McAlester News-Capital, McAlester, OK

Local News

May 22, 2013

Execution date requested for killer whose crime went unsolved for 20 years

McALESTER — Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt requested Monday that an execution date be set for a death row inmate whose crime went unsolved for two decades.

On May 20, the last appeal filed by Anthony Rozelle Banks, 60, was denied by the U.S. Supreme Court. “The defendant has exhausted all state and federal appeals,” Pruitt stated in his execution date request to the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals. “Therefore, the state respectfully requests this court set an execution date 60 days from May 20, 2013, or the earliest date this Court deems fit.”

Banks was convicted in 1999 of the murder of Sun I. Kim Travis in Tulsa. Travis was kidnapped from her Tulsa apartment in June 1979. She was raped, beaten and shot in the face. Her body was dumped in a ditch. Prior to her death, Travis, a Korean national, met her husband when he was serving in the American military on deployment in Korea. “The two married and moved to Tulsa, where it appears they lived happily,” court records state.

“At first, the police knew very little. Mrs.’ Travis’s husband was at home preparing dinner when he looked out the window and saw his wife’s car pull into the apartment complex’s parking lot, apparently followed by another vehicle.

“After several minutes passed and she didn’t come inside, he went out to check on her. She was nowhere to be seen. Mr. Travis sensed something was amiss because the car was parked at an odd angle with the headlights still on and the driver’s door open. The pillow that Mrs. Travis kept on the driver’s seat was lying in the street.”

Court records indicate that the next morning, a man on a tractor discovered her body in a roadside ditch. “She had suffered a gunshot wound to the head, and her face bore recent bruises,” court records state. “Her blouse was missing and her panties were ripped and lying by her feet.” The medical examiner found semen on her clothes and in her body.

The murder case of Travis had gone unsolved until Tulsa police used DNA evidence to link Banks and Allen Wayne Nelson, 53, to the woman’s rape and murder. Tulsa police used DNA testing from two different analysts on sperm from the slain woman’s body and clothes to link Banks and Nelson to the crime. DNA testing indicated that both men had raped her, court records state.

“One of the analysts said the likelihood of a random African American individual matching the DNA sequence attributed to Mr. Banks was on the order of 1 in 300 billion,” court records state.

In 1997, Banks and Nelson were charged with her murder. Nelson was sentenced to life in prison and in October 1999, Banks was convicted and sentenced to death.

When convicted, Banks was already serving a life sentence for killing a convenience store clerk, David Fremin, in 1978. In a court hearing, Banks admitted to shooting Fremin in the head during a holdup.

Two other death row inmates are set for execution in June at the Oklahoma State Penitentiary. James L. DeRosa is set to be put to death by lethal injection on June 18 and Brian Darrell Davis is set for a June 25 execution. Both men are to be put to death in the execution chamber at the Oklahoma State Penitentiary.

Contact Rachel Petersen at rpetersen@mcalesternews.com.

For more on this story, see the print or electronic editions of the McAlester News-Capital. Click here for print edition home delivery or click here to see the Smart Edition for your computer, tablet, e-reader or smart phone.

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
Local News
  • HolyWeek4Wed 1.jpg Gospel: 'The Good News' heard at Holy Week Breakfast

    Steve Glazier presented a pair testimonies of individuals who went on to have a significant impact on others  — a bank robber and a hony-tonk songwriter — when he spoke at the second gathering of this year’s Men’s Holy Week Breakfasts.

    April 15, 2014 2 Photos

  • Dogwood Decorations All ladies welcome to luncheon

    The 42nd annual Women’s Holy Week Salad Luncheon is Thursday. The Thursday before Easter is commonly called Maundy Thursday by most Christians.

    April 15, 2014 2 Photos 2 Stories

  • Still no filings for Ward 4 city council seat

    What if they called an election and nobody came —no candidates, that is.
    That’s the way things were shaping up late Tuesday afternoon for the vacant Ward 4 seat on the McAlester City Council.

