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OKLAHOMA CITY – The Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals has denied a request for a new hearing for a 39-year-old man who was sentenced to death in the 1996 killing of a University of Oklahoma ballerina.

The appeals court handed down the decision Tuesday in the case of Anthony Sanchez, who was convicted of first-degree murder in the death of 21-year-old Juli Busken of Benton, Arkansas.

Busken had completed her last semester at OU when she was abducted on Dec. 20, 1996. Her body was found that evening in southeast Oklahoma City. She had been raped and shot in the head.

Among other things, Sanchez claims his race and the victim’s gender were factors in the death penalty he received. His attorney, Mark Barrett, says he’s disappointed by the court’s decision.