After the jury delivered a verdict of guilty, Anthony Castillo Sanchez stood and pointed a finger at the parents of Jewell "Juli" Busken.
"Mr. and Mrs. Busken, I didn't kill your daughter," Sanchez said. "I swear to God, I didn't kill your daughter."
After more than three hours of deliberation Wednesday, the jury found Sanchez guilty of all three charges against him: first-degree murder, rape and forcible sodomy. The sentencing phase of the trial begins at 8:30 a.m. today.
Sanchez faces the death penalty for the murder charge.
As District Judge Bill Hetherington read the charges, Sanchez was stone-faced.
Mary Jean Busken began to cry and nodded her head in approval. She embraced her husband, Wilber "Bud" Busken.
After Sanchez's outburst, bailiffs moved to block him from the Buskens' view.
Sanchez's family appeared at the courthouse for the first time Wednesday. When Sanchez stood up and addressed the Buskens, members of his family cried out.
As Sanchez was carried back to the Cleveland County Detention Center in handcuffs, his sister fell to her knees, sobbing.
Sanchez's family members shouted encouragement to him and proclaimed the falsity of the DNA evidence in the trial for the cameras.
As they awaited the verdict, trial participants enjoyed the warm weather on the courthouse lawn, surrounded by news vans with satellite towers stretching to the sky.
Inside the courthouse, Bud Busken stood at the front of a long line of spectators waiting to enter the courtroom to hear the verdict. He asked the crowd for peace and prayer as the minute of judgment approached.
"The day we've been waiting for. This is it," Busken said. "I'm crying in there one way or the other."
Busken CaseJan. 29 - The Busken trial begins with jury selection. Over the next week, 10 men and two women are selected from a pool of 120 jurors.Feb. 6 - Counsel make opening statements and witness testimony begins. Bud Busken is the first witness called by the prosecution. Sitzman outlines the state's case against Anthony Sanchez including tracks of Nike Airmax 2 sneakers found at the scene.Feb. 7 - Witnesses to the events of Dec. 20, 1996 testify. Janice Merryman describes the "big eyes" and controlled fear on Busken's face. David Kill says he followed a red compact car from Lake Stanley Draper in a fit of "road rage" after being cut off.Feb. 9 - Prosecutors begin to establish the link between Sanchez and the Busken investigation. Donald Stecklein says he found a .22-caliber slug in the wall of Sanchez's 1996 residence. Police say Sanchez was matched through a national DNA database.Feb. 10 - Two jurors are dismissed. District Judge Bill Hetherington reminds jurors of their admonition against speaking to one another about the case.Monday - Sanchez's former girlfriend, Christin Setzer, testifies about the defendant's lifestyle in 1996. She says Sanchez would take her car and disappear for days at a time.Tuesday - DNA Analyst Melissa Keith says Sanchez's DNA is a perfect match for DNA taken from sperm cells on Busken's panties. The odds of another person of southwestern Hispanic descent matching the same DNA are 95 trillion to one. The prosecution rests.
Wednesday morning, Sanchez decided not to testify on his own behalf. He said his defense team had talked him out of the notion.
"I still feel the same way I did when we had the private meeting," Sanchez said. "I'm not going to get on the stand and say what they want me to say. [They] told me not to get on the stand, so I'm not going to get on the stand."
Cathy Hodge, Sanchez's stepmother, said Sanchez intended to get up on the stand and tell his truth, his side of the story.
"They're not doing anything to prove his innocence," Hodge said. "They're just trying to avoid the death penalty. There's a lot of questions about the DNA."
Members of Sanchez's family were barred from the courtroom because they are expected to testify in the trial's sentencing phase.
During closing statements, Assistant District Attorney Rick Sitzman placed a target on the screen with arrows pointing toward the letters "DNA."
Each of these arrows represented evidence presented in court and pointed toward the center of the target.
"On July 26, 2004, everything changed," Sitzman said. "A new target took the place of the first one, a new suspect, a suspect who had never been on the radar screen to that day."
Sitzman pointed to where Sanchez was sitting.
"He's looking at you. He's waiting for you to say what you're going to say. His name is Anthony Castillo Sanchez," Sitzman said.
One of the arrows represented Busken's cell phone, which has been missing since Dec. 20, 1996, the day that Busken was killed.
Sitzman said 36 hours after Busken's death, her cell phone was used to call a number that belonged to Sanchez's ex-girlfriend. That number was disconnected, and Sitzman said Sanchez only heard the words of a mechanized operator at the other end.
"Those were the words that Anthony Sanchez heard that night when he tried to reach out and hook up with an old girlfriend," Sitzman said.
Sanchez was not officially proven to have made the call.
The other arrows represented on the diagram included the bullet found in the wall of Sanchez's former residence at 813 Drake Drive, footprints from a Nike Airmax 2 sneaker found at the scene of the crime and the fact that Sanchez knew how to drive a standard transmission vehicle.
As he concluded his closing argument, Sitzman removed the "DNA" from the center of the target, revealing a picture of Sanchez. He requested the jury return a verdict of guilty in the trial.
"Tell Anthony Castillo Sanchez, 'We know what you did. Here on Earth, in this courtroom you will be held accountable.' Tell him," Sitzman said.
Sitzman spoke for three and a half hours, recalling the evidence and responding to the defense.
Defense Attorney Diane Box said the state relied too heavily on DNA evidence.
"Are we to the point in our society where we are going to let a machine decide who is guilty and not guilty?" Box said. "DNA testing can not tell you what that person looked like. We are more than just proteins and enzymes."
Box proposed several alternate theories to those posed by the prosecution, including the possibility there were two perpetrators in the homicide.
Box showed the jury two sketches described by separate witnesses. The sketches did not resemble each other.
These two men could have driven separate cars away to and from Lake Stanley Draper on the night of the homicide, Box said.
Box's closing testimony lasted an hour. The defense called no witnesses on Sanchez's behalf.
-- Additional reporting by Maria Prato-Gaineshello there & you too