TAMPA, FLA. — 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.
"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," the then-31-year-old Pardo told the panel.
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.
Frank Sinatra Jr.
On December 10, 1963, Frank Sinatra Jr., (who was kidnapped in Lake Tahoe, California, two days earlier) is allowed to talk to his father. He was abducted at gunpoint from his hotel room at Harrah's Casino on December 8, 1963 and taken to Canoga Park, an area of Southern California's San Fernando Valley. After the brief conversation between father and son, the kidnappers demanded a ransom of $240,000.
In America, if you’re going to die, especially before your time, it better be by natural causes and not require a whole lot of investigation to support that finding. Because, if your death is the result of foul play but there’s no glaring evidence of blunt force trauma, it’ll probably be through either good luck or powerful connections that it’s ever ruled a homicide.
Why is that? Well, for starters, there are tons of dead bodies piling up out there and a dearth of medical examiners to perform thorough autopsies on them.
It’s also about money.
Expediency in making death determinations is one of the major reasons that the relationship between a local police department and the coroner’s office is so “tight.” Cops are often the first to be called to the scene whenever a corpse is found, and their opinions greatly influence how closely forensic pathologists in turn look at that body once it’s been transported to the morgue and placed on a slab.
If, for instance, a deceased young male is fished out of the river after he vanished from a nearby pub or party, then, unless the lad’s also missing his head or bullet-ridden, his death is almost instantly ruled an “accidental drowning.” This will be true, regardless of how suspicious his initial disappearance might have been, or whether the non-recreational water fatality occurred during a cold-weather month.
Open, shut and certified: “The guy was drunk, went to the water for some fresh air, slipped on a rock, fell in, and died.”
At its best, law enforcement working side by side like this with a medical examiner so to expedite a cause of death is arguably an economical and efficient arrangement which can quickly dispose of those cases where there clearly is “no sign of foul play” involved.
But, at its worst, this coziness presents a situation that’s just rife for corruption and cover ups...
Former Beatle John Lennon is shot and killed by Mark David Chapman outside his apartment building in New York City on December 8, 1980. After committing the murder, Chapman waited calmly outside, reading a copy of The Catcher in the Rye.
Charles Brooks Jr.
On December 7, 1982, the first execution by lethal injection takes place at the state penitentiary in Huntsville, Texas. On December 14, 1976, Charles Brooks Jr., went to a used car lot and asked to test drive a car. The mechanic, David Gregory, accompanied him in the car. After Brooks picked up his accomplice Woody Loudres, they put the mechanic in the trunk of the car and Brooks and Loudres drove to a motel. There the mechanic was bound to a chair with coat hangers, gagged with tape and then shot once in the head.
With the purpose of writing about true crime in an authoritative, fact-based manner, veteran journalists J. J. Maloney and J. Patrick O’Connor launched Crime Magazine in November of 1998.
Their goal was to cover all aspects of true crime: from organized crime to serial killers, from capital punishment to prisons, from historical crimes to celebrity crime, from assassinations to government corruption, from justice issues to innocent cases, from crime films to books about crime. Read More