OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. (KFOR) – Attorneys and the spiritual advisor of an Oklahoma death row inmate believe their client is innocent. They claim the actual perpetrator of the crime is the suspect’s father.

Anthony Sanchez, Courtesy Oklahoma Department of Corrections

The attorneys for Anthony Sanchez filed for a new evidentiary hearing on Friday. Sanchez is set to be executed on September 21, 2023.

“The family of Juli Busken deserves to know the truth. And I have no doubt that the truth is that Anthony Sanchez did not kill their daughter,” said Rev. Dr. Jeff Hood, Sanchez’s spiritual advisor.

In 1996, prosecutors said OU student Juli Busken, vanished after dropping her friend off at the airport. Hours later, she was found dead at Lake Stanley Draper. Prosecutors said the 21-year-old had been abducted, sexually assaulted, and shot.

“She was tied up and she was shot execution style,” said Hood.

Juli Busken

The suspect was on the loose until 2004, when an OSBI agent allegedly connected Anthony Sanchez in the DNA Index System Database with Busken’s homicide.

“This is right around the time that everything’s happening with Joyce Gilchrist in Oklahoma City, with them manipulating results,” said Hood.

Hood said investigators claimed Sanchez was robbing cars, to pay for Christmas presents, when he saw the 21-year-old and jumped at the opportunity.

“It doesn’t make sense for someone to, you know, just all of a sudden decide, ‘Oh, I’m going to, I’m just going to rape and kill someone,’” said Hood.

Sanchez’s team said the only thing linking their client to the crime was an alleged “cold DNA match.” There were also questions about footprints and bullets found at the scene.

“There were like, there were no fingerprints in the car. They found 40 something fingerprints and none of them matched Anthony,” said Hood.

The legal team also said there was another red flag, a sketch of the suspect, made after investigators talked to witnesses.

“Anthony doesn’t have the facial structure, the facial makeup that looks like this, this sketch. But we do see with Glenn, Anthony’s dad, a very similar facial structure,” said Hood.

Then, Hood said a big break in the case surfaced a few months ago.

“Anthony’s stepmother revealed to me that before Glenn committed suicide, on multiple instances he had confessed to killing Juli Busken,” said Hood. “He would say, you know, ‘I should have done a better job of hiding that body.’”

Sanchez has always maintained his innocence even after the jury handed down the verdict in 2006.

“[Sanchez] turned around and said, ‘Mr. and Mrs. Busken, I did not kill your daughter.’ He was telling the truth,” said Hood. “The state of Oklahoma has left Anthony Sanchez to rot on death row, and now is the time to correct this mistake that has been done to him, that has been done to the family of Julie Baskin and let him free him.”

“Today, my legal team filed an application for post-conviction relief on my behalf proclaiming my innocence. The family of Juli Busken deserves to know the truth. I’m so thankful to my spiritual advisor Rev. Dr. Jeff Hood, attorney Mark Barrett, attorney Greg Gardner, investigator David Ballard and his team, friends Alli Sullivan & Abe Bonowitz of Death Penalty Action, and a number of others for helping bring this moment about.” 

Anthony Sanchez, death-row inmate

News 4 asked the state’s new attorney general, Gentner Drummond, for comment. We’re told the office doesn’t usually comment on pending litigation.

News 4 also reached out to the Busken family online and by phone, we did not hear back.