The Commission on Capital Cases updates this information regularly. This information, however, is subject to change and may not reflect the latest status of an inmates case and should not be relied on for statistical or legal purposes.
CHAVEZ, Juan Carlos (H/M)
DC # M18034
Eleventh Judicial Circuit, Dade County, Case #95-037867
Change of Venue from Orange County, Case #98-11700
Sentencing Judge: The Honorable Marc Schumacher
Attorney, Criminal Trial: Edward Koch Assistant Public Defender
Attorney, Direct Appeal: R. Harper, S. Whittington, & J. Savitz Private
Attorney, Collateral Appeals: Andrea Norgard Registry
Date of Offense: 09/11/95
Date of Sentence: 11/23/98
Circumstances of Offense:
Juan Carlos Chavez was convicted and sentenced to death for the kidnapping, sexual assault and murder of nine-year-old Samuel James Jimmy Ryce.
Jimmy Ryce disappeared on 09/11/95, after being dropped off by the school bus in Redlands, Florida. Extensive search efforts failed to locate the boy.
Juan Carlos Chavez worked as a handyman for the Scheinhaus family and lived in a trailer located on their property. Chavez also cared for the Scheinhaus horses, which were boarded on a farm owned by David Santana. In late August or early September of 1995, Susan Scheinhaus reported to police that several items were missing from her residence, including a handgun and some jewelry. Scheinhaus suspected Chavez, but had no evidence to prove her suspicions. On 12/05/95, Scheinhaus, aided by a locksmith, entered the trailer inhabited by Chavez. Scheinhaus spotted the handgun in plain view. After further examination of the trailer, Scheinhaus found a book bag belonging to Jimmy Ryce. Several items in the book bag, including books and papers had his name written on them. Scheinhaus notified the FBI. On 12/06/95, Chavez was located and taken to the Metro-Dade Police Station for questioning.
During a 55-hour interrogation and having been advised of his rights, Chavez voluntarily and knowingly admitted to abducting, sexually assaulting and killing Jimmy Ryce. Chavez gave a detailed account of the abduction. Chavez confessed that he kidnapped Jimmy at gunpoint and then took him to the horse farm where he sexually assaulted and later shot the boy. Chavez transported the body to the Scheinhaus residence. There he dismembered the boys body and hid the parts by cementing them in three large planters.
Chavez had no prior incarceration history in the state of Florida.
12/06/95 The defendant was arrested.
12/20/95 The defendant was indicted as follows:
Count I: First-Degree Murder
Count II: Sexual Assault / Victim Under 12
Count III: Kidnapping with a Weapon
09/18/98 The defendant was found guilty on all counts charged in the indictment.
10/29/98 The jury unanimously recommended the death penalty.
11/23/98 The defendant was sentenced as follows:
Count I: First-Degree Murder - Death
Count II: Sexual Assault / Victim Under 12 - Life
Count III: Kidnapping with a Weapon - Life
Florida Supreme Court - Direct Appeal
832 So. 2d 730
12/28/98 Appeal filed.
05/30/02 FSC affirmed the convictions and sentence of death.
11/21/02 Rehearing denied in light of revised opinion.
12/20/02 Mandate issued.
United States Supreme Court - Petition for Writ of Certiorari
539 U.S. 947
04/23/03 Petition filed.
06/23/03 Petition denied.
Circuit Court 3.851 Motion
07/09/04 Motion filed.
05/05/05 Motion amended.
01/10/07 Evidentiary Hearing held.
03/08/07 CC denied motion.
Florida Supreme Court 3.851 Motion Appeal
05/23/07 Appeal filed.
06/25/09 Conviction and sentence affirmed.
07/22/09 Mandate issued.
Florida Supreme Court Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus
05/27/08 Petition filed.
06/25/09 Petition denied.
United States Supreme Court Petition for Writ of Certiorari
130 S.Ct. 501
08/28/09 Petition filed.
11/02/09 Petition denied.
United States District Court, Southern District Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus
02/09/10 Petition filed.
07/12/10 Petition dismissed.
08/13/10 Motion for Certificate of Appealability filed.
10/02/10 Motion granted.
United States Court of Appeals, Eleventh Circuit Habeas Appeal
08/10/10 Appeal filed.
Factors Contributing to the Delay in the Imposition of the Sentence
The Direct Appeal took approximately four years to reach a final disposition.
On 12/28/98, Chavez filed a Direct Appeal in the Florida Supreme Court. In that appeal, he argued that the police did not have probable cause for his arrest, that the trial court erred in denying his motion to suppress his confession (for numerous reasons) and that the deprivation of his right to counsel by delaying his initial appearance constituted reversible error. Chavez also contended that he was denied a fair trial when, due to a change of venue, the trial court reversed an earlier order prohibiting photography of the jurors in the courtroom. Chavez argued that the State failed to prove corpus delecti on the Sexual Assault charge and that the trial court erred in its consideration and application of aggravating circumstances. The Florida Supreme Court affirmed the convictions and sentence of death on 05/30/02 and issued a revised opinion on 11/21/02.
Chavez filed a Petition for Writ of Certiorari in the United States Supreme Court on 04/23/03, which was denied on 06/23/03.
Chavez filed a 3.851 Motion in the Circuit Court on 07/09/04 and amended the motion on 05/05/05. On 01/10/07, and Evidentiary Hearing was held, and on 03/08/07, the Circuit Court denied the motion.
Chavez filed a 3.851 Motion Appeal in the Florida Supreme Court on 05/23/07, which was denied on 06/25/09. A mandate was issued on 07/22/09.
Chavez filed a Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus in the Florida Supreme Court on 05/27/08, which was denied on 06/25/09.
Chavez filed a Petition for Writ of Certiorari in the United States Supreme Court on 08/24/09, which was denied on 11/02/09.
Chavez filed a Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus in the United States District Court, Southern District on 02/09/10, which was dismissed on 07/12/10.
Chavez filed a Motion for Certificate of Appealabilty in the United States District Court on 08/13/10, which was granted on 10/02/10.
Chavez filed a Habeas Appeal in the United States Circuit Court on 8/10/10. That appeal is pending.
03/09/04 approved ec
12/16/10 updated jjk
 Corpus delecti proof, independent of a confession, that a crime was, in fact, committed.