Anthony Sanchez, 44, on death row in Oklahoma, was executed for the 1996 rape and murder of a 21-year-old ballerina at 10:19 a.m. Thursday by lethal injection.
Sanchez received a series of three injections from the Oklahoma Department of Corrections, noting the victim’s family was not present.
The 44-year-old was sentenced to death after being convicted of the heinous crime against University of Oklahoma student Juli Basken, whom he kidnapped, sexually assaulted, tied up and shot in the head. head to Lake Stanley Draper.
His last meal was chicken fried steak, fried okra, mashed potatoes, apple pie and ice cream, hot roll and sweet iced tea, recounting KFOR Tuesday: “I probably won’t be able to eat it, to be honest.”
Despite a bullet, DNA evidence, a footprint, and a sketch of the suspect that convinced the jury of his guilt, Sánchez maintained his innocence until the execution but did not seek clemency, saying he there was “little hope”.
As he was strapped to the gurney, Sanchez’s last words were: “I am innocent.” I didn’t kill anyone.
Some reports said he added that his attorneys were “the worst attorneys in the state of Oklahoma” and that he was “sorry to anyone who has them as attorneys.”
Anthony Sanchez, 44, on death row in Oklahoma, was executed for the 1996 rape and murder of a 21-year-old ballerina at 10:19 a.m. by lethal injection.
His last meal was chicken fried steak, fried okra, mashed potatoes, apple pie and ice cream, hot cross bun and sweet iced tea.
Earlier this week, in an interview with KFOR, Sanchez said, “If that’s what makes the Buskens happy and able to move forward, I’m happy for them.” But I am innocent. I did not kill their daughter,” he added to the media.
Sánchez also told the outlet that he did not want any member of his family to witness the execution.
“No one wants to see their son executed and that’s why I don’t want anyone here.”
The case remained unsolved for years until DNA from the crime scene was matched to Sanchez, who was serving a prison sentence for burglary.
Although he maintained that he had nothing to do with Busken’s murder, he took unusual step for choosing not to apply for clemency to the State Pardons and Parole Board, which many consider it the last chance to spare his life.
Shortly before his execution, the United States Supreme Court rejected a request for a stay of execution brought by his new lawyer, Eric Allen, of Columbus, Ohio.
Juli Busken (photo), a graduate dance student at the University of Oklahoma, was found kidnapped from her apartment, raped and murdered in Oklahoma City in 1996. She was shot in the back of the head with a caliber firearm .22, according to court documents.
Allen had said he needed more time to review the evidence in the case.
Busken, a Benton, Arkansasnative had just finished her final semester of college when she was kidnapped on Dec. 20, 1996, from the parking lot of her Norman apartment complex.
Busken had performed as a ballerina in several dance performances during her tenure at OU and was commemorated on campus with a dance scholarship in her name at the College of Fine Arts.
Years later, Sanchez was serving time for burglary when DNA from semen on Busken’s clothing at the crime scene was matched to him. He was convicted and sentenced to death in 2006.
Sanchez has long maintained his innocence and did so again in a phone call to The Associated Press earlier this year from death row. “It’s engineered DNA,” Sanchez said. “It’s fake DNA. It’s not my DNA. I’ve been saying it since day one.
He told the AP he declined to seek clemency because even when the five-member Pardon and Parole Board takes the rare step of recommending it, Gov. Kevin is unlikely to Stitt grants it.
“I sat in my cell and watched inmate after inmate after inmate get clemency and be denied clemency,” Sanchez said. “It’s not going well for the inmates anyway.”
Oklahoma Attorney General Gentner Drummond argued that DNA evidence unequivocally linked Sanchez to Busken’s murder.
A sample of Anthony Sanchez’s DNA “was identical to the profiles developed from the semen on Busken’s panties and leotard,” Drummond wrote last month in a letter to a state official who was asked about Sanchez’s conviction.
Governor Kevin Stitt (photo dated June 14, 2023) has only granted clemency once. Sanchez said there was “little hope” that the state’s Republican governor, Kevin Stitt, would spare his life.
Supporters of Oklahoma death row inmate Anthony Sanchez proclaim his innocence during a news conference at the Oklahoma Capitol in Oklahoma City, May 25, 2023.
Drummond added that there was no indication that either profile was mixed with another individual’s DNA and that the odds of randomly selecting an individual with the same genetic profile were 1 in 94 trillion among Hispanics in the southwest.
“There is no doubt that Anthony Sánchez is a brutal rapist and murderer who deserves the harshest punishment in the state,” Drummond said in a recent statement.
A private investigator hired by an anti-death penalty group claimed that DNA evidence may have been contaminated and that an inexperienced lab technician improperly communicated the strength of the evidence to the jury.
Former Cleveland County Prosecutor Tim Kuykendall, who was the county’s top prosecutor when Sanchez went on trial, said that while the DNA evidence was the most compelling at trial, there was other evidence linking Sanchez to the murder , including ballistic evidence and a shoe print. found at the crime scene.
“I know, having spent a lot of time on this case, that there is no evidence that points to anyone other than Anthony Sanchez,” Kuykendall said recently.
“I don’t care if a hundred or a thousand people confess to killing Juli Busken.”
Oklahoma began using the death penalty again in 2021, ending a six-year moratorium sparked by concerns about its execution methods.
The state had one of the busiest death chambers in the country until problems arose in 2014 and 2015.
Richard Glossip was hours away from being executed in September 2015 when prison officials realized they had been given the wrong deadly drug.
It was later learned that the same erroneous drug was used to execute an inmate in January 2015.