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Oklahoma death row inmate rejects chance for clemency, takes parting shot at Republican governor

Despite maintaining his innocence for the 1996 murder of a University of Oklahoma student, Anthony Sanchez said he is not planning on pursuing a clemency hearing.

An Oklahoma death row inmate convicted of raping and killing a University of Oklahoma dance student in 1996 plans to proceed with his death sentence, rejecting his chance for a clemency hearing. 

Anthony Sanchez, 44, told the Associated Press in a telephone interview Thursday that he does not suspect Gov. Kevin Stitt, a Republican, would spare his life.

“I’ve sat in my cell, and I’ve watched inmate after inmate after inmate get clemency and get denied clemency,” Sanchez said. “Either way, it doesn’t go well for the inmates.”


Sanchez cited the recent cases of Bigler Stouffer and James Coddington, both of whom were executed after a five-member Pardon and Parole Board recommended clemency in a 3-2 vote. It was later ultimately rejected by Stitt. 

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“They went out there and poured their hearts out, man,” Sanchez told AP. “Why would I want to be a part of anything like that, if you’re going to sit there and get these guys’ hopes up?”

“Why wouldn’t I try to prove my innocence through the courts,” he added.

In 2021, the Republican governor granted clemency to Julius Jones, commuting his death sentence to life in prison without parole.

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In April, the Oklahoma Court of Criminals rejected Sanchez’s plea of innocence. 

Sanchez has maintained that his father, Thomas Sanchez, was 21-year-old Juli Busken’s actual killer. 

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Previously, Thomas’ former girlfriend alleged that he confessed to killing the college student prior to his death by suicide. The court ruled that the allegations were hearsay and not enough to overcome “compelling evidence” of Anthony Sanchez’s guilt.

Busken’s death went unsolved for years until DNA recovered from her clothes linked Anthony Sanchez to the crime. He was convicted of rape and murder — and sentenced to die in 2006.

She was abducted on Dec. 20, 1996, from her apartment complex in Norman, Oklahoma. Her body was found that evening in southeast Oklahoma City. She had been raped and shot in the head. 

Since Sanchez plans to reject a chance at clemency, he is expected to be killed by lethal injection on September 21, 2023. 

Governor Stitt’s office did not immediately respond to Fox News Digital’s request for comment.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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