POSTED: 1:06 pm EST November 13, 2007
UPDATED: 2:09 pm EST November 13, 2007
VIERA, Fla. -- The parents of a Cocoa boy slain by convicted child killer and molester Mark Dean Schwab urged the community to join them at 1:30 p.m. Saturday to celebrate their son's life.
Schwab, 38, has spent nearly 16 years on death row following a conviction for the April 1991 abduction, rape and killing of 11-year-old Junny Rios-Martinez.
Pending Tuesday's last-minute appeal for a stay of execution, Schwab is scheduled to die Thursday by lethal injection.
The event, which will take place at the Junny Rios-Martinez Park, a Cocoa plot of land named in the boy's honor, will feature words from Junny's family and childhood friends as they embark on a quest to seek healing and closure of the boy who loved surfing and life, Local 6 News partner Florida Today reported.
"We have moved on and we want the community to move on with us," Vicki Rios-Martinez said during a press conference on Tuesday morning at the Brevard Sheriff's Office West Precinct. "This event is our way of letting go officially ... so we all can make room for joy."
In addition to the bird release, a band and a bevy of speakers, including Brevard County Sheriff Jack Parker, State Attorney Norm Wolfinger and representatives for the governor and county commission, will gather at the park, located at state Road 524 and 2100 Westminster Drive in Cocoa.
The tribute will go on whether Schwab is executed or not.
"Junny, without even being here, has impacted people," Vicki Rios-Martinez said, referring to several measures taken against child sexual predators since Junny was abducted from school by Schwab, who had been released a month prior after serving three years of an eight-year sentence for aggravated rape.
The changes include school rules about parent pickups and passage of the Junny Rios-Martinez Act, which bars sex offenders from early release from prison.
Watch Local 6 News for more on this story.