A mom walked to freedom after spending 22 years on death row.
Debra Milke was sentenced to death for the 1989 murder of her four-year-old son, Christopher, in a case that outraged America.
But now she's free after an appeals court ruled she was wrongly convicted on the testimony of a rogue cop.
She said, “I always believed this day would come.”
Her lawyer said, “To see her free today, totally free and exonerated it's an unbelievable feeling.”
But not everyone is celebrating.
Her ex-husband, Mark Milke, tells INSIDE EDITION he still believes that Debra’s hatred of him drove her to kill their only child.
He said, “She feels nothing for other people. She was cruel and abusive. She would scream at him. It broke my heart on his last birthday that he cried and said he didn't want to go back to his mom's.”
Debra Milke was accused of telling the little boy he was going to visit Santa Claus at a Phoenix shopping mall. Instead, prosecutors said she arranged for her two male roommates to take Christopher to the Arizona desert where they fired three bullets into his head.
A tall cross marks the spot in the desert where Christopher was executed. A little Mickey Mouse figurine rests at its base.
Mark Milke says he was a target too.
“The original plot of the plan was not just to kill Christopher but to kill me also,” he claims.
Phoenix Detective Armando Saldate has claimed that Debra confessed to him, but an appeals court found that prosecutors had concealed Saldate's long record of misconduct, including fabricating evidence.
Now, the court has ordered the case dismissed.
Debra Milke refused to talk about her ex-husband and his claim that she is guilty.
She said, “I don't have any response to him.”
But prosecutors say there is plenty of evidence against her.
District Attorney Bill Montgomery said at a press conference, "If anybody really wants to know the truth, you can look it up yourself, it is there. I will tell you it is not what has been asserted by the defence throughout."
Now 50, with white hair, she wept as she spoke to reporters. She says her release is a bitter sweet victory.
“I live with an abiding sense of loss and a chunk of my heart is gone but Christopher’s spirit is with me always, which is a comfort to the remaining pieces of my broken heart,” she emotionally said.