Death row mum cleared of killing son after 22 years in jail


Debra Jean Milkeall credits: The Mirror
published: 15 March 2013

A mum who spent 22 years on death row has had her conviction overturned. A US appeal court ruled today that Debra Jean Milke, 48, was wrongly found guilty of murdering her four-year-old son Christopher.

They say police failed to reveal that a detective who gave key evidence against her had a history of lying under oath.

German-born Milke had been given a date for her execution by lethal injection. She would have been the first woman executed in Arizona since 1930.

At her 1990 trial she was accused of conspiring with her boyfriend and another man to take Christopher into the desert, where he was shot three times in the back of the head.

It was claimed they wanted to cash in a £30,000 life insurance policy. Phoenix detective Armando Saldate claimed she confessed to the crimes – although she always protested her innocence.

And the jury was not told that Saldate was under investigation for several counts of perjury and corruption.

Now prosecutors have 30 days to retry Milke or set her free.

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