Schwab was released from prison on March 4, 1991, after serving three years of an eight-year sentence for the aggravated rape of a 13-year-old boy committed in 1987. The rest of his sentence was commuted and he was placed on 15 years of probation. A month later, Cocoa resident Junny Rios-Martinez, Jr., went missing. Schwab had seen Junny’s picture in the March 21, 1991 edition of Florida Today. He became friendly with the boy and his family, introducing himself as an associate of Malcom Denemark from that newspaper. After getting to know Junny, Schwab exploited his interest in surfing by saying he had left Florida Today for a job at a surfing magazine. On April 18, 1991, Junny was spotted getting into a U-Haul truck. On April 20, 1991, Schwab called his aunt in Ohio, claiming a man named “Donald” forced him to kidnap and rape Junny, under threat of killing Junny’s mother, Vicki. The next day, police tapped a phone call with Schwab’s aunt’s permission, and determined Schwab’s location. Schwab was arrested, and led police to Junny’s dead body, found in Canaveral Groves, a rural area of Brevard County, Florida in a footlocker that was “nearly shut” covered in palm fronds, debris and wrapped in rope.
On May 15, 1991, Schwab appeared in a state court in Brevard County, pleading not guilty to charges of first-degree murder, kidnapping a child under age 13 and sexual assault of a child under age 13. Prosecutors sought the death penalty. Schwab waived his right to a jury trial, and was convicted on May 22, 1992. At trial, witnesses had testified that Schwab was raped at gunpoint by a friend’s father as a child. On July 1, 1992, he was sentenced to death for the murder, and given two life sentences for the kidnapping and sexual battery of a child under the age of 13. In addition, his probation was revoked on the previous rape conviction, and he was re-sentenced to an additional life sentence, giving him a total of three life sentences. The case led to the passage of the Junny Rios-Martinez, Jr., Act of 1992, which prohibited those convicted of sexual battery from receiving early release in the state of Florida.
Schwab’s Florida Department of Corrections prisoner number was 111129. After his sentence, he was housed at Florida State Prison in Starke, Florida. On December 15, 2006, Governor Jeb Bush suspended all pending executions until further notice after the execution of Ángel Nieves Díaz had taken much longer than usual. This ban was lifted when the new Governor of Florida, Charlie Crist, signed Schwab’s death warrant on July 18, 2007. Schwab was then transferred to Florida State Prison. He was scheduled for execution by means of lethal injection on November 15, 2007 at 6:00 p.m. EST. However, federal judge Anne C. Conway granted a stay of execution on November 14. On November 15, the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the execution could proceed, but the United States Supreme Court blocked the execution later that same day pending a Kentucky case that challenged the three-drug combination used for lethal injection in both Florida and Kentucky. The Supreme Court upheld Kentucky’s death penalty on April 16, 2008, by a vote of 7 to 2. Crist signed a new death warrant for Schwab the next day, without a date for execution. On May 19, the Supreme Court specifically denied Schwab’s appeal, permitting Crist to reschedule the execution. Schwab’s final appeal to the Florida Supreme Court was denied because similar claims had already been declined by the Supreme Court. Schwab was executed by lethal injection on July 1, 2008 and pronounced dead at 6:15 pm. He declined to make a last statement.
- December, 16, 1968
- Dover, Ohio
- July, 01, 2008
- Starke, Florida
Cause of Death
- execution by lethal injection