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Classification: Murderer
Characteristics: Parricide
Number of victims: 3
Date of murder: June 9, 1994
Date of birth: January 31, 1965
Victims profile: His wife Sylvia and his two children, Edward and Anna
Method of murder: Strangulation - Stabbing with knife
Location: Okaloosa County, Florida, USA
Status: Sentenced to death on April 19, 1996

Florida Supreme Court
Briefs and Opinions


Docket #88367 - Edward J. Zakrzewski, II, Appellant, vs. State of Florida, Appellee. 717 So. 2d 488; June 11, 1998.

opinion initial brief of appellant
answer bief of appellee reply brief of appellant

Docket #SC02-1734 - Edward Zakrzewski, Appellant, vs. State of Florida, Appellee. 866 So. 2d 688; November 13, 2003.

initial brief of appellant answer bief of appellee

DC #554000
DOB: 01/31/65 

First Judicial Circuit, Okaloosa County, Case #94-1283
Sentencing Judge: The Honorable G. Robert Barron
Attorneys, Trial: Isaac Koran & Elton Killam - Assistant Public Defenders
Attorney, Direct Appeal: David A. Davis - Assistant Public Defender
Attorney, Collateral Appeals: John Nall - Private

Date of Offense: 06/09/94

Date of Sentence: 04/19/96

Circumstances of Offense:

Edward Zakrzewski, II was convicted and sentenced to death for the murders of his wife Sylvia and his two children, Edward and Anna.

Prior to the murders, Zakrzewski and his wife were experiencing martial problems.  Zakrzewski reportedly commented to a neighbor that he would rather kill his family than subject them to a divorce.

On the morning 06/09/94, Zakrzewski’s seven-year-old son, Edward, called him at Eglin Air Force Base where he worked for the Air Force and informed him that Sylvia was talking about wanting a divorce. 

After that conversation, Zakrzewski bought a machete while on his lunch break.  After making the purchase, he returned to work and completed a full day.  That night, Zakrzewski arrived home ahead of the rest of his family and hid the machete in the bathroom.

After his wife and children returned home, Zakrzewski attacked and disabled Sylvia, hitting her twice over the head with a crowbar.  He dragged her from the living room to their bedroom, where he hit her again in the head with the crowbar.  He then strangled her with a piece of rope. 

Next, Zakrzewski called his son into the bathroom, supposedly to brush his teeth.  Zakrzewski attacked Edward with the machete he had hidden behind the door.  Edward attempted to block some of the blows as evidenced by defensive wounds on his arms and wrists.  Edward died of severe head, neck and back injuries. 

Zakrzewski then called his daughter, Anna, into the bathroom where he attacked and killed her with the machete.  There is some disparity as to whether Zakrzewski killed Anna immediately as she entered the bathroom or he had her kneel over the bathtub, where her brother’s body was lying, and killed her execution-style. There was evidence of defensive wounds on Anna’s arms and hands. 

Zakrzewski then dragged his wife’s body from their bedroom to the bathroom, where he further assaulted her with the machete.  Reports indicated that Sylvia died from both blunt and sharp-force injuries.

After the murders, Zakrzewski drove to Orlando, where he boarded a plane headed for Hawaii.  In Hawaii, Zakrzewski changed his name and took up residence with a family who ran a religious commune.  Zakrzewski turned himself in to Hawaiian officials after the family he had been staying with saw his picture televised on Unsolved Mysteries

Additional Information:

Prior to being sentenced for the murders of his wife and children, Zakrzewski attempted an escape from custody on 08/13/95.  He was convicted and sentenced to one-and-a-half years incarceration for the attempt.

Trial Summary:

11/10/94          The defendant was indicted on the following charges:

Count I:           First-Degree Murder (Sylvia Zakrzewski)

Count II:          First-Degree Murder (Edward Zakrzewski)

Count III:         First-Degree Murder (Anna Zakrzewski)

03/19/96          The defendant pled guilty to all counts charged in the indictment.

03/30/96          Upon advisory sentencing, the jury, by a 7 to 5 majority, voted for the imposition of the death penalty for the murders of Sylvia and Edward and life imprisonment for the murder of Anna.

04/19/96          The defendant was sentenced as follows:

Count I:           First-Degree Murder - Death

Count II:          First-Degree Murder - Death

Count III:         First-Degree Murder - Death

*The trial judge overrode the jury’s recommendation of life imprisonment*

Case Information:

On 07/01/96, Zakrzewski filed a Direct Appeal in the Florida Supreme Court.  In that appeal, he argued that the heinous, atrocious and cruel (HAC) aggravating factor was erroneously applied to all three murders, as it was never his intention to torture any of his victims.  The Florida Supreme Court noted that the HAC aggravating factor was erroneously applied as to the murder of Sylvia; however, this error was determined to be harmless in lieu of the other proven aggravating circumstances.  Zakrzewski also argued that it was error for the trial judge to overrule the jury’s advisory sentence for the murder of Anna.  Other issues of contention included the presentation of prejudicial photographs of the victims and the admission of testimony by the State’s own mental health expert.  The Florida Supreme Court affirmed the convictions and sentences of death on 06/11/98. 

On 12/07/98, Zakrzewski filed a Petition for Writ of Certiorari in the United States Supreme Court that was subsequently denied on 01/25/99.

On 01/24/01, Zakrzewski filed a 3.850 Motion in the State Circuit Court, which was denied on 06/17/02.  He filed an appeal of that decision in the Florida Supreme Court on 08/5/02, which was denied on 11/13/03. 

Zakrzewski filed a Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus to the United States District Court, Northern District on 02/23/04.  Zakrzewski raised claims that his Fifth, Sixth, and Fourteenth Amendments were violated.  He also claimed that he received ineffective assistance of counsel.  He argued that his attorney failed to object to inappropriate comments made during the prosecutor’s closing argument and also failed to suppress evidence discovered in his house during a warrantless search.  The court did not find sufficient merit in Zakrzewski’s claims and therefore denied his petition on 09/30/04.

On 10/28/04, Zakrzewski filed a Habeas Appeal to the United States Court of Appeals, 11th Circuit.  The court affirmed the denial of Zakrzewski’s Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus on 07/13/06.



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