TAMPA, Fla. (AP) - Manuel Pardo was a decorated Florida highway patrolman and police officer who went horribly bad, slaying nine people during a three-month crime spree after he had been fired for lying.
Now, almost 27 years later, Pardo, 56, is scheduled to be executed Tuesday night at Florida State Prison in Starke barring a last-minute stay, fulfilling a request he made to jurors at his 1988 trial.
Pardo's attorneys are trying to block his execution, arguing in federal appeals that he is mentally ill, something his trial attorney believed more than two decades ago.
Pardo, a former Boy Scout and Navy veteran, began his law enforcement career in the 1970s with the Florida Highway Patrol, graduating at the top of his class at the academy. But he was fired from that agency in 1979 for falsifying traffic tickets. He was soon hired by the police department in Sweetwater, a small city in Miami-Dade County.
In 1981, Pardo was one of four Sweetwater officers charged with brutality, but the cases were dismissed.
In 1982, The Miami Herald reported that Pardo saved a 2-month-old boy's life by reviving him with CPR. Another story, written by famed South Florida columnist and novelist Carl Hiassen, noted that Pardo arrested a man for stealing valuable parrots and cockatoos to use as live sacrifices for a Santeria ritual. Pardo also spoke to the paper and said he was proud of other officers who earned certificates from a community college.
But he was fired four years later after he flew to the Bahamas to testify at the trial of a Sweetwater colleague who was accused of drug smuggling. Pardo lied, telling the court they were international undercover agents.
Then over a 92-day period in early 1986, Pardo committed a series of robberies, killing six men and three women. He took photos of the victims and recounted some details in his diary, which was found along with newspaper clippings about the killing in his home. Pardo was linked to the killings after using credit cards stolen from the victims. He had become fascinated with Adolf Hitler, collecting Nazi memorabilia. His dog, a Doberman pinscher, had a swastika tattoo...
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