Debra Milke’s retrial has been set for Sept. 30th.  The Arizona woman who was on death row for decades in the shooting death of her 4-year-old son is asking a judge to throw out the detective’s claim that she confessed.  Milke’s death penalty conviction was thrown out after it was discovered that prosecutors withheld documents showing that the detective had previously lied multiple times under oath, specifically about confessions that never happened.  Milke has always maintained her innocence and always said that she never confessed to the detective.  There is no record of a confession and no witnesses even though his supervisor specifically instructed him to record his conversations with Milke or have someone there with him because, as we know now, his record of lying would taint his testimony before a jury.

Debra Milke’s lawyers filed a motion stating that then-Detective Armando Saldate Jr.’s claim that Milke admitted to killing her child isn’t credible and cited the federal appeals courts’ scathing decision to throw out her conviction.  Defense lawyers pointed out Saldate’s history of misconduct, including 4 other criminal cases where he lied under oath.  Prosecutors have denied that Saldate’s conduct has anything to do with Milke’s case.

Milke is still accused of masterminding the murder of her son by two men who are on Arizona’s death row.  James Styers, Milke’s roommate and her admirer, is believed to have been the triggerman who shot the boy in the back of the head in the desert and dumped his body there in 1989.  The boy thought he was going to see Santa Claus at the mall.  Roger Scott, confessed that he was with Styers when he killed Christopher, Milke’s son.  Scott took police to the body.  He implicated Milke, but refused to testify under oath against her.

The prosecution hopes to use Saldate’s disreputable testimony in the new trial and Scott’s confession.  It is unlikely that Scott will agree to testify without a commutation of his death sentence.

The defense talked to reporters expressing their wonderment and fear that “someone could end up on death row based on the word of one person.”

Read the decision here –>  US Court of Appeals 9th Circuit Decision, Debra Jean Milke Habeas Relief Granted


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