Manuel Pardo was a decorated Florida highway patrolman and police officer, but went off the rails in epic fashion, committing nine murders for which he will be executed Tuesday.
Almost 27 years after his killing spree, Pardo, 56, will be put to death Tuesday night at Florida State Prison in Starke, fulfilling a request he made at his 1988 trial.
"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 told the jury.
Pardo's attorneys want to block his execution, arguing in federal appeals that he is mentally ill, something his trial attorney also believed more than two decades ago.
"I think that anyone who would get up and ask a jury sentence him to death is insane," lawyer Ronald Guralnick said recently; his victims have no such qualms.
Regino Musa, the brother of one of Pardo's victims, said it's difficult to grasp that the execution will finally happen. He and his elderly mother plan to attend.
"It's about time. It's been so long, you just want to get it over with," said Musa, whose sister, Sara Musa, was killed by Pardo. "I still have nightmares."
"I don't have words to describe it. I can't believe that it's happening."
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.
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.
He was fired four years later after he apparently 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, Manuel Pardo committed a series of robberies and worse, killing six men and three women in the process.
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.
"He was very cold," retired prosecutor David Waksman told the Herald. "He was doing robberies and went home and slept like a baby. He was proud of what he did."