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Woman on Arizona’s death row could soon be freed to await retrial

– More than two decades after she was sent to death row, an Arizona woman convicted of having her 4-year-old son killed for an insurance payout could soon be freed while she awaits an appeal of the case that made her one of the state’s most reviled inmates.

Judge Rosa Mroz of Maricopa Superior Court set Debra Milke’s bond at $250,000 Thursday, saying there’s no direct evidence linking her with her son’s death other than a purported confession to a detective, and the validity of that confession is in doubt.

It was not clear how soon Milke could be released. Milke’s lawyers have said she would stay at a home that supporters bought for her in the Phoenix area.

Prosecutors say Milke, now 49, had her son, Christopher, killed to collect on a $5,000 insurance policy. She allegedly dressed the boy in his favorite outfit and told him he was going to see Santa Claus at a mall in December 1989. Two men were convicted of taking the child to the desert and shooting him.

The possibility of freedom comes six months after a federal appeals court overturned Milke’s conviction.

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