The Commission on Capital Cases was not funded in the FY 2011-2012 General Appropriations Act, and the Commission ceased operations on June 30, 2011. This site and the Commission website are being retained to provide access to historical materials.

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Last NameFirst NamePictureDC NumberAgencyCase Summary
TanziMichael K04389CCRC-SCase Summary

Last Action

DateCourtCase NumberLast Action
2/18/2009CC00-5733.851 Motion filed
3/24/2010CC00-573Motion denied
11/26/2007USSC07-8033Petition for Writ of Certiorari filed
1/29/2008USSC07-8033Reply brief filed
2/19/2008USSC07-8033Petition for Writ of Certiorari denied
4/30/2010FSC10-8073.851 Appeal filed
1/13/2011FSC10-807Initial brief filed
4/19/2011FSC10-807Answer brief filed
1/13/2011FSC11-81Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus filed
4/19/2011FSC11-81Response filed

Current Attorney


Last Updated

2008-01-09 11:43:13.0

Case Summary
Direct Links

The Commission on Capital Cases updates this information regularly

The Commission on Capital Cases updates thisinformation regularly.  This information; however, is subject to changeand may not reflect the latest status of an inmate’s case and should not berelied upon for statistical or legal purposes. 


TANZI, Michael (W/M)

DC#    K04389

DOB: 02/27/77


Sixteenth Judicial Circuit, Monroe County Case # 00-00573

Sentencing Judge: The Honorable Mark Jones

Attorney, Trial: William Kuypers – Public Defender

Attorney, Direct Appeal: Andrew Stanton – Public Defender

Attorney, Collateral Appeals: TBA – CCRC-S


Date of Offense: 04/25/00

Date of Sentence: 02/19/03


Circumstances of Offense:


Michael Tanzi was convicted and sentenced to death for themurder of Janet Acosta.


During her lunch hour on April 25, 2000, Janet Acosta wasseated inside her van with the window rolled down, reading a book at theJapanese Gardens in Miami, Florida.  At the same time, Tanzi was strandedin Miami with no means of returning to his home in Key West.  Tanziapproached Acosta’s van, asking her for a cigarette and the time.  WhenAcosta was distracted, Tanzi punched her repeatedly in the face and gainedentry into the van.  Holding her wrist and threatening her with a razorblade, he drove the van to Homestead, Florida.


When they reached Homestead, Tanzi stopped at a gas stationwhere he bound and gagged Acosta with materials found in her van.  He took53 dollars in cash, purchased cigarettes and a soda, and took Acosta’s bankcard.  He also forced Acosta to perform oral sex but stopped her fromcontinuing because her teeth were loose from the earlier beating.  Tanzicontinued driving on to Tavernier in the Florida Keys.


In Tavernier, Tanzi stopped at approximately 5:15 p.m. towithdraw money from Acosta’s account using her personal identificationnumber.  Soon thereafter, he stopped again at a hardware store to purchaseduct tape and razor blades.  At approximately 6:30 p.m., they arrived atSugarloaf Key.  It was there that Tanzi decided he would have to eliminateAcosta as she was impeding his progress and leaving her alive would result inhis swift capture.  He drove to an isolated area in Cudjoe Key, told herhe was going to kill her, and began to strangle her.  He stopped to placeduct tape over her mouth, nose, and eyes in an attempt to quiet her and thenstrangled her until she expired.  Tanzi then left Acosta’s body in awooded area.


Tanzi then drove to Key West, where he used Acosta’s ATMcard, smoked marijuana, and visited friends.  He had planned to purchasemore drugs with her money and to alter the appearance of the van, but thepolice found Acosta’s van after her friends had reported her missing. When the police approached Tanzi about the van, he had receipts in his pocketdocumenting his use of Acosta’s ATM card and told the police that he “knew whatthis was about.”  He waived his rights and began confessing to theassault, abduction, robbery, sexual battery, and murder of Janet Acosta.


He repeated his confession in great detail on audio andvideotape.  He also showed the police where he had left Acosta’s body andwhere he had disposed of the duct tape and rope.


Trial Summary:


05/16/00         Indicted as follows:

                                   Count I:          First-Degree Murder (Janet Acosta)

                                   Count II:         Carjacking with aDeadly Weapon

                                   Count III:        Kidnapping

                                   Count IV:        ArmedRobbery          

02/19/03         Jury recommended death by a vote of 12-0[1]

04/11/03         Jury returned guilty verdicts on all counts of the indictment

04/21/03         Sentenced as follows:

                                   Count I:          First-Degree Murder (Janet Acosta) – Death

                                   Count II:         Carjacking with aDeadly Weapon – Life

                                   Count III:        Kidnapping – Life

                                   Count IV:        Armed Robbery – Life


Appeal Summary:


Florida Supreme Court – Direct Appeal

FSC# 05-457

964 So.2d 106 (2007)


03/16/05         Appeal filed

05/10/07         Appeal denied

05/25/07         Motion for Rehearing filed

08/27/07         Rehearing denied

09/12/07         Mandate issued


United States Supreme Court– Petition for Writ of Certiorari

USSC# 07-8033

128 S.Ct. 1243 (2008)


11/26/07         Petition filed

02/19/08         Petition denied


Circuit Court – 3.851 Motion

CC# 00-573


02/18/09         Motion filed

03/24/10          Motion denied


Florida Supreme Court – 3.851 Motion Appeal

FSC# 10-807



04/30/10          Appeal filed


Florida Supreme Court – Petition for Writ of HabeasCorpus

FSC# 11-81



01/13/11          Petition filed


Case Information:


Tanzi filed a Direct Appeal to the Florida Supreme Court on03/16/05.  There were six issues raised.  First, Tanzi claimed thatthe trial court erred in denying Tanzi’s motion to withdraw his guiltyplea.  Second, he argued that the trial court erred in permittingquestions regarding lack of remorse.  Third, Tanzi claimed that the trialcourt erred in permitting impeachment of Tanzi’s expert witness by a specificand unrelated act of misconduct.  Fourth, he argued that the trial court erredin admitting Tanzi’s confession to sexual battery.  Fifth, Tanzi claimedthe trial court erred in assessing the murder in the course of a felonyaggravator twice.  Sixth, he argued that the trial court did not properlyconsider and weigh mitigation evidence.  The Court affirmed Tanzi’sconviction and death sentence on 05/10/07.  On 05/25/07, Tanzi filed aMotion for Rehearing, which was denied on 08/27/07.  The Florida SupremeCourt issued a mandate on 09/12/07.


On 11/26/07, Tanzi filed a Petition for Writ of Certiorariin the United States Supreme Court.  This petition was denied on 02/19/08.


On 02/18/09, Tanzi filed a 3.851 Motion in the CircuitCourt.  This motion was denied on 03/24/10.


Tanzi filed an appeal of the 3.851 Motion in the FloridaSupreme Court on 04/30/10. This appeal is currently pending.


Tanzie filed a Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus in theFlorida Supreme Court on 01/13/11. This petition is currently pending.





Report Date:   10/01/07         AEH

Approved:       11/05/07         RM

Updated:         02/08/11         EMJ


[1] The jury recommended death on 02/19/03two months before the guilty verdicts were returned as Tanzi had originallyentered a guilty plea, but then argued for a guilt phase if he was forced tohave a penalty jury.  This information is available in the 05/10/07Florida Supreme Court Opinion.