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Oklahoma death row inmate convicted of murdering college dance student claims his father is the actual killer

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An Oklahoma death row inmate convicted of raping and killing a University of Oklahoma dance student in 1996 is seeking to have his death sentence thrown out, alleging in a court filing that his late father is the actual killer.

Attorneys for Anthony Sanchez, 44, asked the Court of Criminal Appeals for an evidentiary hearing, and say his convictions and sentences should be vacated. In their filing, attorneys allege that Sanchez's father, Thomas Glen Sanchez, is the actual killer of 21-year-old Juli Busken.

In 1996, police discovered the body of Juli Busken, a student at the University of Oklahoma. She was raped and murdered. CBS

Thomas Glen Sanchez died last year. A former girlfriend of Thomas Glen Sanchez claims he confessed more than once to killing Busken, but that she was afraid to come forward until after he died. 

"Glen said more than once that he 'should have done a better job' of killing Ms. Busken," the girlfriend wrote in 2021, the Oklahoman reported.

"Once he said he ... enjoyed watching her die," she wrote, according to the newspaper. "Glen said that he regretted Anthony was on death row for something Glen did. But he said that Anthony was tough and could deal with being locked up, whereas Glen wasn't strong enough to adapt to being incarcerated."

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

The slaying 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.

"I'm so thankful that we've got DNA now that will take any element of doubt out of it," Juli's father, Bud Busken, told "60 Minutes" in 2004.

Former Cleveland County District Attorney Tim Kuykendall said that while the DNA evidence was perhaps the most compelling, there was other evidence that linked Anthony Sanchez to the killing, including ballistic evidence and a shoe print found at the crime scene.

"I know from spending a lot of time on that case, there is not one piece of evidence that pointed to anyone other than Anthony Sanchez," Kuykendall said. "I don't care if a hundred people or a thousand people confess to killing Juli Busken.

"I think this is just a ploy by his family and defense team to detract from his guilt."

Anthony Sanchez is currently housed at the Oklahoma State Penitentiary in McAlester. He is scheduled to be put to death by lethal injection on Sept. 21.

Last month, Oklahoma executed Scott James Eizember -- the eighth execution in Oklahoma since the state resumed the practice in 2021.

According to the Death Penalty Information Center, Oklahoma has 42 inmates on death row, and four inmates have been granted clemency.

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