February 7, 2014 (cbs)
The South Dade man convicted of killing Jimmy Ryce in 1995 has filed an appeal with the United States Supreme Court to stay his execution, which is currently scheduled for next Wednesday.
Juan Carlos Chavez has been on death row since his conviction in 1998.
The Ryce family declined to comment on the appeal Friday, but Don and Ted Ryce sat down for interviews with CBS4 News earlier in the week ahead of the pending execution.
“I just want it to be over. I want to get it behind us,” Don Ryce said.
Now there is a chance the day Done Ryce has waited almost 19 years for will be delayed.
“There is a reasonable possibility that the Supreme Court would consider a stay in this instance,” Miami-based appeals attorney Richard Klugh said Friday night.
Klugh is not connected to the case, but is familiar with the history and the letter of the law.
“It could take days, it could take a matter of weeks. But most likely the Supreme Court will try to move expeditiously,” he said.
Chavez was convicted in 1998 of the kidnap, rape and murder of 9-year-old Jimmy Ryce.
The farm hand told police he dismembered the boy’s body, put the parts in planters, and then filled them with concrete.
Jimmy’s family held out hope he’d be found alive. Posters with his pictured were plastered all over South Florida.
After Chavez’s arrest, confession and conviction, they waited patiently for justice to be served.
Jimmy’s mother and sister would not live to see the day.
“This person, Juan Carlos Chavez, who’s been on death row for so long, he’s outlived my mother, Claudine. He’s outlived my sister,” Jimmy’s brother Ted said. “Now… Now, it’s time.”
Chavez’s attorneys argue the lethal cocktail administered to death row inmates violates the U.S. Constitution, saying it amounts to “cruel and unusual punishment.”
It’s a punishment Don Ryce thinks is well-deserved, even though it won’t bring his little boy back.
“I hate the word closure because what it implies is that there’s an end and everything is okay,” Ryce said. “And that’ll never happen.”
If the execution moves ahead as planned on Wednesday, Don and Ted Ryce said they plan to be in the viewing gallery at the state prison in Starke.