Posted 10:25 AM 5/27/2013 : Arizona death row mom may be freed
After more than more 20 years on death row -- an Arizona woman could soon go free.
Debra Milke was convicted of killing her young son, but that conviction was recently tossed out.
Christine Romans has the latest.
A death row inmate, convicted of killing her four-year-old son, could walk free next month.
Debra Milke had her conviction overturned by a federal appeals court after arguing for years that she was the victim of a crooked cop.
Known locally as "Death Row Debbie," Milke has been sitting on Arizona's death row for nearly 23 years for the murder of her son Christopher in Phoenix.
He was my pride and joy.
He was so much brighter than me and so much smarter.
In December 1989 -- according to the prosecution -- Christopher was told he was going to see Santa Claus at a local mall.
Two male friends of Debra Milke drove him instead to a desert where one of them shot the young boy three times in the back of his head, allegedly on her instructions.
The two men told police the boy disappeared at the mall, but a day later, one of them confessed to police and led them to the boy's body.
Prosecutors argued that the boy was killed to collect on a $5,000 life insurance policy.
Debra had always maintained her innocence but the key witness, detective Armando Saldate, Jr. said she confessed the plot to him, and him alone.
"She then manipulated the two other gentlemen to get rid of the child. She got rid of the child then made up a story that he had gotten lost at the mall."
The appeals court said prosecutors should have revealed detective Saldate's history of misconduct, which included lying under oath in other cases.
Because Milke's guilty verdict was based largely on Saldate's testimony, the appeals court overturned her conviction.
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