STARKE, Fla. – The State of Florida executed its sixth inmate this year in a capital punishment case when they put to death a man convicted of killing two women he met at beach bars during a days-long crime spree in 1996, according to reports.
On Tuesday at the Florida State Prison in Starke, Michael Zack III, 54, did not request a last meal before he was asked if he had any last words. He answered, “Yes sir,” before lifting his head to look at the witnesses and said, “I love you all.” After his final comment he was given a lethal injection, and at 6:15 p.m. he was pronounced dead.
Neither love nor mercy were afforded Zack’s homicide victims, Laurie Russillo and Ravonne Smith. They were killed during a crime spree in June 1996.
Members of Smith’s family witnessed the execution but declined to speak to the media afterward. Members of Rosillo’s family were not not in attendance, the Pensacola News Journal reported.
Zack went on a nine-day crime spree after his girlfriend broke up with him and evicted him from her home. Police said the series of crimes began when he stole the car of a Tallahassee bartender who befriended him. He then drove to Panama City where he stole money and guns from a man he met at another bar who offered to help him.
Zack met Rosillo at another bar and invited her to the beach to get high on drugs. According to court records, he proceeded to beat her, dragged her partially clothed into the dunes where he strangled her to death while kicking sand over her face.
The following day he met Smith at a Pensacola bar. They went to the beach and smoked pot. Afterward, she took him to the home she shared with her boyfriend, Fox News reported.
He beat and sexually assaulted Smith in her home, before stabbing her to death with an oyster knife from her kitchen. The killer was later arrested in Panama City where a clerk became suspicious when he tried to pawn some items he stole from Smith’s home.
Following his arrest, Zack confessed to murdering Smith as well as the thefts from the bartender in Tallahassee and the man who helped him in Panama City.
Zack said he killed Smith because she made a comment about his mother’s murder, which was committed by his sister. He also claimed she went to another room to retrieve a gun after stabbing her in self-defense, the Pensacola News Journal reported.
He was convicted of murdering Rosillo but was given a life sentence for the crime. He was given the death penalty for Smith’s murder.
The execution was Florida’s eighth under Gov. Ron DeSantis since 2019 and the sixth this year.
During his time on death row, Zack expressed remorse and blamed his actions on alcohol and drug abuse.
“Twenty-seven years ago, I was an alcoholic and a drug addict. I did things that have hurt a lot of people — not only the victims and their families and friends, but my own family and friends as well,” Zack wrote. “I have woken up every single day since then filled with remorse and a wish to make my time here on earth mean something more than the worst thing I ever did.”