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July 13, 2013

Inmate waives clemency hearing

OKLAHOMA CITY — An Oklahoma death row inmate scheduled to be executed in September for the death of a woman 34 years ago waived his right to seek clemency from the state Pardon and Parole Board, the board’s acting executive director said Friday.

Anthony Rozelle Banks, 61, was convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to death for the June 6, 1979, killing of Sun “Kim” Travis, a 24-year-old Korean national who was abducted from a parking lot at her Tulsa apartment complex, raped and shot in the head. Her partially clothed body was found in a roadside ditch.

Banks, who is also serving a life sentence for the unrelated 1978 shooting death of a Tulsa convenience store clerk, is scheduled to die by lethal injection on Sept. 10 and has the right to ask the Pardon and Parole Board to recommend that Gov. Mary Fallin commute his death sentence to life in prison.

But the board’s acting director, Tracy George, said Banks waived his clemency hearing. Banks’ defense attorney, Thomas Hird of the Federal Public Defender’s Office in Oklahoma City, confirmed that Banks waived the hearing but declined further comment.

Banks and a co-defendant, Allen Wayne Nelson, 53, were not charged in Travis’ death until August 1997, when their DNA was detected in evidence found on Travis’ body and clothing. A Tulsa County jury convicted Nelson of first-degree murder and sentenced him to life in prison.

Banks was already in prison when he was linked to Travis’ death following his conviction for the April 11, 1978, slaying of David Fremin, who was shot and killed during an armed robbery. Banks was convicted of first-degree murder by a Tulsa County jury that imposed the death penalty in that case. The 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ordered a new trial in 1994, saying prosecutors failed to disclose evidence to the defense that the jury could have used to find Banks innocent. The court also said Banks received ineffective counsel.

Rather than face the possibility of being sentenced to death again, Banks pleaded guilty to the murder charge in exchange for a sentence of life in prison.

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