Gov. DeSantis Gives Go Ahead on Execution of Man Convicted of Brutal 1996 Murder

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[Photo Credit: By Matt Johnson from Omaha, Nebraska, United States - IMG_3111, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=118460110]

Gov. Ron DeSantis reportedly signed a death warrant for an inmate found guilty of killing a woman he met in a bar in Escambia County in 1996 on Thursday, marking what would be Florida’s sixth execution of the year.

According to material released on the state Supreme Court website on Thursday, Michael Duane Zack, 54, will be put to death by lethal injection on October 3 at Florida State Prison.

According to court documents, Zack was convicted of murdering two women in addition to Ravonne Smith and received a death sentence for his crimes.

A number of appeals were rejected by state and federal courts over the course of almost two decades.

Zack met Smith, a worker at Dirty Joe’s bar, on June 13, 1996, according to a 2017 Florida Supreme Court judgment in one of the appeals.

They ultimately went to Smith’s house, where evidence suggested Zack had sexually abused Smith before hitting her in the head with a beer bottle, according to the decision.

Afterwards, Zack was charged with luring Smith into a bedroom where he allegedly slammed her head against the floor before stabbing her in the chest.

He tried to pawn the television and VCR in Panama City but was caught after taking Smith’s pocketbook, a video tape recorder, and all three.

According to documents, a jury found Zack guilty of first-degree murder, armed robbery, and sexual battery in September 1997. In addition, he is currently serving a life term for the murder of a lady in Okaloosa County just before the Smith slaying.

Following the execution of James Phillip Barnes, 61, by the state for the 1988 murder of a lady in her Melbourne, Florida condominium, DeSantis signed the death warrant for Zack two weeks later.

[READ MORE: DeSantis Offers to Help California in Wake of Hurricane Hillary Landfall]

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