Retrial set for Ariz. woman charged in son's death - New York News

Retrial set for Ariz. woman charged in son's death

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Debra Jean Milke Debra Jean Milke
PHOENIX -

She's been on death row for more than 20 years for an unspeakably horrible crime -- being part of a plan to kill her 4-year-old son, but Debra Milke may get off death row and eventually go free.

This Spring, a federal appeals court threw out Debra Milke's murder conviction.

The judges said her so-called confession -- very possibly, never happened.

The County Attorney wants to retry her and that process began playing out in court Wednesday.

This is bad, as evil as it gets.

Back in 1989, Christopher Milke was told her was going to see Santa Claus, then brought out to the desert and shot in the head.

Two men, James Styers and Roger Scott, were sent to death row for the crime.  So was Christopher's mother, Debra.

In court Wednesday, her convictions were tossed out and her attorney is confident he can set her free.

"Well, I can say this in most cases I have had I have more things on my side here than in most cases," said Michael Kimerer.

Phoenix police detective Armando Saldate testified Milke confessed to the crime, but he has a long history of making up confessions.

Amazingly, he didn't record his session with Milke and even destroyed his notes.

In court, the judge said at the end of next month, there will be a hearing about keeping the confession out of the retrial.

If the judge agrees, it may prove very difficult to prosecute this case.

Kimerer says Milke could get a plea deal to get out of prison with time served if she admits guilt, but she won't do that.

"She is adamant.. will not accept any plea agreement if she had to say in any way she was responsible for the death of her son."

The judge set a date for the retrial to begin: September 30.  Milke's attorney will try to get her released on bond first.

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Copyright 2013 The Associated Press modified.

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