A man was sentenced to death on Tuesday for killing two women he met at Florida beach bars during a days-long crime spree.
Michael Zack III, 54, died around 6:15 p.m. after receiving a lethal injection at Florida State Prison in Starke.
When asked if he had any closing remarks, Zack said, “Yes, sir.” He suddenly raised his head to face the witnesses, saying, “I love you all.” According to Florida correctional officials, he did not seek the usual farewell supper.
Zack was convicted of murdering Laurie Russillo and Ravonne Smith in June 1996 during a crime spree. He received the death penalty for murdering Smith, whom he befriended before beating and stabbing her with an oyster knife.
Zack’s nine-day crime spree began when his fiancée called to tell him he was being evicted from his flat in Tallahassee. The barmaid offered him the use of her pickup truck. According to court records, he took it and never returned.
Zack drove to a Niceville pub in Florida’s Panhandle, where he met the owner of a construction company. When the man discovered Zack was living in his pickup truck, he invited him to stay at his house. Zack went on to steal two pistols and $42. According to court records, he pawned the guns.
He encountered Rosillo at yet another pub and asked her to the beach to use drugs. According to court papers, he then beat her, dragged her partially dressed into the dunes, strangled her, and kicked sand in her face. He went to a Pensacola pub the next day and met Smith. They went to the beach to smoke marijuana, and she subsequently took him to her boyfriend’s house.
Zack claimed he killed her because she mentioned his mother’s murder, which was done by his sister. He also claimed Smith went to another room after stabbing her in self-defence to obtain a gun.
His was Florida’s eighth execution under Gov. Ron DeSantis since 2019, and the sixth this year.