A federal appeals court has overturned a death sentence for an Arizona woman who arranged to have her 4-year-old son murdered, because a Phoenix Police detective failed to honor her Miranda rights.
A three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals threw out the conviction of Debra Milke, who dressed up her son Christopher in his favorite outfit in 1989 and told him he was going to see Santa Claus. Her roommate, James Styers, and Roger Scott then drove the boy into the desert where they shot him multiple times in the head.
During the investigation, Detective Armando Saldate claimed Scott implicated Milke in the murder. Saldate then arrested Milke and claimed she confessed durign a one-on-one interrogation that was not recorded. Milke denied confessing and neither Scott nor Styers testified against her, reports the Arizona Republic.
Saldate's personnel record apparently showed a history of misconduct that the detective falsified information to a grand jury, extracted confessions in hospital rooms, and continued to interrogate suspects even after they invoked their Miranda rights.