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A federal judge on Wednesday denied death row inmate Anthony Sanchez an execution stay.
Sanchez, 44, is set to be executed Sept. 21 for the murder of University of Oklahoma ballerina Juli Busken. He claims he is innocent.
His new attorney, Eric Allen, of Columbus, Ohio, asked for the stay to have time to review files in the case.
U.S. District Judge Joe Heaton said he was skeptical he had the authority to issue a stay and would not even if he did.
"Petitioner’s argument is entirely speculative — that he might be able to identify some new issue once his new counsel looks through the case materials," the judge wrote in an order after the hearing in Oklahoma City federal court.
"That is wholly insufficient as a basis for stay."
The judge did direct the inmate's former attorneys to turn over 51 boxes of files to his new attorney. The judge on Aug. 7 had allowed the former attorneys to maintain control of the files because they contained Social Security numbers of witnesses and personal information about jurors.
Sanchez was representing himself at the time and wanted the boxes sent to him at the Oklahoma State Penitentiary in McAlester. The new attorney began representing him in the federal case Aug. 22.
Anthony Sanchez writes letter to Gov. Kevin Stitt delivered by supporters
Also Wednesday, supporters of the inmate delivered a handwritten letter from him to the governor's office.
"I am 100% innocent," Sanchez wrote Gov. Kevin Stitt. "Please help me by granting a 60 day reprieve so that my new lawyers can have time to go over my case."
His spiritual adviser, Jeff Hood, walked more than 120 miles, from McAlester to Oklahoma City, to deliver the letter.
“This was about people acknowledging that there are those who care about Anthony,” Hood told The Oklahoman after delivering the letter. “The walk wasn’t just hard because it was physically hard. I felt like I was carrying Anthony with me. I felt like I had Anthony on my back, trying to show the state that, here’s a human being, and I’m going to continue to feel like that. It’s definitely heavy.”
What happened to Juli Busken?
Sanchez was convicted of first-degree murder at a 2006 trial after being identified as a suspect by his DNA.
The victim was shot in the head at Lake Stanley Draper after being abducted from a Norman apartment complex early Dec. 20, 1996, and raped. She was 21.
The victim was taken after driving a friend to the airport. She had completed her courses at OU and had packed to return to her parents' home in Arkansas and enroll in graduate school.
Sanchez had to give up a sample of his DNA when he went to prison in Oklahoma in 2002 for second-degree burglary. The Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation got a "hit" to the DNA evidence in the Busken case in 2004.
The odds that match was a mistake are 1 in 200 trillion Caucasians, 1 in 20 quadrillion African Americans and 1 in 94 trillion Southwest Hispanics, Attorney General Gentner Drummond and his assistants told the judge in a legal brief Tuesday.
Sanchez lost his latest challenge to his conviction in April when the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals ruled 5-0 against him. He claimed in the new challenge his father had confessed to the murder before committing suicide last year.
The OSBI concluded the father was not the killer after conducting more DNA tests in February. The OSBI did the testing after getting a sample of the father's blood from the medical examiner's office, which had investigated his death.
Sanchez is scheduled to be put to death by lethal injection at 10 a.m. Sept. 21 at the Oklahoma State Penitentiary. He waived his clemency hearing before the Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board.
Contributing: Staff writer Jessie Christopher Smith
This article originally appeared on Oklahoman: Anthony Sanchez, Oklahoma death row inmate, denied execution stay