Court Rejects Oklahoma Inmate’s Claim Father Killed Woman

Mike Seals - April 14, 2023 6:36 am

FILE - Anthony Sanchez, right, is escorted into a Cleveland County, Okla., courtroom for a preliminary hearing in Norman, Okla., Feb. 23, 2005. An Oklahoma appeals court has rejected the death row inmate's claim that his father was the actual killer of a University of Oklahoma dance student in 1996. The Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals' decision on Thursday, April 13, 2023 paves the way for Anthony Sanchez to be executed in September. (Jaconna Aguirre/The Oklahoman via AP, File)

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — The Oklahoma Court of Criminals on Thursday rejected a death row inmate’s claim that his father was the actual killer of a University of Oklahoma dance student in 1996.

The court’s decision paves the way for Anthony Sanchez, 44, to be executed by lethal injection on Sept. 21.

Attorneys for Sanchez said in a court filing that his late father, Thomas Sanchez, was the actual killer. A former girlfriend of Thomas Sanchez, who died by suicide last year, has said he confessed to killing 21-year-old Juli Busken, but that she was too afraid to come forward until after he died.

But the court determined the allegations were hearsay and not enough to overcome “compelling evidence” of Anthony Sanchez’s guilt. Sanchez’s attorney did not immediately comment on the ruling.

Busken, from Benton, Arkansas, had just completed her last semester at OU when she was abducted on Dec. 20, 1996, from her apartment complex in Norman. Her body was found that evening in southeast Oklahoma City. She had been raped and shot in the head.

The slaying went unsolved for years until DNA recovered from her clothes linked Anthony Sanchez to the crime. He was convicted of rape and murder — and sentenced to die in 2006.

 

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