Convicted murderer Michael Duane Zack III executed decades after killing two women he met in bars along the Florida Panhandle – and his actions blamed on fetal alcohol syndrome
- On Tuesday, Zack met with his wife and spiritual advisor. He refused the last meal offered to him, and the department did not say what the meal was
- His last words were: ‘I love you all’
A convicted murderer who murdered two women he met at bars along the Florida Panhandle and was then placed on death row has been executed.
Michael Duane Zack III, 54, was killed by lethal injection at Florida State Prison in Starke on Tuesday at 6:14 PM EST.
On Tuesday, Zack met with his wife and spiritual advisor. He refused the last meal offered to him, and the department did not say what the meal was.
The double murderer was asked if he had any last words, to which he replied: “Yes sir.”
He then raised his head to look at the witnesses and said, “I love you all.”
Michael Zack III, 54, died just after 6 p.m. on Oct. 3 for the murder of Ravonne Smith, whom he stabbed and killed with an oyster knife in June 1996.
The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday rejected a request to halt the execution of a death row inmate after attorneys for Zack requested a stay of execution last week, court records show.
Michael Zak Ravonne Smith murderedstabbing her with an oyster knife in June 1996.
He was also convicted and separately sentenced to life in prison for the murder of Laura Rosillo, whom he met at another bar in a nearby county.
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed Zack’s death warrant on August 17, but his lawyers said during the trial that he should not receive the death penalty because he suffered from fetal alcohol syndrome and post-traumatic stress disorder.
They argued that his brain was dysfunctional and that he had a mental disability – conditions that they claimed made Zack impulsive and caused him to be in constant emotional and mental distress.
None of these claims were honored by the court and he was sentenced to life in prison.
The Florida Supreme Court and the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals also decided to halt the execution.
The Florida Supreme Court and the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals decided to halt the execution
His nine-day crime spree began in Tallahassee, where he was a regular at a bar. When Zack’s girlfriend called and said he was being evicted, the bartender lent him her pickup. Zack left with it and never returned, according to court records.
He drove to a bar in Niceville in the Florida Panhandle, where he befriended the owner of a construction company. The man discovered that Zack was living in the pickup and offered to let him stay at his house.
Zack later stole two guns and $42 from him. He later pawned the weapons for an undisclosed amount.
At yet another bar he met Rosillo and invited her to the beach to do drugs. He then beat her, dragged her partially clothed into the dunes, strangled her and kicked sand over her face.
The next day he went to a bar in Pensacola where he met Smith. The two went to the beach to smoke marijuana and later she took him to the house she shared with her boyfriend.
At Smith’s house, Zack hit her over the head with a bottle, slammed her head into the floor, raped her, and stabbed her four times in the center of the chest with an oyster knife.
He then stole her television, VCR and purse and tried to pawn the electronics. The pawn shop suspected the items had been stolen and Zack fled and hid in an empty house for two days before being arrested.
Zack admitted to killing Smith in court, saying he became enraged and hit her when she made a comment about his sister’s murder of his mother.
He said he thought Smith went into another room to get a gun when he stabbed her in self-defense.
Zack’s execution was the eighth under DeSantis dating back to 2019 and the sixth this year after no executions in 2020 through 2022.
DeSantis has made stricter, more far-reaching death penalty laws an issue in his presidential campaign.