Ch 9 - September 21, 2023 10:48 am

FILE - Anthony Sanchez, right, is escorted into a Cleveland County courtroom for a preliminary hearing in Norman, Okla., on Feb. 23, 2005. The Oklahoma death row inmate convicted of raping and killing a University of Oklahoma dance student in 1996 is seeking to have his death sentence thrown out, alleging in a court filing Friday, Feb. 3, 2023, that his late father is the actual killer. (Jaconna Aguirre/The Oklahoman via AP, File)


The State of Oklahoma executed Anthony Sanchez on Thursday morning who was convicted of kidnapping, raping, and murdering a 21-year-old University of Oklahoma student in 1996.

Sanchez was executed by lethal injection at 10:19 on Thursday morning. It was the state’s 10th execution since 2021.

Story Timeline: Man Faces Execution In Death Of OU Student

Juli Busken was a ballerina at OU. Prosecutors said Sanchez kidnapped her from her apartment and she was found dead at Lake Stanley Draper.

The case went unsolved for nearly a decade after Busken was killed, then investigators learned the name Anthony Sanchez. Sanchez maintained his innocence for nearly 20 years on death row. But the prosecutors said there is overwhelming evidence that Sanchez is the killer, including DNA.

Anthony Sanchez Execution

Prosecutors said Sanchez kidnapped Busken from her Norman apartment, forced her into a car then drove her to Lake Stanley Draper, where Sanchez raped her and shot her in the back of the head. Cleveland County prosecutors said there was circumstantial evidence tying Sanchez to the brutal crime, but the smoking gun was Sanchez’s DNA on Busken’s clothes.

The DNA results showed that there was a one in 94 quadrillion chance it could be someone other than Sanchez, prosecutors said. Back in April, Sanchez challenged his conviction saying that his father admitted to killing Busken before his father committed suicide last year.

In a recorded prison phone call, Sanchez said Busken was killed by a monster but that monster wasn’t him. The U.S. Supreme Court denied a pause to Sanchez’s execution earlier this week. Sanchez’s supporters said faulty DNA is to blame for his conviction. But Attorney General Gentner Drummond stands by the conviction and said all evidence points directly to Sanchez.

Drummond said it was time for Busken’s family to get justice.


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