Meet the 3 women on Arizona's death row - FOX13 News, WHBQ FOX 13

Meet the 3 women on Arizona's death row

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Debra Milke, Wendi Andriano, Shawna Forde Debra Milke, Wendi Andriano, Shawna Forde
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GOODYEAR, Ariz. -

If found guilty, Jodi Arias faces the death penalty. If she is sentenced to death, she would join a very small group.

Only three women sit on Arizona's death row, each guilty of a terrible crime.

Of all the women who committed crimes in Arizona in the last 80 years, juries decided these three committed the worst.

Two killed children and one killed an invalid husband who was dying of cancer. All three of them were given the ultimate punishment – death.

Debra Milke, Wendi Andriano, Shawna Forde. All of them are housed in the Perryville state prison in Goodyear.

In conjunction with cooperation of the department of corrections, FOX 10 got exclusive video inside that unit.

The prison is just north of Interstate 10 near Cotton Lane.

The unit containing death row is called the Lumley Unit. Inmates in the death row cell are locked inside 23 hours a day. Before their 23rd hour, they are put in shackles and walked to small cage-like enclosures for recreation.

Who are the three women sharing this fate?

Let's begin with Debra Milke, the woman with the most tenure on Arizona's death row -- nearly 23 years.

Just before Christmas in 1989, Milke and two accomplices told Milke's young son Christopher he was going to meet Santa Claus at Metro Center Mall. Instead he was taken out into the desert near 99th Avenue and Happy Valley Road, where he was shot in the head and dumped there.

Prosecutors proved Milke thought the boy was a burden and wanted him dead.

Just before she was taken to death row, Milke sat down with Channel 10 reporters for her only on-camera interview.

"I don't have just one tragedy. I have two. The first is losing Christopher and the second is going through all this legal stuff and being convicted of it on top of it," she said.

This is what Milke looks like now, and to this day, she still maintains her innocence.

The next woman on Arizona's death row is Wendi Andriano.

Andriano and her husband managed the San Riva Apartments in Ahwatukee. Her husband was diagnosed with terminal cancer. Andriano was tired of caring for him, so she poisoned him.

When that wasn't working fast enough, she stabbed him and beat him to death with a bar stool.

Juan Martinez, the same man who is now trying to put Jodi Arias on death row, went after Wendi then. The same way he's going after Jodi now.

Andriano was convicted of premeditated murder in 2004.

Finally, Shawna Forde. She and her vigilante group burst into a home in southern Arizona, hoping to steal drug money to fund their anti-illegal immigrant activities. But there was no drug money, and she and her accomplices shot and killed a man and his 9-year-old daughter.

Three women, all found guilty of terrible crimes, all awaiting their final punishment.

All three of these women are still in various stages of appealing their cases. No execution date is set for any of them.

The last woman executed in Arizona was Eva Dugan back in 1930.

She was hanged, and the hangman made a mistake, and she was actually decapitated by the noose when she dropped through the trap door.

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