TARPON SPRINGS, Fla. (WFLA) – Marco Parilla is guilty of shooting and killing a 17-year veteran of the Tarpon Springs Police Department.
He admitted his crime in a Pinellas County courtroom Thursday afternoon.
Parilla pleaded guilty to a charge of first degree murder in the death of Officer Charlie Kondek.
Next, a trial will be held to see if he’ll die for the crime.
As they have since the fatal shooting of Officer Kondek in December 2014, friends, officers and family packed the courtroom.
“First, like, to say sorry to you,” said Parilla.
It’s the first time we’ve heard from the cop killer since he shot Officer Kondek as he investigated a noise complaint.
“I’m writing this apology to ask you for your forgiveness. I never wanted to take the life of no one, let alone a hero,” said Parilla, as he read a prepared statement.
The shooting death stunned the Tarpon Springs community. People knew Officer Kondek for his leadership at the department and his involvement with residents.
His boss and friend, Police Chief Robert Kochen, is looking forward to the penalty phase.
“The State Attorney has or is seeking the death penalty. We fully support that. We are talking about one of our heroes, one of our police officers, that this guy murdered in cold blood,” said Chief Kochen.
The now 26-year-old killer made a plea of his own.
“I really want everyone in the community to know that I am not a monster, and that I am sorry for causing pain to the community,” said Parilla.
He’ll likely have a chance to give this message to a jury.
“I beg you to please spare my life and give me a chance to better myself and others around me,” he said.
Parilla’s attorney said his client always wanted to plead guilty.
“We’re trying [to] persuade the jury whenever that happens, that his life is worth saving and that he should die of natural causes in prison rather than be executed,” said Bjorn Brunvand.
Marco Parilla’s voice cracked when he spoke of not being able to be a father to his two young boys.
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