Oklahoma Reschedules Execution of Anthony Sanchez From April 6, 2023, to September 21, 2023

Anthony Sanchez, Oklahoma 

Updated: Monday, March 20, 2023

Anthony SanchezAnthony Sanchez was scheduled to be executed on Thursday, April 6, 2023, at the Oklahoma State Penitentiary in McAlester, Oklahoma.  His execution has been rescheduled to Thursday, September 21, 2023.  Forty-four-year-old Anthony is convicted of murdering 21-year-old Jewell “Juli” Busken on December 20, 1996, in Norman, Oklahoma.  Anthony has spent the last 22 years on Oklahoma’s death row.

Jewell Jean “Juli” Busken had recently completed her studies at the University of Oklahoma in ballet and was preparing to return home to Arkansas and enroll in graduate school.  On December 19, 1996, Juli hung out with a friend and had previously agreed to give her a ride to the airport during the pre-dawn hours of December 20.

Juli is believed to have arrived back at her apartment building around 5:30 am on December 20, 1996.  It was at that time that at least three people heard a woman scream in terror, including an off-duty police officer.  One person who heard the scream, also heard a man say “just shut up and get in the car.”  She then heard a car door opening and closing, before a car started and drove off.  The police were called and the incident was reported, but nothing suspicious was found.

Later that same day, a friend of Juli had arranged to meet up for lunch.  When he arrived at her apartment, she and her car were gone.  He checked in again later that day and when both she and the car were still missing, he contacted the police.

That evening a passerby discovered a body on the shoreline of Lake Stanley Draper and contacted the police.  It was Juli’s body.  She had been killed by a shot to the head.  It was determined that she had also been raped.  A DNA profile of her rapist and likely killer was made, but it would be decades before an arrest was made.  Various other evidence was also collected and preserved.

In 2002, Anthony Sanchez was arrested on second-degree burglary charges.  While serving his sentence, a DNA sample was collected.  It matched the DNA profile associated with Juli’s case.  Additionally DNA samples were taken and compared to the DNA samples of the evidence gathered in the case.  Sanchez was not previously known to Juli or her friends.  He was sentenced to death in 2006.

Sanchez has denied killing Juli, claiming the brutal crime was carried out by his deceased father.  Additionally, Sanchez’s stepmother has since come forward alleging that her husband confessed the murder to her several times before he died saying “I should have hid the body better.”  

Sanchez was scheduled to be executed on April 6, 2023.  At the request of Oklahoma Attorney General Gentner Drummond, his execution is rescheduled to September 21, 2023.  Drummond requested that several of the upcoming scheduled executions in Oklahoma be rescheduled to allow more time between executions.  Oklahoma’s Department of Corrections is currently understaffed and preparing for an execution is time intensive.

Pray for peace for the family of Juli Busken.  Pray for strength for the family of Anthony Sanchez.  Please pray that if Anthony is innocent, lacks the competency to be executed, or should not be executed for any other reason, that evidence will be presented before his execution.  Pray that Anthony may come to find peace through a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.

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