Milke has been set free after spending 22 years on death row. On Monday, an Arizona judge dismissed all charges against her, and declared her innocent of all charges relating to the 1989 murder of her 4-year-old son, Christopher Milke.
According to the Daily Mail, Debra Milke was released from prison in 2013, and has remained free on bail with an electronic monitoring bracelet, but faced the possibility of retrial. On Monday, Maricopa County Judge, Rosa Mroz, found there is not enough evidence to retry Milke, and dismissed the charges with prejudice, meaning the Arizona woman can never be retried.
As previously reported by the Inquisitr, Milke was convicted in 1990 of the 1989 murder of her 4-year-old son, Christopher Milke. During her trial, prosecutors maintained that Debra hatched a plan for her son to be murdered because she no longer wanted the child, and did not want the little boy to go live with his father. Authorities also maintained Milke wanted to collect the child’s $5,000 life insurance policy. Milke’s roommate, James Styers, and a friend, Roger Scott, were convicted in the case as well, and were sentenced to death. Debra Milke has maintained her innocence.
As CNN reports, the key factor in the case’s dismissal is prosecutorial misconduct. The lead detective in the case, Armando Saldate, testified at Milke’s trial that she confessed to being involved in her son’s murder, yet there were no other witnesses in the room at the time, and the alleged confession was not taped. During the trial, prosecutors withheld from the jury Saldate’s checkered past, including lying under oath.
According to the Associated Press, Michael Kimerer, one of Debra Milke’s attorneys, says although he knew his client was innocent, he is in disbelief that this 25-year legal battle has ended in her freedom.
“She was innocent. It was all based upon a police officer that just totally lied. To see her free today and totally free and exonerated, it’s an unbelievable feeling — just unbelievable.”
As reported by FOX 10 Phoenix, Debra Milke filed a lawsuit earlier this month against the city of Phoenix, Maricopa County and several former Phoenix police officers. Milke’s lawsuit alleges that her civil rights were violated, that she was denied a fair trial, and that she is the victim of a malicious prosecution.
Authorities have no plans to file charges against Detective Armando Saldate, based on Milke’s accusations.
[Image by Ross D. Franklin/AP Photo]