US man executed on DNA conviction, decades after crime

Death penalty opponents join together to pray outside the Governor's Mansion in Oklahoma City on Sept 10, 2013, following the execution of Anthony Banks, who was executed at the state penitentiary in McAlester, Oklahoma. Banks was convicted of rape a
Death penalty opponents join together to pray outside the Governor's Mansion in Oklahoma City on Sept 10, 2013, following the execution of Anthony Banks, who was executed at the state penitentiary in McAlester, Oklahoma. Banks was convicted of rape and murder. -- FILE PHOTO: AP  

WASHINGTON (AFP) - The US state of Oklahoma executed a man convicted of rape and murder, who was connected to the crime 18 years later after advances in DNA technology.

Anthony Banks, 61, was declared dead by lethal injection on Tuesday in McAlester, according to Jerry Massie, a spokesman for the Oklahoma Department of Corrections.

Banks received a death sentence in 1999 for the murder of South Korean woman Sun "Kim" Travis, who was kidnapped from her Tulsa apartment parking lot on June 6, 1979.

Travis, who was 24, was found raped and shot in the head several km from her home, according to court documents.

The case remained unsolved for nearly two decades until 1997 when investigators made charges based on DNA samples taken from Travis's body and clothes, investigated using new techniques.

The DNA evidence linked Banks and another man, Allen Nelson, to the crime.

Nelson was sentenced to life in prison, but Banks, who was already serving life in prison for the 1978 murder of a convenience store clerk, was handed the death penalty on November 22, 1999.

Banks's execution was the 24th in the US this year and the 4th in Oklahoma.

Since capital punishment was reinstated in the US in 1976, Oklahoma has executed 106 criminals, according to the Death Penalty Information Center.

A Pennsylvania execution scheduled for Tuesday for Harve Johnson, 32, was stalled on procedural grounds.

Johnson was sentenced to death in 2009 for beating to death a two-year-old girl.

No one has been executed in Pennsylvania since 1999.

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