A person from Oklahoma who contends with execution in September for the 1996 murder of a University of Oklahoma dance student says he has little faith in the state’s Republican governor.

Anthony Sanchez was escorted into a Cleveland County courtroom for a preliminary hearing. The Oklahoma death row inmate schedules to be executed on September 2023 for the 1996 killing of a University of Oklahoma student. (Source: AP News)

The Possibility of Parole for Sanchez

According to the news released by AP News, a man named Anthony Sanchez, 44, told The Associated Press by phone from Oklahoma’s death row on Thursday that even if the five-member Pardon and Parole Board recommends mercy, Gov. Kevin Stitt will impossibly sign it

According to Sanchez, he was just sitting down inside his cell watching his inmates granted and denied clemency. He cited the recent execution of Bigler Stouffer and James Coddington after the board voted 3-2 for clemency, which Stitt ultimately denied, the men poured their hearts out. why would he want to be a part of a scenario similar to it, if all you are going to do is raise their expectation, he would prefer to prove his innocence in the court instead, he explained.

Stitt did grant clemency once, commuting Julius Jones’ death row sentence to life in prison without a possibility of parole until 2021. Jones’ case drew the interest of reality TV star Kim Kardashian, as well as professional players with Oklahoma links, such as NBA stars Russell Westbrook, Blake Griffin, and Trae Young, and NFL quarterback Baker Mayfield. They all pleaded with Stitt to commute Jones’ death sentence and save his life.

Sanchez has indicated that he is no longer working with his court-ordered lawyer; nevertheless, Sanchez’s attorney, Mark Barrett, has stated that he was selected by a federal judge. According to Barrett, if they were hired and the client no longer wanted them, then that would be the end. If there is an appointment, the judge has to release Sanchez from his appointment.

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Pieces of Evidence Linking to Sanchez as the Suspect

In April, the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals denied Sanchez’s attorneys’ request for an evidentiary hearing in which they alleged Sanchez’s late father, Thomas Glen Sanchez, was the actual killer of Juli Busken, 21 years old. Busken, from Benton, Arkansas, had just finished her final semester at OU when she was stolen from her Norman apartment complex on December 20, 1996. That evening, her body was discovered. She’d been raped and fatally shot in the head.

The homicide went unresolved for years until DNA from her clothing linked Anthony Sanchez to the crime. He had been found guilty of rape and murder in 2006 and condemned to death. A private detective hired by an anti-death punishment group claims the DNA evidence was corrupted and that an inexperienced lab technician misled a jury about the strength of the evidence.

Former Cleveland County District Attorney Tim Kuykendall, however, has stated that there was other evidence linking Anthony Sanchez to the murder, including ballistic evidence and a shoe print discovered at the crime site. Kuykendall said he acknowledges that a lot of time was wasted investigating the crime, but all of the evidence was leading to Anthony Sanchez as the suspect.

Oklahoma reinstated the capital sentence in 2021, following a six-year hiatus caused by concerns about its execution procedures. Until difficulties in 2014 and 2015, Oklahoma had one of the busiest death chambers in the country. In September 2015, Richard Glossip was about to be executed when prison officials realized they had received the wrong deadly medication. It was then discovered that the same incorrect medication had been used to kill a convict in January 2015.

Following a botched execution in April 2014, convict Clayton Lockett battled on a gurney before dying 43 minutes into his lethal injection and after the state’s prison head ordered executioners to cease, the medication mix-ups occurred.

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