‘I DESERVE TO BE FREE’: DEATH ROW INMATE PLEADS FOR REEVALUATION OF DNA EVIDENCE
News 9 - August 10, 2023 6:43 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)
A man on death row for raping and murdering an OU ballerina in 1996 talked publicly Wednesday.
With his execution looming, the campaign for Anthony Sanchez continues to call out for a reevaluation of DNA evidence. Now, News 9 is hearing claims of innocence directly from Anthony Sanchez.
Sanchez was sentenced to death in 2006 for the murder of Juli Busken, a crime he has long claimed he didn’t commit.
Why is there a campaign to review DNA evidence?
His supporters say faulty DNA is to blame, while the Attorney General stands by the conviction.
What did Sanchez say in his statement Wednesday?
“In 1996, Juli Busken was murdered by a monster,” Sanchez said in a recorded statement. “But that monster wasn’t me.”
The group campaigning for his release shared this recording during a public press conference.
“I would not be where I am at right now if the truth had been a requirement,” Sanchez said. “My lawyers did not push back on the faulty evidence.”
His supporters want the DNA to be reprocessed in order to rule out other potential suspects.
“If there is even a chance that we maybe got it wrong we need to know,” Investigator David Ballard, a member of the team campaigning to free Sanchez, said.
What are state representatives saying about the case?
House Representative Justin Humphrey chimed in last week, sending a letter urging Attorney General Drummond to take another look at the DNA based on tips he had received from the Free Anthony Sanchez campaign group.
Drummond responded firmly in his stance and said he has the, “utmost confidence in the DNA results used to convict Mr. Sanchez.”
Representative Humphrey later clarified in a statement that there was no conflict between himself and the Attorney General, and they were “working toward the same goal.”
“One of the questions that’s never been answered is that the DNA chart that was produced showed that Anthony’s DNA was a 30 percent match to Juli Busken. That shouldn’t happen unless you’re family,” Ballard said.
Drummond said this is a “complete misunderstanding of kinship testing and proves nothing.”
What’s next in the case?
Sanchez plans to continue to push back as his execution date draws near.
“Enough is enough. I deserve to be free,” he said. “I’m asking the people of Oklahoma to hear my cry.”
Drummond’s office said today they “believe beyond any doubt that Anthony Sanchez is guilty and justice will be done for Juli Busken on September 21st.”
Sept. 21 is the day Anthony Sanchez is currently set to be executed.
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