I agree with Jeff […]. I was going to write all that because it is just shocking. I was in Perryville prison with Milke, as they call her. Everyone said and thought she was a child killer. Worst of the worst in prison.The inmates and the guards. So I thought so too. During R&A (Perryville’s holding area until classification) they kept new inmates on the same yard as death row but in different pods. We would see her from our room door window when they would let her out for “exercise” in a cage like a dog. (same kind of cage that a woman died in at Perryville a couple years ago from neglect and heat exposure) Everyone would say…there’s Milke! She killed all her kids. So in typical prison gossip fashion, the story had mutated into her having more than one kid and killing them all herself.
Reading all these latest developments is relieving. Prison is awful as it is if you’re just there for a drug crime, like I was, without swirling rumors making this poor woman out to be some kind of monster. In the time I spent at Perryville, on Lumley and then Santa Maria for 5 years, I saw and heard many things. Corrupt officers were abundant. Back stabbing women were the usual rule. You couldn’t trust anyone. It was a bad experience, as I’m sure prison is meant to be, but I feel so bad for her. Its tough to be there for five years with relative freedoms on the minimum yard when you are guilty, I can’t IMAGINE being there the amount of time she has, going through MUCH worse than I did, being innocent. I saw first hand, several, several instances of misconduct by guards in both county jail and prison in Arizona. Who knows what has happened to her all these years? I know how the inmates treated her and know there are corrupt guards there, so I bet she has been treated poorly in ALL the years she’s been there.
I would like to say I am shocked by her railroad conviction and subsequent treatment, but living in Arizona all my life, and having been shoved through the court and prison systems here, unfortunately, I am NOT shocked that that detective got away with getting her convicted with a fake confession. Take 15 minutes and read Joe Arapio’s Wikipedia page and ask yourself HOW does he continue to get re-elected? If felons were allowed to vote? (another topic I could write a LOT about) He would not be the sheriff. I know it wasn’t “Sheriff Joe” in office when Debra was railroaded, but that’s even worse! That shows Arizona has been corrupt since before “Joe’s” reign. I know it sounds like I am ranting, and I may be a bit and I don’t mean to cover all of Arizona and all police and judges; Arizona’s justice system with the corrupt blanket. I just know the side I have seen. In prison the inmates say Arizona is a “Cowboy State”, meaning the cops (and I am sure not ALL of them) are cowboys. Prideful, reckless and out for blood. Eager to slap a sentence on someone. Lock em UP! That is the attitude and its common knowledge.
There are many fishy convictions in Arizona. I got to know many girls in prison. Most of them, including me and contrary to public opinion, admit their guilt. You always hear, “Oh everyone in prison SAYS they are innocent!” That’s not true. For Milke to claim innocence all this time, with no contact with other inmates, no one to impress and nothing to prove to anyone on the yard, speaks volumes. I believe she is innocent or in the LEAST fast tracked right into guilty and a death sentence.
Who has heard of a veteran detective taking a confession in a child murder case in half an hour with no recording going on? Watch an episode of Dateline or 48 hours, they show 2 detectives in the room. Audio and video recording going on. 9 hours, 20 hours of going over and over the evidence and what has been said. Confessions typed up and signed. Standard OP. But this stellar detective got 3 confessions in an hour? Uh-huh. Also, typically, people held in country jail on a murder charge are fighting their cases for 4 years or so before actual trial! I read Debra was sentenced within a year or something crazy like that. Also given a DUI public defender? Really? I also read this “star” closer detective was called in on his day off to come save the day and while he was alone in the room with Debra taking her “confession” that she hadn’t signed a Miranda waiver? To me, just reading these few facts about her case, before I dug deeper, that those things alone were extreme enough to get her a new trial. Inadequate council. Miranda…all of it. Sounds and is ludicrous.
In the 5 years I was at Perryville on a drug charge, at one point I had an 18 year old thug roomate. Illiterate. Poor upbringing. Bad family life. She had stolen her moms truck to go out partying with 2 of her female cousins. They were drinking. She flipped the truck, totaled it, killed one of her cousins and severely injured herself and her other cousin. How many crimes is that? Grand theft auto. Underage drinking. Drinking and driving. Manslaughter. And whatever charge it is called when you destroy a vehicle you have stolen and the other charge of injuring her other cousin. Reckless endangerment probably. She got sentenced to 2.5 years. That’s it! There I sat sentenced to 10 years alltogether, for possession and paraphernalia running concurrent so I served 5, and she did ALL that and got 2.5? This shocked me every day I looked at her. The courts reasoning for the light sentence was because of her childhood and illiteracy. What is wrong with our justice system?
And Milke sits there all these years from a crooked cops false confession?
And guess what? That roommate I was just talking about? She ended up doing the rest of her time in the hole. Why you ask? Oh! Well that would be because one of the correction officers was having sex with her best friend and so to get my roommate not to tell, this officer brought my roommate burritos, McDonalds, makeup, and some vodka. Since she was acting strangely on the yard another officer approached her and discovered she had been drinking and searched our room. That is when they pulled the alcohol and McDonalds and everything else she had been given by the officer out of our room.
Luckily, I was never in the room. Always at work and school. So I only learned of what was going on after the fact. She did not get any more charges or more years tacked onto her sentence even though possessing prison contraband can get you more time. This is just one example of what I saw in the five years I was there. Again. My point being the Arizona justice system and corrections system is twisted and dirty. I am glad that Milke is getting out or getting a new trial or at least noticed and believed after all this time. After having been slammed through the system myself it is good to hear that she is finally getting the truth out. Once they lock you up there and throw away the key you pretty much have no hope.I congratulate her for maintaining her innocence and I congratulate the courts for recognizing, finally, the corruption and unfairness that goes on. Maybe there is light and hope at the end of the tunnel for Arizona’s judicial system.