An Arizona woman who has been on death row for more than 20 years will be released on Friday while her case waits to go to retrial. Debra Milke was convicted of having her 4-year-old son killed so that she could collect on an insurance payout. Judge Rosa Mroz of Maricopa County Superior Court ruled that there was no direct evidence tying Milke to the crime besides a confession she made to a detective.
Milke allegedly confessed to Armando Saldate Jr. but it has since been revealed that the detective is not exactly honest. Judges have previously thrown out confessions or indictments because Saldate lied under oath in four other cases. During one of Milke's appeals, the prosecutors failed to disclose evidence related to Saldate's credibility. Saldate was also suspended for accepting sexual favors from a female motorist he stopped and then lying about what had happened.
"No civilized system of justice should have to depend on such flimsy evidence, quite possibly tainted by dishonesty or overzealousness, to decide whether to take someone's life or liberty," Chief Judge Alex Kozinski wrote for the court.
If Milke, 49, is freed, she will stay at a home that supporters bought for her in the Phoenix area. She has been behind bars since 1990. She has always said she was innocent in her son’s death.
The two men convicted in the case are both still on death row. Neither Roger Scott nor James Styers testified at Milke's trial. Scott confessed during a police interrogation to killing Milke’s son and then led detectives to the boy's body.
Milke's ex-husband, Arizona Milke, is still convinced that she is guilty. He plans to sue her, detective Saldate and the state for perpetrating a conspiracy to conceal his son’s true killer, Fox News reported. "She'll win this case criminally," he said. "But she'll lose it civilly, and so will the state."