Police revealed the last words of a man executed by the state of Oklahoma Thursday for the rape and murder of an Oklahoma University dance student in 1996, the New York Post reported.
Authorities administered a three-drug injection to Anthony Sanchez, 44, and pronounced him dead at 10:19 a.m. at the Oklahoma State Penitentiary in McAlester, according to the Post. Sanchez, who criticized his former attorneys and thanked his supporters, said, “I’m innocent. I didn’t kill anybody,” as he was strapped to a gurney in the death chamber, the Post reported. (RELATED: Man Convicted Of Murder In 22-Year-Old Cold Case)
— New York Post (@nypost) September 21, 2023
Sanchez was convicted of killing 21-year-old Juli Busken, a University of Oklahoma student, who had just completed her final semester before her abduction from her apartment complex Dec. 20, 1996, Fox News reported. The crime went unresolved for years until DNA found at the crime scene matched Sanchez’, who had been serving time for burglary, the outlet reported.
Busken, whose body was found bound, raped and shot in the head near a lake outside Oklahoma City, had performed as a ballerina at OU, Fox News reported. After authorities matched DNA from sperm on Busken’s clothing to Sanchez, he was convicted and sentenced to die in 2006, the Post reported.
Sanchez has long proclaimed his innocence and did so again earlier this year in a phone call to the Associated Press from death row, according to the Post.
“That is fabricated DNA,” Sanchez said. “That is false DNA. That is not my DNA. I’ve been saying that since day one.”
Sanchez’s attorney, Eric Allen, claimed he needed to examine more evidence and requested a stay of execution in federal court, the Post reported. The court rejected the request shortly before Thursday’s execution.
No members of Busken’s family attended the execution, but state Attorney General Gentner Drummond said he had spoken to them several times in the months leading up to the execution, Fox News reported.
“Juli was murdered 26 years, nine months and one day ago. The family has found closure and peace,” Drummond said.
Sanchez is the tenth inmate executed in Oklahoma since the state resumed capital punishment in 2021, according to the Post.