Norman Police officer describes day of slain ballerina's disappearance

Monday, February 6th 2006, 11:24 am
By: News On 6

NORMAN, Okla. (AP) -- On the morning a University of Oklahoma ballerina was killed, a Norman police officer who lived near her apartment heard a woman's scream and the sound of a car door slamming, the officer testified Tuesday.

The police officer, Bill Alves, recounted the story during testimony in the Cleveland County District Court trial of Anthony Castillo Sanchez.

Sanchez, 27, has pleaded not guilty to charges of first-degree murder, kidnapping, sodomy and rape in the death of 21-year-old Jewell "Juli" Busken of Benton, Ark. Sanchez was charged in 2004 after prosecutors said DNA evidence connected him to the murder scene.

Busken dropped off a friend at Will Rogers World Airport in Oklahoma City around 5 a.m. on Dec. 20, 1996, before returning to her Norman apartment to prepare to head home to Arkansas.

Busken's 1991 Eagle Summit was found about a block and a half from her apartment. Her body was found that evening at Lake Stanley Draper in southeast Oklahoma City. Her hands were tied behind her back, and she had been raped and shot once in the back of the head.

Alves told jurors in the trial that he lived in the same apartment complex as Busken. On the day Busken was killed, he said he woke up at 5:30 a.m. He said he heard what sounded like a woman's scream and a door slamming a few minutes later. He went outside to see what was happening.

"I didn't see anybody," he said. "I don't remember seeing her car. It was cold, I didn't have my shoes on so I went back inside."

Later that day, he helped search Busken's apartment and told her parents, who had arrived from Arkansas, that their daughter was missing.

A woman who identified herself as Busken's friend also testified. Monica Saigal said Busken wrote her initials inside her tights so she could tell them apart from tights belonging to other dance students.

A pair of tights with the initials "JB" will be among the state's items of evidence, prosecutor Rick Sitzman has told jurors. The tights were recovered near Busken's body.