Arizona

Child murdered at request of mother to keep him from becoming like his father

December 2, 1989
Phoenix, Arizona
Christopher Milke (4, pictured) is murdered at the request of his mother, Debra Milke, partially to collect a life insurance policy taken out on him and partially because she believed her son would be better off dead than grow up to be like his father

Debra and Christopher moved in with roommate James Lynn Styers in August of 1989. On December 2, Styers informed mall security that his roommate’s son was missing. He also called Debra who then called 911. A missing persons case was opened and on December 3, Roger Scott, a friend of Styers, was interrogated. During questioning he confessed that Christopher was dead and brought investigators to the child’s body. Scott claimed that Debra hired Scott and Styers to murder her son and that Styers had been the one to shoot the 4-year-old 3 times in the back of the head. During questioning Debra admitted her guilt and insinuated she believed Christopher was better off dead than to grow up to be like his father.

All three conspirators were tried separately, and each were found guilty and sentenced to death. In 2009, Debra made an appeal claiming she never waived her rights to remain silent and argued her confession, which was unrecorded and uncorroborated, was inadmissible. The courts disagreed with the appeal and held the original verdict.

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