|Debra Milke and Paul Huebl|
Phoenix, AZ—It was 24 years ago this month when the Debra Milke Saga began for me.
I watched in horror the destruction of an innocent young woman’s life as they attempted to murder her under color of law. I watch her defense attorney’s bungle, fumble and fail as most of the media became accepting if not complicit in this legal atrocity.
I refused to silently watch them kill Debra Milke. Arizona, per capita was the most prolific of all the death penalty states. The threat was real and the system of checks and balances was failing miserably. It’s really nothing short of a miracle that Milke was not the second woman to actually be executed since statehood.
As a freelance investigative news producer, licensed private investigator and later a blogger I had limited power to expose the sham that was called, The Debra Milke Trial. I never missed an opportunity to beg a news director to let me expose the lies of a corrupt cop or portion of this story. Soon the problem was that the story was no longer news but history. Of course apathy worked against me too.
I was surprised to find that my little blog had any influence at all until I began seeing visits displayed on my blog counter. I was getting visits from the ISP# of judges, prosecutors, cops along with local, national and international media organizations that had simply Goggled Debra Milke name to find out about her. Yes I got hits from the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals too! They were the ones that reversed Milke’s convictions. The people deciding this case were all reading my scores of writings!
I followed two things, the truth and my conscience. If I made a mistake it was not to push news directors harder to cover this story.
Finally after a decade long abandonment and absence Milke’s own mother who was living in Switzerland finally joined in the fight. The corrupt cop, Armando Saldate somehow convinced the distraught grandmother, Renate Janka that her daughter was a confessed killer. Ultimately things just did not add up for this feisty grandmother and she took up the cause with a vengeance.
Milke has been ordered to stand for a retrial but the faulty prosecution is imploding right before our eyes. The likelihood of a second trial is now remote, as Saldate wisely has invoked his rights not to incriminate himself by testifying at any retrial.
My Christmas present is that Debra Milke who has been released on bail will never be executed. That’s because the truth and prosecutorial tyranny has finally been exposed internationally.
Debra Milke cannot be repaid for the thousands of bad meals, humiliating strip searches, solitary confinement in a brutally hot and dusty prison cell. They also managed to make this woman the most hated in Arizona ever.
We will see this final effort to kill Milke fail next in the coming weeks. Milke will then set out to rebuild her life on her terms.
We all must take a look at this atrocity and give thanks it was not us, or someone we love getting Arizona style justice. Taxpayers have paid millions over wrongful prosecutions and convictions and it is easy to see why. Change must come to Arizona’s courts.
Milke’s freedom became somehow tied to my own. As long as she was suffering I could not just stand back. I became a prisoner too of a cause and finally my own freedom is in sight too.
This has been a hard, lonely and frustrating ordeal for me personally. If in the process I enlightened some people that fair trials must be safeguarded and that we need not surrender to prosecutorial or judicial tyranny that’s my real victory.
Many of my friends tell me that Milke’s owes me for my efforts over the last two decades. Milke owes me nothing because everything including my work was always far beyond any of her control. Milke deserved what she did not get and that was simple fairness. We all owed that to Milke but somehow we failed to deliver.
As for Debra Milke she will quickly move on to the future and find just what her life’s mission will be. I too will move on writing, traveling through Europe and doing things I enjoy like filmmaking.
Debra Milke’s freedom is a special Christmas gift for me.