Juan Carlos Chavez, the man who raped and murdered 9-year-old Jimmy Ryce in an infamous 1995 crime in the Redland, Fla., was executed on Wednesday night for his crime in North Florida at Florida State Prison, the Miami Herald wrote. According to the news site, he said nothing as he headed to his death on the dreary day.
For his final statement, he didn’t plead innocent and did not make any apologies to Jimmy’s family. But Chavez did proclaim his religious beliefs and wished Christ’s love on those who “in their pain desire my death.”
“No word or man will rob me of my peace today,” the convicted child killer wrote on a handwritten note just hours before his death.
Jimmy’s father, Don Ryce, 70, has worked tirelessly for the past 18 years or tougher laws against sex predators, Tampa Bay Times wrote. He reportedly watched as Chavez, 46, took his last breaths after he was administered lethal injection. Don’s face was described by the news site as stoic during the execution.
“People will not forget, they will not forgive,” Ryce said. “We will hunt you down and we will put you to death.”
The news site added Ryce’s older son, Ted, said he was hesitant to come to the execution but attended as a “symbol of strength.” Jimmy’s mother and sister both passed away in the last few years.
“To show you that in spite of all the terrible tragedies we’ve been through, my father and I still stand strong -- and strength is something we are sorely lacking in our country today,” Ted said.
A massive three-month search across South Florida took place in 1995 after Jimmy was abducted from a school bus stop on Sept. 11 of that year. After being investigated and interrogated, Chavez admitted to the boy’s rape and murder. He shot Jimmy in the back of the head when the 9-year-old tried to flee. He explained that the boy’s dismembered remains were placed in planters sealed with concrete.
At 8:02 p.m on Wednesday, the first of three drugs was administered to Chavez as he was strapped down to a gurney. He had refused to make a statement before he was given the first injection. At 8:17 p.m., he was pronounced dead by the corrections official.
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