Bond hearing postponed for woman awaiting retrial

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By Andrew Michalscheck By Andrew Michalscheck

PHOENIX (AP) -- A bond hearing scheduled Thursday for an Arizona woman awaiting retrial in the 1989 shooting death of her 4-year-old son was postponed until later this month.

Debra Jean Milke's request to be released from jail while she awaits retrial was delayed until Aug. 30. Lawyers must first litigate Milke's request to disqualify the Maricopa County Attorney's Office from the case and instead have other prosecutors handle it.

The request cites a March ruling by a federal appeals court that threw out Milke's murder conviction and death sentence. The appeals court concluded county prosecutors knew about but failed to disclose a history of misconduct by a Phoenix detective who claimed Milke confessed to the crime. The court said the misconduct included lying under oath in four other criminal cases.

Milke has disputed that she confessed to the crime and has maintained that she is innocent.

Prosecutors say the assertion that the county attorney's office withheld evidence is without merit and the criticism of the detective wouldn't have been admissible at trial.

Authorities say Milke dressed her son Christopher in his favorite outfit and told him he was going to see Santa Claus at a mall in December 1989. He was then taken into the desert by two men and shot in the back of the head. The men are on death row.

Milke's retrial is set for Sept. 30. Prosecutors are again seeking the death penalty.

Milke was denied bail three weeks ago but is making another attempt to get released.

Her attorneys said Milke should be given bond because the evidence against their client is extremely weak.

Prosecutors adamantly oppose her release and say she isn't entitled to bail.

Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Rosa Mroz also will also hear arguments Aug. 30 over Milke's request to throw out the detective's claim that she confessed to the killing.

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