State of Oklahoma executes third death-row inmate of 2023

McALESTER, Okla. (KFOR) – The state of Oklahoma executed Anthony Sanchez on Thursday, September 21, at 10:19 a.m.

Sanchez is the third execution of 2023 to be carried out in Oklahoma.

In 1996, the body of OU Student, Juli Busken, was found at Lake Stanley Draper. She had been bound, raped, and shot in the back of the head. The 21-year-old had dreams of becoming a ballerina.

Juli Busken
Juli Busken

The case went cold, until 2004, when the OSBI found a possible DNA match on Busken’s clothes, to Anthony Sanchez. The then-26-year-old was locked up for burglary. His DNA had been entered into a DNA database.

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Ten years later, prosecutors said DNA evidence linked Sanchez to the crime.

Sanchez was convicted in 2006 and sentenced to death. He was scheduled to be executed on Thursday, September 21, after being on death row for 17 years.

Advocacy groups claimed they believed Buskin’s real killer was Sanchez’s father, Glen. Something Sanchez told News 4 he refused to believe.

Police sketch.
Police sketch.

“I love my dad, there’s no getting around that. I don’t think that he did it. I know I didn’t do it,” Anthony Sanchez told News 4 previously on a phone call. “Nobody wants to believe their father is a monster.”

In a recent letter to Rep. JJ Humphreys, a pro-death penalty republican who questions the validity of the DNA results, Attorney General Gentner Drummond said, “OSBI requested and received a sample of his blood from the Medical Examiner. The DNA profile developed from Glen Sanchez was not a match to the profile developed from Ms. Busken’s leotard.”

However, the group wants a new sample taken from Juli’s clothing, instead of going off the profile developed years ago, along with finger prints tested against Glen.

Sanchez’s team filed an application for post-conviction relief which was denied by the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals in April 2023.

RELATED STORY: “Nobody wants to believe their father is a monster.” Death row inmate speaks from cell

The execution of Sanchez was carried out on Thursday. His last meal was chicken fried steak, fried okra, mashed potatoes, apple pie and ice cream, hot roll, sweet iced tea. He told news 4 Tuesday “I probably won’t be able to eat it to tell you the truth.”

“If this is what makes the Busken’s happy and able to move on, I’m happy for ‘em. But I’m innocent. I didn’t kill their daughter.” he said.

Sanchez spoke with News 4 and said he didn’t want to have any of his family to witness the execution. “Nobody wants to see their son executed. And that’s why I don’t want nobody here.”

Attorney General Gentner Drummond made the following statement after Sanchez’s execution:

Justice was served today for Juli Busken nearly 27 years after her life tragically was taken. My hope is that today can bring some measure of peace to her family and friends.

Gentner Drummond, Oklahoma Attorney General

Oklahoma has carried out nine executions since continuing in 2021. The state has one more execution scheduled for 2023 after Sanchez.

Officials say Phillip Hancock is scheduled for death November 30 for the double-murder of 37-year-old Robert Jett and 57-year-old James Lynch in 2001.

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