Michael Zack III, who killed two women after meeting them a day apart in north Florida bars in 1996, was put to death Tuesday evening. Zack, 54, was executed for the murder of Rayonne Smith, a bar employee he befriended and later beat and stabbed with an oyster knife He as convicted and separately sentenced to life in prison for murdering Laura Rosillo, who he met at another Florida Panhandle bar. Zack’s nine-day crime run began in Tallahassee, the state capital, 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, reports the Associated Press.
At another bar, he met Rosillo and invited her to the beach to do drugs. He then beat her, dragged her into the dunes, strangled her and kicked sand over her face. The next day he went to a Pensacola bar, where he met Smith. The two went to the beach to smoke marijuana and she took him to the home she shared with her boyfriend. Zack smashed her over the head with a bottle, slammed her head into the floor, raped her and stabbed her four times. He then stole the woman’s television, VCR and purse and tried to pawn the electronics. The pawn shop suspected the items were stolen. Zack hid in an empty house for two days before he was arrested. Zack’s lawyers had sought to stop the execution, arguing that he was a victim of fetal alcohol syndrome and post-traumatic stress disorder. The U.S. Supreme Court denied Zack’s appeal. Zack’s execution was the eighth under Gov. Ron DeSantis since 2019 and the sixth this year after no executions were carried out from 2020 to 2022. DeSantis has made tougher death penalty laws an issue in his presidential campaign.