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Child rapist-murderer Juan Carlos Chavez to be executed in February

  |   Jan. 16, 2014 at 11:25 AM
TALLAHASSEE, Fla., Jan. 16 (UPI) -- A Florida farm worker convicted of raping, murdering and dismembering a 9-year-old boy will be executed in February, the governor's office said.

Gov. Rick Scott announced Thursday Juan Carlos Chavez, convicted of the 1995 murder of Jimmy Ryce, will be executed Feb. 12 by lethal injection at the Florida State Prison in Starke, the Miami Herald reported.

The killing led to the passage of a law that allows the state to detain sexual predators indefinitely.

"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 Thursday in a statement. "I feel a combination of sadness and relief. I hope this sends a message to predators that this behavior will not go unpunished."

Jimmy Ryce disappeared Sept. 11, 1995, near a school bus stop in Redland. The Ryces and volunteers spent three months searching for him before his dismembered remains were found in an avocado grove.

Chavez, then 28, confessed to raping and killing the boy then dismembering his body and burying it in concrete during more than 50 hours in Miami-Dade police custody, the Herald said.

After their son's murder, the Ryces became crusaders for child victims, including pushing for the 1998 Jimmy Ryce Act, which allows the state to indefinitely detain violent sexual predators who have completed their criminal sentences under civil law until they can prove they are rehabilitated.

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