Former Florida police officer Manuel Pardo is to be executed today, Tuesday, December 11, for 9 killings from 26 years ago.
The 56-year-old convict testified to the murders in 1986, dubbing his victims drug dealers who “have no right to live.” During his trial, he had asked the judge to end his life, instead of having him spend it in prison.
“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,” he said unapologetically, as he went on trial.
“I think that anyone who would get up and ask a jury sentence him to death is insane,” lawyer Ronald Guralnick adds.
Pardo worked as a Highway Patrol officer in Florida, finishing at the top of his class. A Navy veteran, he was booted off the Florida PD for writing fake traffic tickets, in 1979. He went on to get a job with the Sweetwater department, in Miami-Dade County.
In 1981, he was charged with police brutality, and supported a coworker in a trial four years later. The other officer was being tried for smuggling drugs, and Pardo falsely testified that he had done so while being undercover.
After being fired again, in 1986, he went on a killing spree. He took the lives of 6 men and 3 women, believing himself a vigilante. He also performed several robberies during that 92-day period.
“He was doing robberies and went home and slept like a baby. He was proud of what he did,” David Waksman, the now retired prosecutor on the case, argues.
The former officer was caught when he used the victims' credit cards. Police discovered he was collecting photos of his victims, which he took himself, and had mentioned them in his diary. Pardo also kept newspaper clippings of the murders.
As his home was searched, investigators came across items referencing Adolf Hitler, uncovering Pardo's fascination with the Nazi regime.