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Oklahoma executes inmate Anthony Banks for murder in 1979

By Heide Brandes

OKLAHOMA CITY (Reuters) - Oklahoma executed a man on Tuesday for the rape and murder of a Tulsa woman in 1979, a crime that went unsolved for 18 years until new DNA techniques led to his conviction.

Anthony Banks, 60, was pronounced dead at 6:07 p.m. (2307 GMT). Banks was convicted and sentenced to death for the June 6, 1979, murder of Sun I. Kim Travis, a 24-year-old Korean woman who he had raped, beaten, shot in the face and dumped in a ditch, according to court documents.

"God bless you, I love you and I will see you again," Banks said before he died of lethal injection, according to Oklahoma Department of Corrections spokesman Jerry Massie.

Banks had three apple-filled rolls and two bottles of water as his last meal, Massie said.

His prior death sentence for the killing of a convenience store clerk was overturned on appeal and converted to life with possible parole in a plea deal. But his bid to appeal his death sentence in the killing of Travis failed, and he had been on death row since November 14, 1999.

The crime was unsolved for almost two decades until the Tulsa Police Department used new DNA investigative techniques to tie Banks to the crime, court documents said.

With DNA evidence found on the victim's body and clothes, police were able to charge Banks and co-defendant Allen Wayne Nelson with Travis' murder in 1997.

Banks was the fourth person put to death in Oklahoma this year and the 24th in the United States, according to the Death Penalty Information Center, which tracks capital punishment statistics.

(Editing by Brendan O'Brien and Tim Gaynor)

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