PHOENIX — s the death penalty.An Arizona woman is getting her first taste of freedom in more than two decades after an appeals court overturned her murder conviction, setting the stage for a retrial as prosecutors seek to put her back on death row.
Debra Milke walked out of the Maricopa County Sheriff's jail Friday after supporters posted her $250,000 bond.
The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals overturned her conviction in March, ruling that prosecutors should have disclosed information that cast doubt on the credibility of a now-retired detective who said Milke confessed to being involved in the killing of her 4-year-old son, Christopher.
The 49-year-old Milke has not been exonerated, but a judge allowed her to could go free while she prepares for a new trial in a case that made her one of Arizona's most reviled inmates.
Milke was convicted in the death of her son who authorities believe was killed for a $5,000 insurance payout. Police said Milke dressed the boy in his favorite outfit in December 1989, telling him he was going to see Santa Claus at a mall before handing him over to two men who took the child into the desert and shot him. She had been imprisoned since 1990.
A defense lawyer told the judge last week that Milke would live in a Phoenix-area home purchased by supporters.
Prosecutors declined to comment on Milke's possible release and have not appealed the bond order.
Milke, whose mother was a German who married a U.S. Air Force military policeman in Berlin in the early 1960s, has drawn strong support from citizens of that nation and Switzerland, neither of which has the death penalty.