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September 11, 2013

Okla. man executed in woman’s slaying

McALESTER — An Oklahoma death row inmate convicted of first-degree murder in the shooting death of a 25-year-old Korean national 34 years ago was executed Tuesday after he apologized for taking the victim’s life and said his execution “is justified.”

Anthony Rozelle Banks, 61, was pronounced dead at 6:07 p.m. after receiving a lethal injection of drugs at the Oklahoma State Penitentiary in McAlester. Banks is the fourth Oklahoma death row inmate to be executed this year.

Banks was convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to death by a Tulsa County jury for the June 6, 1979, killing of Sun “Kim” Travis. Banks was already serving a life prison sentence for his conviction in the April 11, 1978, slaying of a Tulsa convenience store clerk during an armed robbery when he was linked to Travis’ death by DNA evidence 18 years after her death.

“I can’t express the terrible things I’ve done. I’m sorry,” Banks said.

“To know that I took lives hurts me,” he said. He said he knew he had also hurt the victims’ family members.

“This is justified,” Banks said. “I’ve done one good thing in my life and that is to become a Jehovah’s Witness. For that, I’m eternally grateful.”

Banks, strapped to a gurney with IV lines attached to his arms, acknowledged witnesses to his execution, including his attorney, Tom Hird of the Federal Public Defender’s Office in Oklahoma City, and an unidentified spiritual adviser.

“I’m thankful everybody’s here. I appreciate that,” he said.

Banks singled out Tulsa County Sheriff Stanley Glanz, who also witnessed his execution.

“I haven’t seen you in years, decades,” Banks said with a smile.

Banks closed his eyes and took several deep breaths as the lethal drugs were injected into his body. He appeared to grimace briefly before he stopped breathing and his body went limp.

No one from the victim’s family witnessed Banks’ execution. Attorney General Scott Pruitt issued a statement beforehand that said his thoughts were with the victim’s family.

“Anthony Banks brutally ended the life of an innocent young woman and has proven his willingness to continue committing violent crimes,” Pruitt said.

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