As Execution Approaches, Man Says “I’m Not A Killer”

An Oklahoma death row convict named Anthony Sanchez, age 21, is scheduled to be executed for the 1996 kidnapping and murder of 21-year-old dancer Jewell “Juli” Busken.

On September 21, Oklahoma will carry out the execution of 44-year-old Anthony Castillo Sanchez by lethal injection. He claims that the crime that landed him on death row over two decades ago was utterly unrelated to him. 

The Combined DNA Index System linked Sanchez to DNA found on Busken’s clothing two years before when Busken was serving a prison sentence in Oklahoma for second-degree burglary. 

He claimed it was a nightmare when Sanchez was accused of killing Busken. When Busken was slain, he was 18 years old, had never heard of the man, and felt as though the world had just fallen apart as he prepared to leave prison and get on with his life.

He said that during his trial, he was made to appear to be a monster. His lawyers asked for an evidentiary hearing, claiming that Thomas Glen Sanchez, his late father, was the real murderer. 

According to the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals, the charges were hearsay and insufficient to disprove Sanchez’s guilt in light of the “compelling evidence” already in existence. 

After receiving a sample of Sanchez Sr.’s blood from the medical examiner’s office, the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation conducted new DNA testing and concluded that the DNA did not match that from Busken’s leotard.

According to Sanchez and the case’s supporters, the DNA evidence in the case was twisted and incorrect, and other evidence in the matter cannot be firmly linked to Sanchez. 

Sanchez’s spiritual advisor, the Rev. Jeff Hood, and Abraham Bonowitz, the executive director of Death Penalty Action, plead with Oklahoma politicians to stand up for Sanchez.

Sanchez says he does not want to be executed for an act he did not commit.