STARKE, Fla. — A former police officer who murdered nine people during a 1986 crime spree was executed Tuesday after his attorneys' last-minute appeals were rejected.
Manuel Pardo, 56, was pronounced dead at Florida State Prison at 7:47 p.m., about 16 minutes after the lethal injection process began. His attorneys had tried to block the execution by arguing that he was mentally ill, but federal courts declined to intercede.
Reporters could not hear his final statement because of an apparent malfunction in the death chamber's sound system. A white sheet had been pulled up to his chin and IV lines ran into his left arm. He blinked several times, his eyes moved back and forth and he took several deep breaths. Over the next several minutes the color drained from his face before he was pronounced dead.
Prison officials said his final words were, "Airborne forever. I love you, Michi baby," referring to his daughter.
Pardo also wrote a final statement that was distributed to the media, in which he claimed that he never killed any women, but "accepted full responsibility for killing six men.
"I never harmed those 3 women or any female. I took the blame as I knew I was doomed and it made no difference to me, at this time, having 6 or 9 death sentences," he wrote on Dec. 11, hours before his execution. "I don't want this hanging over my head, especially these last few minutes of life, because my war was against men who were trafficing (sic) in narcotics and no one else!"
Officials said most of Pardo's victims were involved with drugs. Pardo contended that he was doing the world a favor by killing them over three-month period in early 1986.
"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 told jurors at his 1988 trial.