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Florida Murderer Of 9-Year-Old Jimmy Ryce Facing Execution Wednesday

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    MIAMI, Feb 12 (Reuters) - Two decades after a Cuban immigrant kidnapped, raped and murdered a 9-year-old south Florida boy, his killer will be executed by lethal injection Wednesday evening. Juan Carlos Chavez, who confessed to the ghoulish 1995 murder of Jimmy Ryce, was found guilty in 1998. He is due to be executed by lethal injection at 6 p.m. at Florida State Prison in Starke. Memories of the incident, which triggered changes in U.S. laws on violent sexual predators, are still vivid in Miami. "My daughter was just a little bit younger at the time and everybody who had a kid was glued to this," said J. Alex Villalobos, former Florida Senate majority leader who shepherded the Jimmy Ryce Act through the state legislature. The Florida law, which has been replicated across the country, cleared the way for imprisoned sexual offenders to be held after their release if found likely to repeat their crimes. At the time "if you knew somebody was going to commit a crime there was nothing you could do about it," Villalobos said. Chavez, who worked as a farmhand and had no criminal history, kidnapped Ryce at gunpoint as he got off a school bus in the Redland, an agricultural area of south Miami-Dade County.
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