Oklahoma death row inmate says his father killed OU student

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An Oklahoma death row inmate convicted of raping and killing a University of Oklahoma dance student in 1996 is seeking to have his death sentence vacated, claiming in a court filing that her late father is the real killer.

Lawyers for 44-year-old Anthony Sánchez have asked the Court of Criminal Appeals for an evidentiary hearing and say their convictions and sentences should be set aside. In their filing, the attorneys allege that Sanchez's father, Thomas Glen Sanchez, is the real killer. Thomas Sanchez died last year. An ex-girlfriend of Thomas Sánchez affirms that he confessed more than once to having killed 21-year-old Juli Busken, but that she was afraid to denounce him until after her death.

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

The murder went unsolved for years until DNA recovered from his clothing linked Anthony Sánchez to the crime. He was found guilty of rape and murder, and sentenced to death in 2006.

Former Cleveland County District Attorney Tim Kuykendall said that while the DNA evidence was perhaps the most compelling, there was other evidence linking Anthony Sanchez to the murder, including ballistics evidence and a shoe print found on the crime scene.

“I know from spending a lot of time on that case, there isn't a single piece of evidence that points to anyone other than Anthony Sanchez,” Kuykendall said. “I don't care if a hundred or a thousand people confess to killing Juli Busken.

"I think this is just a ploy by his family and the defense team to downplay his guilt."

Anthony Sanchez is currently in the Oklahoma State Penitentiary in McAlester. He is scheduled to be executed by lethal injection on September 21.

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Nathan Rivera
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