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Man Scheduled for Lethal Injection for Killing Women Encountered in North Florida Bars

by Gabriel Martinez
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Lethal Injection

Over a quarter-century after committing a series of murders involving women he met in bars across north Florida, Michael Zack III is slated for execution by lethal injection. The execution is scheduled to take place at 6 p.m. on Tuesday for the killing of Ravonne Smith, a bar worker whom he befriended, later assaulting and stabbing her with an oyster knife in June of 1996. Additionally, Zack was convicted and received a separate life sentence for the murder of Laura Rosillo, another woman he encountered at a bar in an adjacent county.

The nine-day criminal spree initiated by Zack began in Tallahassee, where he was a known patron at a local bar. After receiving a call from his girlfriend informing him of his eviction, the bartender kindly offered him her pickup truck to use, which Zack took and never returned, according to legal documents.

He subsequently traveled to a bar in Niceville, located in the Florida Panhandle, where he befriended the owner of a construction company. Upon learning that Zack was residing in the borrowed pickup truck, the man extended an invitation for Zack to stay at his residence. Zack later absconded with two firearms and $42 from the man’s home, which he pawned, as per court records.

In a different bar, Zack encountered Rosillo and lured her to the beach under the guise of using drugs. He assaulted her, dragged her semi-clothed to the dunes, strangled her, and covered her face with sand. The following day, at a bar in Pensacola, Zack met Smith. The pair went to the beach to smoke marijuana, after which Smith brought Zack to her residence.

Once inside the home, Zack attacked Smith with a bottle, violently striking her head against the floor, raping her, and stabbing her four times in the chest with the aforementioned oyster knife. He subsequently stole her television, VCR, and purse, and attempted to pawn the electronics. His effort was thwarted when the pawn shop suspected the items were stolen. Zack then evaded capture by hiding in an uninhabited house for two days until his eventual arrest.

Now 54 years old, Zack has confessed to killing Smith. He assaulted her after she made a derogatory comment about the murder of his mother, perpetrated by his sister, Zack claimed. He also contended that he thought Smith was reaching for a weapon when he stabbed her, claiming self-defense.

Legal representatives for Zack have tried to halt his execution by arguing that he suffers from fetal alcohol syndrome and post-traumatic stress disorder. However, their efforts were in vain as the U.S. Supreme Court denied the appeal for a stay of execution on Monday afternoon, without offering any commentary.

The impending execution of Zack will mark the eighth such instance under the governance of Ron DeSantis since 2019, and the sixth one this year, following a hiatus in executions from 2020 through 2022. Governor DeSantis has incorporated stricter and more expansive death penalty regulations into his presidential campaign agenda.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Lethal Injection

What is the scheduled method of execution for Michael Zack III?

Michael Zack III is scheduled to be executed by lethal injection.

When is Michael Zack III scheduled to be executed?

The execution is planned for 6 p.m. on a Tuesday, over 25 years after the murders he committed.

Who are the victims of Michael Zack III?

Michael Zack III was convicted for the murders of Ravonne Smith and Laura Rosillo, both of whom he met in bars in north Florida.

What initiated Zack’s nine-day crime spree?

The crime spree began in Tallahassee after Zack’s girlfriend called him to say he was being evicted. Zack borrowed a pickup truck from a bartender and never returned it, marking the start of his criminal activities.

What was Zack’s defense during the trial?

Michael Zack III admitted to killing Ravonne Smith. He claimed that he became violent after Smith made a comment about his mother’s murder, which was committed by his sister. Zack argued that he believed Smith was going to another room to get a gun, leading him to stab her in self-defense.

Have there been any legal appeals to halt the execution?

Yes, Zack’s lawyers argued that he suffers from fetal alcohol syndrome and post-traumatic stress disorder as grounds to halt the execution. However, the U.S. Supreme Court denied Zack’s appeal for a stay of execution.

How many executions have occurred under Gov. Ron DeSantis?

The execution of Michael Zack III would be the eighth under Governor Ron DeSantis since 2019, and the sixth for the current year.

Is the death penalty a part of Gov. Ron DeSantis’ political agenda?

Yes, Gov. Ron DeSantis has made stricter and more expansive death penalty laws a focal point in his presidential campaign.

More about Lethal Injection

  • Legal Documents on Michael Zack III’s Case
  • U.S. Supreme Court Decisions on Death Penalty Appeals
  • Gov. Ron DeSantis’ Stance on Death Penalty
  • Statistics on Executions in Florida Since 2019
  • Overview of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome and Legal Implications
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder in Criminal Cases
  • Death Penalty Laws in the United States

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