Florida man who murdered women he met in bars set to die by lethal injection

STARKE, Fla. (AP) — A man is scheduled to die by lethal injection over 25 years after he killed women het met in north Florida bars during a dayslong spate of crimes.

Michael Zack III is set to die at 6 p.m. Tuesday for the murder of Ravonne Smith, a bar employee he befriended and later beat and stabbed with an oyster knife in June 1996. He was also convicted and separately sentenced to life in prison for murdering Laura Rosillo, who he met at a bar in a nearby county.

Zack’s nine-day crime run began in Tallahassee, where he was a regular at a bar. When Zack’s girlfriend called and said he was being evicted, the bartender offered to loan him her pickup truck. Zack left with it and never returned, according to court records.

Zack drove to a Niceville bar in the Florida Panhandle, where he befriended a construction company owner. The man learned Zack was living in the pickup truck and offered to let him stay at his home. Zack later stole two guns and $42. He pawned the guns, according to court records.

FILE - This photo provided by the South Carolina Department of Corrections shows the state's death chamber in Columbia, S.C., including the electric chair, right, and a firing squad chair, left. South Carolina told a court Tuesday, Sept. 19, 2023, it has obtained drugs needed to carry out lethal injections and is ready to perform the state’s first execution in over 12 years. (South Carolina Department of Corrections via AP, File)South Carolina inmates want executions paused while new lethal injection method is studiedIn this undated photo provided by Texas Department of Criminal Justice, is Texas death row inmate Scott Panetti. A federal judge has ruled on Wednesday, Sept. 27, 2023, that inmate, Panetti, who has a long history of mental illness, is not competent to be executed. Panetti has been on death row for nearly 30 years for fatally shooting his in-laws in front of his wife and young children. (Texas Department of Criminal Justice via AP)Texas death row inmate with 40-year mental illness history ruled not competent to be executedFILE - The interior of the execution chamber in the U.S. Penitentiary in Terre Haute, Ind., is seen, March 22, 1995. Fresh details are emerging three years since 13 historic federal executions were carried out in the final six months of Donald Trump's presidency. (AP Photo/Chuck Robinson, File)Fuller picture emerges of the 13 federal executions at the end of Trump’s presidency

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, according to court records. The next day he went to a Pensacola bar, where he met Smith. The two went to the beach to smoke marijuana and later she took him to the home she shared with her boyfriend.

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At the home, Zack smashed 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 the oyster knife. He then stole her television, VCR and purse and tried to pawn the electronics. The pawn shop suspected the items were stolen and Zack fled and hid in an empty house for two days before being arrested, according to court records.

Zack, now 54, admitted killing Smith. He became enraged and beat her when she made a comment about his mother’s murder, which his sister committed, Zack said. He said he thought Smith was going to another room to get a gun when he stabbed her in self defense.

Zack’s lawyers sought to stop the execution, arguing he is a victim of fetal alcohol syndrome and posttraumatic stress disorder. The U.S. Supreme Court denied Zack’s appeal for a stay of execution Monday afternoon without comment.

Zack’s execution would be the eighth under Gov. Ron DeSantis dating back to 2019 and the sixth this year after no executions in 2020 through 2022. DeSantis has made tougher, more far-reaching death penalty laws an issue in his presidential campaign.

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