Oklahoma executed a man for the murder of a dance student in 1996 that went unsolved for years.
Anthony Sanchez, 44, was pronounced dead by lethal injection at 10.19am at the Oklahoma State Penitentiary in McAlester.
Sanchez was given a death sentence for the murder of Juli Busken, a 21-year-old dance student at the University of Oklahoma. He maintained his innocence until his death, insisting that his now-deceased father was Busken’s murderer.
In December 1996, Busken was abducted from the parking lot of her Norman, Oklahoma apartment. She had just completed her final semester studying ballet.
Her body was found the next day in Lake Stanley Draper. She had been bound and raped before her assailant shot her in the back of the head.
Eight years later, investigators matched a DNA sample taken from Busken’s clothes to a man already in prison – Anthony Sanchez, who was serving time for burglary.
Prosecutors argued that the DNA had a one in 94trillion chance the DNA found on Busken’s clothing belonged to anyone other than Sanchez.
Sanchez was charged with capital murder. He was found guilty at trial in 2006,
Busken spent 17 years on Oklahoma’s death row. He maintained his innocence the entire time.
Sanchez insists the DNA is ‘fake’ or ‘fabricated,’ and instead said his own father, Glen Sanchez, confessed to the murder before his death.
‘I love my dad, there’s no getting around that,’ Sanchez told local station KFOR. ‘I don’t think that he did it. I know I didn’t do it. Nobody wants to believe their father is a monster.’
In April, the Oklahoma Court of Criminals rejected this defense as hearsay.
‘There is no conceivable doubt that Anthony Sanchez is a brutal rapist and murderer who is deserving of the state’s harshest punishment,’ said Oklahoma Attorney General Gentner Drummond.
Sanchez did not ask Oklahoma’s Pardon and Parole Board to review his case for a chance at clemency.
‘I’ve sat in my cell and I’ve watched inmate after inmate after inmate get clemency and get denied clemency,’ he told the Associated Press in a jailhouse interview. ‘Either way, it doesn’t go well for the inmates.’
Sanchez was executed shortly after 10.00am by a lethal injection using a cocktail of three drugs.
‘I’m innocent,’ Sanchez said before he was strapped to a gurney. ‘I didn’t kill nobody.’
For more stories like this, check our news page.
Get your need-to-know latest news, feel-good stories, analysis and more by signing up to Metro's News Updates newsletter2023-09-21T18:13:25Z dg43tfdfdgfd