Stop the Execution of Anthony Sanchez in Oklahoma

Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt & the Pardon and Parole Board

Stop the Execution of Anthony Sanchez in Oklahoma

Anthony Sanchez, a member of the Choctaw Nation, is scheduled to be executed in Oklahoma on April 6, 2023 for the 1996 murder of Juli Busken. The bigger question: IS ANTHONY SANCHEZ INNOCENT?

[Petition language is below.]

BACKGROUND

On December 20, 1996, Juli Busken was abducted from her apartment and subsequently raped and murdered.  Her body was found the next day on the bank of a lake about 15 miles from her apartment.  Foreign DNA was found on her body.

Six years after the original crime, Anthony Sanchez was arrested for the rape of a former girlfriend and forced to give his DNA per Oklahoma law. Investigators claimed that Sanchez’s DNA was a perfect match to the DNA found on Busken’s person. With the DNA as primary evidence (along with a mosaic of secondary circumstantial evidence), Sanchez was arrested, charged, convicted and sentenced to death for the crime.

Since the conviction, Sanchez has raised numerous issues about his conviction, including the fact that DNA evidence in the case was handled by an employee overseen by disgraced Oklahoma City Police Department chemist Joyce Gilchrist*. Gilchrist was fired from her job based on having helped prosecutors secure numerous false convictions by manipulating DNA evidence.  

According to multiple alibi witnesses, Anthony Sanchez was nowhere near Norman on the night that Juli Busken was killed (he was actually multiple towns away). Yet, prosecutors suppressed such evidence to create a narrative that Sanchez was guilty (8 years after the crime). However, one of the pieces of evidence that they couldn’t manipulate was the original police sketch of the eyewitness. When compared with a picture of Sanchez contemporary to 1996, the two sketches don’t look anything alike.

Sanchez is a member of the Choctaw Nation, whose members and leaders have expressed opposition to executions. While he was convicted of a crime that occurred off of Choctaw land, Sanchez is facing execution on his Native land, because the Oklahoma State Penitentiary and its execution chamber are on Choctaw territory, without the consent of the Choctaw people, who have repeatedly expressed concerns about executions taking place on their land.

Issues of concern:

  1. Questions regarding evidence collection.
  2. Questions regarding Joyce Gilchrist’s supervisory participation in DNA examination.
  3. Sanchez was tried before the jury in shackles, which can create bias.
  4. Concerns about Sanchez’s representation.
  5. The execution is taking place on Choctaw land.

Please sign the petition asking Governor Stitt and the Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board to do everything within their power to stop this execution.


* Around the time that Juli Busken’s DNA was being processed, supervisor Joyce Gilchrist was responsible for, “(1) missing evidence in numerous cases; (2) contamination issues due to evidence being ‘stacked all over the chemist’s area’; (3) systematic destruction of rape evidence after two years, well before the statute of limitations expired; (4) lack of peer review in many cases; and (5) the absence of proficiency testing, although such testing had been paid for,” – In one of the Oklahoma City Police Department investigative memorandums written by Captain Byron Boshell, Lab Sevices to Major Garold Spencer, Investigations Bureau (2001)

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To: Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt & the Pardon and Parole Board
From: [Your Name]

Anthony Sanchez is scheduled to be executed in Oklahoma on April 6, 2023 for the 1996 murder of Juli Busken.

Since his conviction, Sanchez has raised numerous issues about his conviction, including the fact that DNA evidence in the case was handled by an employee overseen by disgraced Oklahoma City Police Department chemist Joyce Gilchrist. Gilchrist was fired from her job based on having helped prosecutors secure numerous false convictions by manipulating DNA evidence.

Please also consider the fact that Sanchez is a member of the Choctaw Nation, whose members and leaders have expressed opposition to executions. While he was convicted of a crime that occurred off of Choctaw land, Sanchez is facing execution on his Native land, because the Oklahoma State Penitentiary and its execution chamber are on Choctaw territory, without the consent of the Choctaw people, who have repeatedly expressed concerns about executions taking place on their land​.

Issues of concern:

* Questions regarding evidence collection.
* Questions regarding Joyce Gilchrist’s supervisory participation in DNA examination.
* Sanchez was tried before the jury in shackles, which can create bias.
* Concerns about Sanchez’s representation.
* The execution is taking place on Choctaw land.

We, the undersigned, ask that you do everything within your power to ensure Mr. Sanchez does not face execution and to seek a path to clemency in the case.

Thank you for time and attention to this urgent and serious matter.