Advocates from across the state gathered at the capitol on Thursday with one goal in mind: stop Anthony Sanchez’s execution.
"It's heart wrenching. It really hurts,” Sanchez’s mother said. "I pray every day they prove his innocence, and he can get out of there. I just pray they don't kill him for something he didn't do."
Sanchez is on death row, accused of raping and murdering Juli Busken, an OU ballerina, in 1996.
Sanchez's DNA came up as a match to DNA found at the crime scene eight years later.
"We're asking for a chance to reevaluate that before it's too late," David Ballard, an investigator brought in by the Free Anthony Sanchez campaign to look at the case, said.
"This evidence, none of it ties right back to Anthony Sanchez," Ballard said. "There's a lot of things that were put into the trial that stated that they were 100% fact that were not 100%."
DNA, for example, led Ballard to raise questions about Glenn Sanchez, Anthony's father.
In his report on the evidence, Ballard said Glenn could have carried his son's DNA to the scene.
"Glenn Sanchez has the means, the ability, the mindset and the history of that kind of violent nature. And that is enough to want to look at it and be sure,” Ballard said. “Again, we wouldn't want to execute the wrong person, and we also would want justice for victims to know that we've got the right person."
However, Attorney General Gentner Drummond remains confident in the conviction, saying in a statement that Sanchez is undoubtedly guilty and calling allegations against Glenn Sanchez "ludicrous". He goes on to say this is making “...a mockery of how advances in DNA evidence have exonerated wrongly convicted individuals.”
The Drummond’s full statement reads:
“The evidence is overwhelming that Anthony Sanchez brutally raped and murdered Juli Busken. Instead of expressing remorse, he made the cowardly decision to try blaming the crime on his deceased father – a ludicrous allegation thoroughly discredited by DNA analysis. What makes this claim all the more despicable is that it makes a mockery of how advances in DNA evidence have exonerated wrongly convicted individuals in recent years. Just as DNA evidence has helped clear the innocent, it can also conclusively show guilt. Anthony Sanchez is guilty beyond any conceivable doubt, and I will ensure justice is served.”
Sanchez’s execution is currently set for September 21.