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Florida man executed after being convicted of killing two women in 1996 | US News


A Florida man has been executed over the murders of two women in 1996, the state has announced.

Michael Zack III, 54, was killed by lethal injection at Florida State Prison at 6.14pm on Tuesday.

His final words were: “I love you all.”

Zack was executed for the killing of bartender Ravonne Smith, who he befriended before beating and stabbing her with an oyster knife.

He also killed Laura Rosillo, a woman he met in a bar, and was sentenced to life in prison for her murder.

In 1996, while at a Tallahassee bar he was a regular at, he was told by his girlfriend he was being evicted, leading to him being offered the bartender’s truck – but Zack took it and never returned.

He then visited a bar in Niceville where a construction company offered to let him stay over – but instead he stole two guns and $42.

It was at another bar he met Ms Rosillo, and invited her to the beach to take drugs – but he beat her, dragged her over into some dunes and strangled her, court records say.

The entrance to Florida State Prison in Starke, Fla. is shown Thursday, Aug. 3, 2023. James Phillip Barnes, Florida man who recently dropped all legal appeals, was executed Thursday  for the 1988 murder of a woman who was sexually assaulted, killed with a hammer and then set on fire in her own bed. Barnes, 61, was pronounced dead at 6:13 p.m. EDT, following a lethal injection at Florida State Prison in Starke. (AP Photo/Curt Anderson)
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Zack was executed in Florida State Prison. Pic: AP

The following day, Zack met Ms Smith, and took her to the beach to smoke marijuana, before heading off to her home.

While there, it is said he hit her over the head with a bottle, raped her and stabbed her four times in the chest, then made off with the television, video player and her purse.

He attempted to pawn the electronic goods, but the store suspected they were stolen and Zack fled to an empty house for two days before he was caught.

He admitted killing Ms Smith, saying he was enraged and beat her when she commented on the murder of his mother, which was carried out by Zack’s sister.

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Zack also told investigators he believed she was going to get a gun from another room, claiming he was acting in self-defence.

There had been a last-minute plea from Zack’s lawyers to stop the execution, who argued he suffered from foetal alcohol syndrome and post-traumatic stress disorder – but the stay of execution was declined by the US Supreme Court.

Zack’s execution is the sixth this year and eighth under Governor Ron DeSantis, who is attempting to make the death penalty a central part of his presidential campaign.

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