    April 15, 2014

  • Square logo.jpg The McAlester Public Library offering free Computer Skills Workshop

    The McAlester Public Library will offer a free Computer Skills Workshop from April 16 to 18.
    The hands-on workshop will be taught by computer technician Anthony Smart and each participant will have a computer to work with.  The class will be held from 2:30 until 4 p.m. each day and is limited to 10 students.

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • Siren testing set for Wednesday, weather permitting

    Storm sirens are set for testing Wednesday in McAlester as well as a number of other Pittsburg County communities.
    “We will be testing from 9 a.m. until 11 a.m., weather permitting,” said Lois Lupardus, assistant director of the McAlester/Pittsburg County Office of Emergency Management.

    April 15, 2014

  • 4-15-BREAKFAST-1.jpg Men's Holy Week Breakfasts begin

    Tom Curtis spoke about the impact of several days of Holy Week during Monday’s opening session of this year’s Holy Week Breakfasts, held at the First Christian Church in McAlester.

    April 14, 2014 2 Photos

  • Square logo.jpg The McAlester Public Library offering free Computer Skills Workshop

    The McAlester Public Library will offer a free Computer Skills Workshop from April 16 to 18.
    The hands-on workshop will be taught by computer technician Anthony Smart and each participant will have a computer to work with.  The class will be held from 2:30 until 4 p.m. each day and is limited to 10 students.

    April 14, 2014 1 Photo

  • Filing period opens for Ward 4 McAlester City Council seat

    Take the Ward 4 McAlester City Council seat — please.
    That’s the wish of several McAlester city officials, who are trying for the second time to get someone to file as a candidate as the Ward 4 McAlester city councilor.

    April 14, 2014

  • Vehicle Accident Bridge Accident

    April 14, 2014 1 Photo

  • LIBRARY.png AT THE LIBRARY

    April 14, 2014 1 Photo

Seasonal Content
AP Video
Raw: Ferry Sinks Off South Korean Coast Town, Victims Remember Texas Blast Freeze Leaves Florida Panhandle With Dead Trees At Boston Marathon, a Chance to Finally Finish Are School Dress Codes Too Strict? Raw: Fatal Ferry Boat Accident Suspicious Bags Found Near Marathon Finish Line Boston Marks the 1st Anniversary of Bombing NYPD Ends Muslim Surveillance Program 8-year-old Boy Gets His Wish: Fly Like Iron Man Sex Offenders Arrested in Slayings of CA Women India's Transgenders Celebrate Historic Ruling Tributes Mark Boston Bombing Anniversary Raw: Kan. Shooting Suspect Faces Judge
NDN Video
Baby Sloths Squeak for Their Cuddle Partners in Adorable Video Miley Cyrus Hospitalized After Severe Reaction To Medicine Raw: Ferry Sinks Off South Korean Coast Toddler climbs into vending machine 8-year-old Boy Gets His Wish: Fly Like Iron Man Much-Anticipated 'Gone Girl' Trailer Finally Debuts! (VIDEO) Dog and Toddler Wear Matching Outfits in Adorable Photo Series VP Biden: "World witnesses ordinary citizens doing extraordinary things" It's Official! Michael Strahan Joins "GMA" Blood Moon Time-lapse Actress Lake Bell Goes Topless The Five Weirdest Local Taxes in America Applicants Vying for 'World's Toughest Job' Get Heartwarming Surprise Awkward: Crist catches Lt. Gov. insulting him on camera NASA Showcases Lunar Eclipse US Airways Tweets Graphic Photo of Nude Woman Behind the scenes of the Marathon anniversary photo shoot American Airlines Responds After Girl Tweets Alleged Terror Threat 'Joke' Charlie White's "Dancing" Mistake Olympic Great & Baltimore Native Michael Phelps Ends Retirement; Eyes Rio
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.