Manuel Pardo is finally getting his wish 24 years after he asked a jury to sentence him to death. The ex-cop is to be executed Tuesday night for murdering nine people in Florida in a 1980s killing spree.
Pardo was convicted of a 1986 crime spree that saw him kill six men and three women during a string of robberies. After killing them, Pardo took pictures of his victims, which were later found in his home near newspaper clippings about the murders. He started his murderous course after being fired from the Sweetwater Police Department for lying under oath, telling a courtroom his friend shouldn’t go to jail for drug smuggling because the friend was an undercover drug agent, according to the Associated Press.
Pardo was caught after he used the victims’ credit cards. He also had an Adolf Hitler fixation and collected Nazi memorabilia. His dog had a swastika tattoo.
“I am a soldier, I accomplished my mission and I humbly ask you to give me the glory of ending my life and not send me to spend the rest of my days in state prison,” Pardo, then 31, told the jury at the sentencing hearing in his 1988 trial.
Of his victims, he said, “They’re parasites and they’re leeches, and they have no right to be alive. Somebody had to kill these people,” adding he was capable of killing more people.
Pardo spent much of his twenty-plus years behind bars known as “Death Row Romeo” for his ability to seduce pen pals through the mail and convince them to send him money. He is known to have collected at least $3,500 while in prison.
Pardo was initially fired from the Florida Highway Patrol for making up speeding tickets before the Sweetwater police hired him. There, he saved a little boy’s life by administering CPR and the Clarion Ledger reported he arrested a man for stealing exotic birds and using them in a South American sacrifice ceremony.
Pardo's lawyer, Ronald Guralnick, is trying to stop the execution, scheduled to take place at Florida State Prison, but it may be too late even for an insanity defense. The attorney chalked up the former officer’s actions to the zeitgeist at a time when Florida was a drug lord’s haven.
“I think anyone who would get up and ask a jury to sentence him to death is insane,” Guralnick said. “I’m not admitting he did any of that, but let’s say he did. He was a victim of the time. The people he was dealing with were trash.”
Families of the victims plan on being on hand to watch the former officer executed.