Vigilante Cop Executed Over Killing Spree

Vigilante Cop Executed Over Killing Spree

A former police officer who murdered nine people during a 1986 crime spree has been executed.

Manuel Pardo was pronounced dead at Florida State Prison about 16 minutes after being given the lethal injection.

The 56-year-old's lawyers had tried to prevent the execution by arguing he was mentally ill.

Reporters could not hear his final statement because of an apparent malfunction in the death chamber's sound system.

During 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 cuttings about the murders.

He was linked to the murders after using credit cards stolen from the victims.

Officials said most were involved with drugs. Pardo contended he was doing the world a favour by killing them.

"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 pleaded at his trial.

He was dubbed the "Death Row Romeo" after he corresponded with dozens of women and persuaded many to send him money.

The former US Navy veteran joined the Florida Highway Patrol in the 1970s but he was fired in 1979 for falsifying driving tickets.

He then joined 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.

He was fired four years later after he flew to the Bahamas to testify at the trial of a Sweetwater colleague accused of drug smuggling.

Pardo falsely told the court they were both international undercover agents.

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