The man sentenced to death for the 1995 rape and murder of 9-year-old Jimmy Ryce was executed Wednesday.
Juan Carlos Chavez was pronounced dead at 8:17 p.m. by lethal injection at Florida State Prison in Starke, according to NBC Miami.
The Florida Supreme Court earlier in the day refused to stay the execution, and the U.S. Supreme Court also rejected a last-minute appeal.
“Nineteen years ago, Juan Carlos Chavez was faced with a choice. He had kidnapped my son, Jimmy,” Don Ryce said during a press conference after the execution. “He had sexually assaulted him, and now it was time to decide: Would he let him live, or would he take his life? We know what he decided to do and the choice he made, and as a result of that choice, he died today.”
Ryce and his wife, Claudine, who died in 1999, worked to raise awareness about sexual predators, leading to the passage of the Jimmy Ryce Act, which “allows authorities to commit dangerous sexual predators to mental institutions once they have completed their prison terms,” according to NBC Miami.
Watch Don Ryce’s press conference via NBC Miami:
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