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U.S. Supreme Court rejects final appeal of Oklahoma death row inmate

Anthony Rozelle Banks got away with murder for nearly two decades before Tulsa police connected him to a 1979 killing. Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt requested an execution date for Banks after the U.S. Supreme Court rejected his final appeal.
by Chris Casteel Modified: May 20, 2013 at 10:09 pm •  Published: May 21, 2013

— Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt sought an execution date Monday for a death row inmate whose brutal crime went unsolved for nearly two decades.

Anthony Rozelle Banks, 60, lost his final appeal Monday when the U.S. Supreme Court declined without comment to review his case. Pruitt then asked the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals for an execution date.

Banks, 60, was convicted of killing Sun Travis in Tulsa in 1979. Travis was kidnapped from her apartment complex and was raped, beaten, shot in the face and dumped in a ditch.

The case had gone cold until Tulsa police used DNA evidence in 1997 to link Banks and Allen Wayne Nelson to the crime. Nelson, 53, was convicted of first-degree murder and is serving a life sentence.

Banks already was serving a life sentence for killing a convenience store clerk when police connected him to the death of Travis.

The 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in September that the “overwhelming” evidence against him in the case justified his conviction and sentence, despite improper questioning of Banks' brother by a prosecutor during the trial.

Two state death row inmates already are scheduled for execution next month: James L. DeRosa on June 18 and Brian Darrell Davis on June 25.

by Chris Casteel
Washington Bureau
Chris Casteel began working for The Oklahoman's Norman bureau in 1982 while a student at the University of Oklahoma. After covering the police beat, federal courts and the state Legislature in Oklahoma City, he moved to Washington in 1990, where...
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