OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) — With the scheduled execution of Anthony Sanchez just two weeks away, the campaign to #FreeAnthonySanchez is shifting gears to call attention to a call by Anthony’s new legal team that they need more time to process newly uncovered evidence and newly developed witnesses in the case.

Sanchez, 45, has been on death row for 17 years, after being convicted of killing OU student, Juli Busken. In 1996, the 21-year-old’s body was found at Lake Stanley Draper. Investigators said she was sexually assaulted and shot in the head. Ten years later, prosecutors said DNA evidence linked Sanchez to the crime. He told News 4 two weeks ago that night he was at his Moore home with family. He believed his father was there as well.

Juli Busken
Juli Busken

The court says that evidence showed that DNA found on Busken’s body was overwhelmingly connected to Sanchez. It also cited evidence that a call made from Busken’s cell phone went to Sanchez’s former girlfriend after the murder.

The Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals denied Sanchez’s appeal and instead, it affirmed the original jury’s judgment and sentence:

“Counsel further asserts that ‘[a]side from the DNA’- a very considerable aside, indeed, as we shall see—the evidence did not ‘fit’ Anthony Sanchez. He argues the various eyewitness descriptions of the suspect, the lack of Anthony Sanchez’s fingerprints inside Juli Busken’s car after the murder, and the absence of incriminating statements by Anthony Sanchez are evidentiary ‘anomalies’ indicating his innocence. Counsel argues that Glen Sanchez’s alleged confessions are clear and convincing evidence of Anthony Sanchez’s innocence, requiring reversal of his murder conviction or the death sentence, or at minimum, additional discovery, and an evidentiary hearing.

We respectfully disagree. This Court previously determined that ‘[t]he evidence presented at trial tends to show that [Anthony Sanchez] forced Ms. Busken into her own car around 5:30 a.m., sexually assaulted her in an unknown location, and murdered her on the shoreline of Lake Stanley Draper around 7:00 a.m. on December 20, 1996.”

“I thank the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals for their rejection of Anthony Sanchez’s appeal,” Attorney General Gentner Drummond said.

“Not only has Sanchez refused to admit his guilt, he even tried to accuse his father of committing the murder—a desperate and cowardly accusation that DNA testing has proven to be false. The Court’s ruling brings us closer to finally seeing that justice is served for Juli Busken. My thoughts are with Juli’s family and friends as the execution date approaches.”

The campaign for Sanchez will add a phone and petition drive urging Governor Stitt to grant a 60 day reprieve in order to allow time for additional evidence analysis and legal proceedings regarding evidence and witnesses previously unavailable, including:

  • Multiple eyewitnesses who have come forward who saw Glen Sanchez with Juli Busken on the morning of her murder.
  • A new photograph of someone who could have possibly been with Glen Sanchez that morning.
  • Multiple individuals familiar with the original investigation of the crime have come forward to share their early suspicions of Glen Sanchez and how those suspicions were silenced.
  • Anthony’s legal team and investigator are still seeking access to at least 42 boxes of evidence that have not been contemporaneously engaged.
  • Two of the earliest defense investigators have come forward to speak about how Glen Sanchez tried to manipulate the case away from any questions of his culpability.
  • One witness has come forward who claims that Glen Sanchez used a gun to try to assault her in 1995.
  • Discovery of a photograph of a bootprint similar in size and shape to that worn by Glen Sanchez in the sand near where Juli Buskin was killed.
  • Numerous new tips continue to be submitted via the established tip line that need to be processed and evaluated.

“For years, I’ve known Governor Stitt to be an honorable man,” said David Ballard, Chief Investigator in the Anthony Sanchez case.

“Repeatedly, I’ve seen the Governor courageously make tough decisions for the betterment of Oklahoma, even when the winds of public opinion blew a different direction.  At this hour, I’m asking the Governor to make another tough decision. Anthony Sanchez faces execution on September 21.  While I wholeheartedly believe in his innocence, I’m not asking the Governor to proclaim Sanchez innocent. As the chief investigator on the Sanchez case, I’m simply asking for the opportunity to investigate a wide variety of new evidence that has been revealed in recent weeks, even as more new evidence continues to come in. If the Governor exercises his power to grant a 60-day reprieve, I have no doubt that my team will be able to engage the totality of the evidence before Sanchez could be rescheduled for execution. Surely, life is too precious for us to simply let the clock run out on possibly exculpatory evidence.”

Sanchez’s spiritual advisor Rev. Dr. Hood, is set to begin a pilgrimage with thousands of petition signatures and a letter from Anthony Sanchez, walking more than 120 miles to stop the execution walk from McAlester to the Governor’s Office starting Friday at 10:00 a.m. Hood and his supporters expect to arrive at the Capitol to deliver the letter and accumulated petition signatures at approximately 4:00 p.m. on Wednesday, September 13.  

WHO: Rev. Dr. Jeff Hood, Death Penalty Action & Red Letter Christians

WHAT: Press Conference/Photo Op

WHEN: 10:00 a.m. CDT, Friday, September 8, 2023

WHERE: “Thou Shalt Not Kill” Billboard  located at US Highway 270, just West of 4100 Rd. (Near the Sonic restaurant)  

This event is part of the #FreeAthonySanchez campaign.

Sanchez’s execution date is set for September 21. Until then, Sanchez said he’ll keep fighting.