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Scott Signs 14th Death Warrant: Juan Carlos Chavez, Murderer of 9-Year-Old Jimmy Ryce

| January 2, 2014

Juan Carlos Chavez has been on Florida's death row 15 years.

Juan Carlos Chavez has been on Florida’s death row 15 years.

Gov. Rick Scott has scheduled a February execution for Juan Carlos Chavez, who committed the notorious 1995 murder of nine-year-old Jimmy Ryce in Miami-Dade County.

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Scott notified Florida State Prison Warden John Palmer of Florida State Prison on Thursday that the execution for Chavez, 46, will be held at Feb. 12.

Chavez was convicted in 1998 of kidnapping, sexual assault and murder of Ryce. The brutal crime spurred the Legislature to pass the Jimmy Ryce Involuntary Civil Commitment for Sexually Violent Predators’ Treatment and Care Act, known simply as the Jimmy Ryce Act.

The 1998 law lets the state indefinitely keep violent sexual predators behind bars by requiring them to undergo a review for the risk of re-offending and to be committed at a secured treatment facility after completing their sentences.

Ryce’s dismembered body was found near an avocado grove three months after being abducted at gunpoint near his Redland school bus stop on Sept. 11, 1995. Ryce’s book bag was found in Chavez’ trailer.

The Florida Supreme Court affirmed Chavez’ most recent appeal on Oct. 11, 2013.

Scott’s order comes a little less than a year after the death of Martha Ryce, a Redland native who dedicated her life to advocate for missing children after the murder of her brother. Martha Ryce, who was considered the voice of her family, committed suicide on December 30th in Atlanta. She was 35.

And the warrant comes as lawmakers consider strengthening the 1998 law in the wake of reports by the South Florida Sun Sentinel that found that nearly 600 sexual predators had been released only to be convicted of new sex offenses — including more than 460 child molestations, 121 rapes and 14 murders.

Scott’s office received numerous pleas for the governor to execute Chavez as the 18th anniversary of Ryce’s death approached.

“As simply as I can put it, it is time to end this family’s suffering,” Colleen Salaam of Broward County e-mailed Scott in September.


“He has out lived the entirety of the (Ryce) family,” wrote Dade County resident Matthew Schantz of Chavez. “It is time to put an end to this. It is time for justice.”

The tone was much different from the international pleas Scott often gets for amnesty when an inmate execution is pending.

With subject lines that include “the man who murdered this child has been on death row for way too long,” a number of people questioned how “this animal is still alive” and that they “don’t want to clothes, feed, and house” Chavez.

“I am one of those citizens of Homestead that spent days looking for poor Jimmy Ryce only to have my heart broken,” wrote Patty Accursio in September. Chavez “does not deserve to live one more day. The pain and suffering he has caused this family is just not acceptable.”

Chavez is the one of two Death Row inmates with a pending execution set by Scott. Convicted murderer Askari Abdullah Muhammad is set to be put to death by lethal injection on Tuesday. Scott reset the execution for Muhammad, formerly known as Thomas Knight, on Dec. 20.
Muhammad, 62, will be put to death for fatally stabbing corrections Officer Richard James Burke with a sharpened spoon in October 1980 while Muhammad was already on Death Row.

–Jim Turner, News Service of Florida

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8 Responses for “Scott Signs 14th Death Warrant: Juan Carlos Chavez, Murderer of 9-Year-Old Jimmy Ryce”

  1. Anonymous says:

    I feel so sorry for the pain suffered by Ryce family. God give them peace.

  2. Rocky Mac says:

    Unbelievable! Close to 20 years on death row for the brutal murder of a child. And over 30 years for the guard killer. What a waste of taxpayer’s money, housing and feeding these monsters.

  3. ryan says:

    This guy should have never gotten all of the appeals that he did. I hope no one comes to bat for this sick, evil son of a bitch. He is getting what he deserved after wasting tax dollars on appeals just to get life in prison, and that money should have been used to pay legal fees to an attorney trying to free an innocent man. Unfortunately, the media is has perpevictim syndrome, which is when they are addicted to making a perpetrator sound like some kind of victim. Anyone who murders small children deserves to die, and pedophiles should be forced to stay in prison for life, or live in the spotlight where they can be kept an eye on. There is such a thing as an evil person, and cannot be excused as mentally ill or needing treatment, because people like Chavez cannot be treated.

  4. Suzy Q says:

    Matthew 18:6

    But whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a great millstone fastened around his neck and to be drowned in the depth of the sea.

  5. Florida Native. says:

    Our judicial system,sadly enough,is broken. God be with that little boy’s family.

  6. Rich says:

    So many people complain about the length of time it takes for a Death Sentence to be carried out and the amount of “tax payer” money that is spent on all the Appeals process. I’m not a proponent of the Death Penalty for several reasons: length of time to carry it out, cost of Appeals, legality vs. hypocrisy of the whole idea, and it most definitely has not proven to be a deterrent to murder.

    Keep the criminals isolated from others and locked up in a 6 x10 foot cell for 23 hours a day. That would be “just” punishment and would end the controversy over the Death Penalty.

    The so called “closure” that the death of a murderer supposedly brings to the victim’s family is never realized. The loved one will never return and the family is ultimately left with the grieving process for a lifetime, even if they are “lucky” enough to still be alive when the Death Penalty is carried out.

    Just keep them locked up and spend those millions of dollars on other things rather than Appeals that really don’t do anything but drag out the whole process most of the time.

  7. Diana L says:

    Florida leads the nation on death row inmates exonerated, 24.

    • JG says:

      And that is precisely the reason the appeals process must be kept intact, as abhorrent as this SOB is to all rational people.

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