Killer of Jimmy Ryce to be executed Feb. 12


Juan Carlos Chavez, who was convicted in the shocking 1995 murder of 9-year-old Jimmy Ryce, will be executed next month, Gov. Rick Scott’s office announced on Thursday afternoon.

The execution has been set for Wednesday, February 12, 2014, at 6 p.m.

In a statement late Thursday, Don Ryce wrote that he felt “a combination of sadness and relief” that the man convicted in his son’s killing would be executed.

“I hope this sends a message to predators that this behavior will not go unpunished,” Don Ryce wrote.

The disappearance and murder of little Jimmy kept South Florida on edge for months, beginning in September 1995, when the little boy was reported missing near his home in the Redland. Police eventually arrested a local farmhand named Juan Carlos Chavez after discovering Jimmy’s school backpack in his trailer.

Chavez confessed to the gruesome crime, telling police, in considerable detail, how he had kidnapped and raped Jimmy, then shot him. He also told them he had dismembered the body and submerged the remains in large planters capped with cement.

Chavez even begged authorities for the death penalty.

But legal questions arose over the admissibility of certain evidence, including Chavez’ confession. At trial, Chavez had tried to recant his confession.

He had been on Death Row for more than 14 years.

In 1998, lawmakers passed the Jimmy Ryce Act, a law that allows for the indefinite detention of sexual predators deemed too dangerous to be allowed back into society after serving their prison term.

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