Meet the Three Women Currently on Arizona's Death Row
While a jury's apparently having a tough time deciding whether Jodi Arias should be put to death for killing Travis Alexander, we'll point out that Arias would join just a few other women on death row, if that's where the jury decides to send her.
There are only three Arizona women in the custody of the Arizona Department of Corrections who have been sentenced to die, and the convictions of one of those women was just recently overturned by a federal appeals court.
- Debra Milke
Debra Milke didn't actually kill anyone. However, she received her death sentence in the early '90s for conspiring to kill her 4-year-old son Christopher, in 1988. In March (of this year), Milke's conviction was overturned by a federal appeals court, based on credibility issues with the homicide detective on the case, former Phoenix Police Detective Armando Saldate. Milke's not free to go, though. Attorney General Tom Horne almost immediately declared that he's appealing the case to the Supreme Court.
"In this case, Ms. Milke was found to have arranged the killing of her own son, a four-year-old toddler, because he was too much of a burden and interfering with her life," Horne said. "After dressing him up and telling him he was going to the mall to see Santa Claus, Milke was convicted of sending her young son off to be shot, execution style, in a desert wash. This is a horrible crime. The Ninth Circuit's decision needs to be reversed, and justice for Christopher needs to be served."
The court said "the state remained unconstitutionally silent instead of disclosing information about [Detective] Saldate's history of misconduct and accompanying court orders and disciplinary action," an example of which would be him getting confessions from unconscious suspects.
- Shawna Forde
Shawna Forde, a member of the anti-immigrant "Minutemen American Defense Corps." and a couple of her male comrades murdered 29-year-old Raul Flores, and his 9-year-old daughter, Bresenia -- both U.S. citizens -- during a home invasion on May 30, 2009, in Pima County.
The group pretended to be immigration officials as they forced their way into the home, looking for drugs and cash.
Forde didn't pull the trigger on the Floreses, but a jury agreed that she did orchestrate the whole thing.
- Wendi Andriano
Wendy Andriano was sentenced to death in 2004 after she killed her husband in Ahwatukee. The prosecutor in that case was Juan Martinez, the some prosecutor in the Arias case, and there were some similarities between the murders. The murder itself was pretty brutal -- Andriano put pesticide in her husband's soup, then hit him over the head with a bar stool 23 times, before sticking a knife in his neck, according to a press account from the time.
Andriano's defense was that she'd suffered a lifetime of mental and physical abuse at the hands of her husband. She claimed the poison was assisted suicide for her husband, who was terminally ill with cancer. The rest of the attack, she reportedly explained, came after she admitted being unfaithful to her husband, and claimed he attacked her. The jury bought none of that, landing her on death row.
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