Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Gov. Rick Scott signs death warrant for man who killed Jimmy Ryce

The South Miami-Dade farmhand who raped, murdered and dismembered 9-year-old Jimmy Ryce nearly two decades ago will be executed on Feb. 12 at 6 p.m., the governor's office said.

Juan Carlos Chavez was convicted of the 1995 murder that shocked Florida and led to the passage of a law that allows the state to indefinitely detain sexual predators.

Chavez, 46, will be executed by lethal injection at the Florida State Prison in Starke, Gov. Rick Scott announced Thursday.

"I just received the news that justice will finally be done in the murder of my son, Jimmy, on Sept. 11, 1995," Don Ryce, the boy's father, said in a statement on Thursday. "I feel a combination of sadness and relief. I hope this sends a message to predators that this behavior will not go unpunished."

The Ryce family was living in Redland when Jimmy disappeared Sept. 11, 1995, near his school-bus stop. The Ryces and volunteers spent three months frantically searching before Miami-Dade police found his dismembered remains in a nearby avocado grove.

Chavez, then 28, raped and fatally shot him before dismembering his body and burying it in concrete. He confessed during more than 50 hours in Miami-Dade police custody.

After the murder, Ryce's parents became vocal crusaders for the child victims.

Claudine Ryce and her husband, labor lawyer Don Ryce, created a foundation in her son's name, helping schools develop "stranger-danger" programs, donating tracking bloodhounds to police departments, supporting the parents of abducted children and pushing for anti-predator legislation.

They also pushed for the 1998 Jimmy Ryce Act, which allows the state to indefinitely detain violent sexual predators who have finished their sentences under civil law until they can prove they are rehabilitated.

Claudine Ryce died of an apparent heart attack in 2009.

Gov. Rick Scott signs death warrant for man who killed Jimmy Ryce 01/02/14 [Last modified: Thursday, January 2, 2014 10:47pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Late fumble, field goal send Florida State to another loss

    College

    TALLAHASSEE — Florida State's streak of 35 consecutive bowl appearances is in serious jeopardy after a last-second 31-28 home loss to Louisville on Saturday.

    Louisville's Lamar Jackson gets past Florida State's Matthew Thomas to score in the first quarter of an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Oct. 21, 2017, in Tallahassee Fla. (AP Photo/Steve Cannon) FLSC102
  2. Funeral starts for soldier at center of Trump fight

    Military

    COOPER CITY, Fla. (AP) — Mourners remembered not only a U.S. soldier whose combat death in Africa led to a political fight between President Donald Trump and a Florida congresswoman but his three comrades who died with him.

    The casket of Sgt. La David T. Johnson of Miami Gardens, who was killed in an ambush in Niger. is wheeled out after a viewing at the Christ The Rock Church, Friday, Oct. 20, 2017  in Cooper City, Fla. (Pedro Portal/Miami Herald via AP) FLMIH102
  3. Seasoned cast scores an extra-base hit for St. Petersburg Opera with 'Faust'

    Stage

    TAMPA — Charles Gounod's Faust sets the table early. The world-weary philosopher immortalized in a dramatic poem by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe is in his study, lamenting his state of affairs. He's willing to give away everything he has to be young again, even his soul.

    The St. Petersburg Opera Company begins its season with Faust, in a production seemingly aligned with the original intent of French composer Charles Gounod and librettists Jules Barbier and Michel Carre. [St. Petersburg Opera Company]
  4. Police plan community meeting as search for Seminole Heights killer continues

    Crime

    TAMPA — With people in Seminole Heights on edge following three related shooting deaths on their streets, police have planned a community meeting for Monday.

    The three Seminole Heights victims, from left: Benjamin Edward Mitchell, 22; Monica Caridad Hoffa, 32; and Anthony Naiboa, 20. [Facebook, family photos]
  5. Bucs-Bills: Tampa Bay's fatal habit of falling behind

    Bucs

    TAMPA — Okay, all you road scholars, why do the Bucs keep falling behind in games not played at Raymond James Stadium?

    Arizona Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer (3) recovers a fumble during the first half of an NFL game between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Arizona Cardinals at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Ariz., on Sunday, Oct. 15, 2017.