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DETAILS OF THE ATTACK
The Santa Suit Massacre occurred at a residence on Christmas Eve in 2008, in Comina, California, a suburb of Los Angeles. 45-year-old Bruce Jeffrey Pardo dressed up as Santa Claus and drove his vehicle to his former in-laws' residence where a group of people, including Pardo's ex-wife, had gathered to celebrate Christmas. According to police reports, there were 25 party-goers present at the home when Pardo knocked on the door in full Santa attire, carrying a gift-wrapped package in one hand (a homemade flamethrower), and a 9mm handgun in the other hand. Pardo had several other handguns tucked away in his Santa suit.
When an eight-year-old female answered the door--who excitedly ran to greet Santa--Pardo opened fire on her, striking her in the face. Pardo continued firing on fleeing party-goers, and murdered several of the victims at close range, execution style. After Pardo finished the shooting spree, he unwrapped the package containing the homemade flame-thrower, and set the residence on fire.
As a result of Pardo's shooting and flame-throwing spree, nine people died from gun shot related injuries or severe burns; two people were injured after being shot by Pardo, including the eight-year-old female who answered the door, and a 16-year-old female who was shot in the back. A 20-year-old woman was also injured when she broke her ankle after jumping out a second story window to escape Pardo's violence.
The fire set by Pardo was so intense that many of the deceased individuals could only be identified through dental records.
In all, Pardo killed nine people, and injured three innocent victims on that bloody Christmas Eve.
DEATH OF PARDO
After committing these horrific crimes, Pardo removed the Santa suit and drove his vehicle to his brother's home, located approximately 30 miles away from the crime scene. Investigators believe that Pardo planned to flee the area because he had purchased an airline ticket prior to the killing spree. But his escape did not go as anticipated. Instead, Pardo unexpectedly suffered third degree burns on his arms from the house fire. Rather than flee as planned, Pardo committed suicide; he was found dead at his brother's residence from a self-inflicted gunshot wound. At the time of his discovery, Pardo had $17,000 in cash strapped to his leg.
At the time of his killing spree, Pardo had no prior criminal record. Authorities speculate that Pardo's motive was due to marital issues. His ex-wife, Sylvia Ortega Pardo, had settled for divorce the previous week, and was one of the victims killed by Pardo that night. The couple had only been married for about a year before they quickly grew apart. It is believed that Pardo concealed a child from a previous relationship. In addition, after the divorce was granted, a court in 2008 ordered Pardo to pay $1,785/month in spousal support and a lump sum of $10,000 to Sylvia. Pardo complained to friends and to the court that the settlement amount and monthly alimony were unfair.
Pardo had also been recently fired from his job as an electrical engineer for billing false hours.
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Victor Freguer was a federal inmate executed in the state of Iowa in 1963. For his last meal, Freguer requested a single olive with the pit still in it. In the early morning of March 15, 1963, Freguer was given a new three-piece suit to wear, and then escorted by two prison guards to the gallows. At dawn, he was hanged. The olive stone from his last meal was found in his suit pocket after he was executed. There have been no executions in Iowa since.
Convicted of murder and armed robbery, John Spenkelink was executed in Starke, Florida in 1979. Known as a heavy drinker prior to his incarceration, Spenkelink requested one flask of Jack Daniels whiskey for his final meal. Prison officials granted his request; he shared the flask with the prison's superintendent. After Spenkelink's execution, the State of Florida's last meal provisions were revised to exclude alcohol.
GERALD LEE MITCHELL
Convicted of murdering two individuals, Gerald Lee Mitchell was executed by lethal injection in Texas in 2001. Prior to his execution, Mitchell made a simple last meal request: one bag of jolly ranchers. His request was granted.
LAWRENCE RUSSELL BREWER
Convicted of hate crimes after dragging a black man to death, Lawrence Russell Brewer was executed by lethal injection in Texas in 2011. For his last meal, Brewer requested chicken steaks, a triple bacon cheese burger, three fajitas, a pizza, fired okra, peanut butter fudge, and a pint of ice cream. Prison officials fulfilled his entire request. But Brewer refused to eat any of it. Thanks to Brewer, the state of Texas banned last meal requests for all death row inmates.
Convicted of murdering 168 people during the Oklahoma City Bombing, Timothy McVeigh was a federal inmate executed by lethal injection on June 11, 2001 in Terre Haute, Indiana. Spending only four years on death row-an unusually low amount of time for death row inmates-McVeigh's final meal request was two pints of mint chocolate chip ice cream.
PETER J. MINIEL
Convicted murderer Peter J. Miniel was executed in Texas via lethal injection in 2004. Fearing an empty stomach after death, Miniel's last meal request was like no other death row inmate. He requested 20 beef tacos, 20 beef enchiladas, a jalapeno pizza, two double cheeseburgers, spaghetti with salt, fried chicken, a half chocolate and half vanilla cake, cookies and cream ice cream, caramel pecan fudge ice cream, and fruit cake, six cans of soda, and two glasses of orange juice.