Florida plans to continue its frantic pace of executions. The state announced it will kill Michael Duane Zack III in October, its sixth execution this year. It will be the eighth state killing since Gov Ron DeSantis, a presidential candidate who has expanded the state’s death penalty laws, was first elected in 2019.
Zack, 55, was sentenced to death for the murder of Ravonne Smith in 1996. He is also serving a life sentence for killing Laurie Russillo shortly before the Smith murder,
the Tampa Bay Times reports.
As is too often the case, Zack is another individual whose horrific abuse from the time he was born left him with post-traumatic stress disorder, chronic depression, fetal alcohol syndrome, and organic brain damage, according to Floridians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty. FADP also noted that mental health experts maintain that Zack has the mental and emotional age of a ten or 11-year-old child.
AS FADP Executive Director Maria DeLiberato eloquently states, “I understand that Michael was convicted for the murders of two women, Ravonne Smith and Laura Rosillo, and those losses are irreparable. We can grieve for his victims; however, you cannot separate the tortured and traumatized child from the man who killed them.”
But the sad truth is that DeSantis, and his handpicked Supreme Court justices, find it all too easy to separate the child from the adults they repeatedly dehumanize and sentence to die.