Juan Carlos Chavez’s life was scheduled to end Wednesday at 6 p.m. with a lethal injection.
Fifteen years, 2 months and 20 days after Chavez was found guilty in 1998 of first-degree murder, sexual battery on a person less than 12 years old and armed kidnapping for the crimes he committed against 9-year-old Samuel James “Jimmy” Ryce in 1995, his execution loomed.
Chavez, 46, spent his last days housed in a Death Watch cell, measuring 12 feet long, 7 feet wide and 8.5 feet high, in the Florida State Prison near Starke, Fla. The average age of inmates executed in Florida is 46 years old, according to Florida Department of Corrections documents.
The execution is not the only event on an inmate’s final day. First, the inmate is allowed a final visit from about 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. Chavez had no visitors, according to Corrections documents.
An inmate may also request a final meal as long as it costs less than $40 to make and the ingredients are available at the prison. The meal is served from about 9:45 a.m. to 10 a.m.
By request, Chavez’s last meal included a rib-eye steak, fries, hot sauce, a mix of mangos, bananas and papayas, strawberry ice cream, and mango juice, according to documents.
Following the meal, from noon to about 2:30 p.m., inmates may receive a visit from a religious adviser at his or her cell front. Chavez spoke with a Catholic spiritual adviser, said Jessica Cary, the Florida Department of Corrections communications director.
At about 2:45 p.m., the condemned inmate is offered a shower.
Even though Chavez was supposed to receive the three-drug lethal injection at 6 p.m., the injection was delayed for two hours while the U.S. Supreme Court reviewed his appeal that the sedative, midazolam hydrochloride, would not be enough to prevent him from feeling pain.
The same sedative was used in Ohio for the execution of Dennis McGuire last month. There was discussion about the use of the sedative because the process took 24 minutes, and McGuire appeared to have been choking, according to a CNN article.
The U.S. Supreme Court denied the appeal by 7:30 p.m., and the execution was ordered to go on.
Legal injection is not the only method of execution in Florida. The other option is the three-legged electric chair that was constructed in 1998 and placed in the Florida State Prison in 1999, according to the documents.
Prior to starting the execution process, the team warden administers an oral-swab drug test and a blood-alcohol level test to each execution team member to ensure that he or she is not impaired, according to documents from the Florida Department of Corrections.
If necessary, other executioners, who are private citizens and paid $150 per execution, will be appointed to ensure that two qualified executioners are present.
At 8 p.m., the curtain to the viewing room was lifted to reveal Chavez strapped to the execution gurney. The execution began at 8:02 p.m.
He was pronounced dead at 8:17 p.m.