STARKE, Fla. — A man was executed Wednesday night in Florida for raping and killing a 9-year-old boy 18 years ago, a death that spurred the victim's parents to press nationwide for stronger sexual predator confinement laws and better handling of child abduction cases.
Juan Carlos Chavez, 46, was pronounced dead at 8:17 p.m. Wednesday after a lethal injection at Florida State Prison, according to Gov. Rick Scott's office.
Chavez made no final statement in the death chamber, but did submit a statement laced with religious references in writing. He moved his feet frequently after the injection began at 8:02 p.m. but two minutes later stopped moving.
Chavez abducted Jimmy Ryce at gunpoint after the boy got off a school bus on Sept. 11, 1995, in rural Miami-Dade County. Testimony showed Chavez raped the boy, shot him when he tried to escape, then dismembered his body and hid the parts in concrete-covered planters.
Ryce's parents turned the tragedy's pain into a push for stronger U.S. laws regarding confinement of sexual predators and improved police procedures in missing child cases. Their foundation provided hundreds of free canines to law enforcement agencies to aid in searches for children.