The Florida Supreme Court in Tallahassee. (Fresh Take Florida file photo)

Florida Supreme Court rejects execution appeal for man convicted of killing two women


The Florida Supreme Court has rejected an execution appeal for Michael Duane Zack III, who is facing a death sentence for killing two women in 1996 over the course of a nine-day crime spree near Tallahassee, Florida. 

The court upheld the death warrant signed by Governor Ron DeSantis signed on Aug. 17. Zack is convicted of first-degree murder, robbery with a firearm and sexual battery, according to court records. He is scheduled to be executed on Oct. 3. 

Zack challenged his death sentence claiming he suffers from Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. This would prevent an execution because the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that executing people with intellectual disabilities is unconstitutional.

His attorneys argued Fetal Alcohol Syndrome led to him being intellectually disabled and said the ruling to reject his appeal wasn’t unanimous.  

However, in the opinion published on Thursday, the Court states there is no new research or evidence to support his claims, saying the arguments aren’t timely because Zack has been claiming he has an intellectual disability since 2002.

“He relies on this 20-year-old-plus information to now claim he should be deemed intellectually disabled and, thus, categorically exempt from execution,” the opinion states.

Zack first killed Ravonne Smith in her home after meeting her at a bar where she worked in Pensacola. He later murdered Laura Rosillo whom he also met in a bar in Okaloosa County 

Just last week, a district judge refused to block the execution. The Supreme Court affirmed the denial of his “fourth successive motion for post-conviction relief.”

The court also denied his motions for oral arguments and will not have a rehearing. 

Zack’s attorneys appealed to the 11th U.S. circuit court of Appeals.

If the execution is carried out, he will be the sixth inmate to be put to death this year in Florida.

About Alexa Herrera

Alexa is a reporter for WUFT News who can be reached by calling 352-392-6397 or emailing

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