22 September 2023 :
SEPTEMBER 21, 2023 - Anthony Sanchez, now 44, Hispanic, was executed.
Sanchez was pronounced dead at 10:19 a.m. on Thursday morning following a three-drug injection at the Oklahoma State Penitentiary in McAlester. Even though he maintained that he had nothing to do with the rape and killing of 21-year-old Juli Busken, he took the unusual step of opting not to present a clemency application to the state’s Pardon and Parole Board.
The young woman was abducted on Dec. 20, 1996, from the parking lot of her apartment complex. Her body was found that evening near Lake Stanley Draper in far southeastern Oklahoma City. She had been bound, raped and shot in the head.
“I’m innocent,” Sanchez said as he was strapped to a gurney inside the death chamber. “I didn’t kill nobody.”
Sanchez criticized his former attorneys and thanked his supporters, including his spiritual adviser who was in the chamber with him and the anti-death penalty group Death Penalty Action.
The case went unsolved for nearly a decade after Busken was killed, then investigators learned the name Anthony Sanchez.
Sanchez was serving time for a burglary conviction when DNA from sperm on Busken’s clothing at the crime scene was matched to him. He was convicted and sentenced to die in 2006.
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.
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.
Back in April, Sanchez challenged his conviction saying that his father admitted to killing Busken before his father committed suicide last year.
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.
Sanchez becomes the 3rd condemned inmate to be put to death this year in Oklahoma and the 122nd overall since the state resumed capital punishmen in 1990. Only Texas (583) has carried out more executions in the country since the US Supreme Court stated in Gregg v Georgia on July 2, 1976, that executions could resume after they stopped all executions in June, 1972.
Sanchez becomes the 18th condemned inmate to be put to death this year in the USA and the 1,576th overall since the nation resumed executions on January 17, 1977. The USA has now executed the same number of people as it did all of last year and more executions are set to occur before this year ends.