EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

World/National News

September 9, 2013

Arizona woman released after decades on death row

(Continued)

“She said, ‘Now I can finally hold my daughter in my arms again,’” he told The Associated Press in a telephone interview from his home.

For as long as Milke has been incarcerated, she and her mother have only met in situations where they were separated by glass.

“They were never able to touch,” Krucker said.

A dozen years ago, Krucker was among the organizers of an effort in the Swiss town of Emmetten to support Milke, including by establishing a bank account that collected donations to aid in her defense. The account eventually netted about 200,000 Swiss francs, or about $213,000 today. It’s now nearly drained, he said.

Doubts about Milke’s guilt and deep suspicion about the reliability of the detective’s testimony helped motivate Swiss supporters to donate, as did opposition to the death penalty. Many also had concerns that Milke didn’t have access to the best defense because she had too little money, he said.

Now supporters are excited about the prospect of her release, Krucker said, but also worried how she will manage to pay the bond.

Janka, who is suffering from cancer, was already forced to sell her home to help cover her daughter’s legal bills, he said.

Supporters also run a website that requests donations through both German and Swiss accounts.

Milke’s ex-husband, whose name is Arizona Milke, believes his former wife is guilty and that supporters are fooled by the postings on the website.

“It’s fed by propagandized lies,” he said Friday. “They write whatever they want and put it up there like it’s true.”

Her chance at freedom comes six months after a federal appeals court overturned Milke’s conviction, ruling that the prosecution should have disclosed information about the truthfulness of the now-retired detective who testified that Milke confessed.

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