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Oklahoma man scheduled to be executed for murder of woman in 1979

By Heide Brandes

OKLAHOMA CITY (Reuters) - Oklahoma is scheduled to execute a man on Tuesday for the rape and murder of a Tulsa woman in 1979, a crime that went unsolved for 18 years until new DNA techniques led to his conviction.

Anthony Banks, 60, would be the fourth person put to death in Oklahoma this year and the 24th in the United States. His execution by lethal injection is set for 6 p.m. (2300 GMT).

Banks was convicted and sentenced to death for the June 6, 1979, murder of Sun I. Kim Travis. His prior death sentence for the killing of a convenience store clerk was overturned on appeal and converted to life with possible parole in a plea deal. But his bid to appeal his death sentence in the killing of Travis failed, and he has been on death row since November 14, 1999.

Banks had kidnapped the 24-year-old Korean woman from a Tulsa apartment complex parking lot, according to the Court of Criminal Appeals summary of the case. She was raped, beaten, shot in the face and dumped in a ditch.

The crime was unsolved for almost two decades until the Tulsa Police Department used new DNA investigative techniques to tie Banks to the crime, the case summary said.

With DNA evidence found on the victim's body and clothes, police were able to charge Banks and co-defendant Allen Wayne Nelson with Travis' murder in 1997.

The 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals rejected Banks' appeal of the conviction and sentence of death, saying the evidence against him was "overwhelming."

Banks requested three apple-filled rolls and two 16-ounce bottles of water as his last meal, said Oklahoma Department of Corrections spokesperson Jerry Massie.

The victim's family does not plan to attend the execution, according to Karen Cunningham, the victim services coordinator with the Oklahoma Attorney General's Office.

(Reporting by Heide Brandes; Editing by Greg McCune, Carey Gillam and Lisa Von Ahn)

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