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CBS4’s Gary Nelson Witnesses Execution Of Ryce’s Killer

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Gary Nelson has been a member of the CBS4 News team since Septem...
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South Florida Crime

MIAMI(CBSMiami) — CBS4’s Gary Nelson witnessed the execution of the Jimmy Ryce’s killer on Wednesday night.

Nelson said the execution was delayed for about two hours while the United States Supreme Court considered whether to consider Juan Carlos Chavez’s various issues on appeal.

“What  I saw tonight was a very sterile, very antiseptic, very unremarkable procedure as Juan Carlos Chavez drifted off to sleep, essentially forever as he was executed for the murder of Jimmy Ryce,” said Nelson.

Earlier on Wednesday, at 5:00 p.m., he was among ten reporters taken in vans to Florida State Prison.

In the witness room there was dead silence as Nelson joined others including Don Ryce, the father of Jimmy Ryce, Jimmy’s older brother Ted Ryce, a co-prosecutor of Chavez and the detective who extracted the confession of Chavez back in 1995.

After about a two-hour delay from the scheduled time of Chavez’s execution, the Supreme Court refused to hear various issues on appeal.

After a final call to the Governor on the phone in the execution chamber, the execution went forward.

At 8:00 p.m, the execution was ordered to begin.

Slightly after that, the lethal drugs began to be injected into Chavez’s veins. Chavez lifted his head slightly, blinked several times and yawned.

At about 8:03 p.m., Chavez closed his eyes.

At about 8:04 his lips parted and his jaw appeared to go slack.

At about 8:06 p.m., the team warden shook Chavez very firmly by both of his shoulders. He called his name out loudly three times saying, “Mr. Chavez, Mr. Chavez, Mr. Chavez.”

According to Nelson, there was no response at that point from Chavez.The color drained from the killers face.

At  8:17 p.m. the doctor listened with a stethoscope and pronounced him dead.

Throughout it all, in the witness chamber, not a word was spoken. Not a tear was shed.

Chavez spoke no final words but issued a hand-written statement.

“No word or man will rob me of my peace today for I know that through Christ Jesus my deliverance will come,” Chavez wrote. “I beg my Lord in these last minutes that his unfailing love be upon me as well as those who in their blindness or pain desire my death.”

Click here to find out how Chavez spent his final hours

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