Man pleads guilty to killing Tarpon Springs officer, apologizes

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Marco Antonio Parilla, Jr. now admits to killing Tarpon Springs Police Officers Charles Kondek. 

He apologized Thursday.

Parilla changed his plea to guilty nearly three years after killing the Tarpon Springs officer who was responding to a noise complaint call. 

Parilla now faces the death penalty.

Officer Kondek’s widow and family were surrounded by fellow police officers sharing in their grief.

Speaking to the room, Parilla read his apology.

“I’m writing this apology to ask you for your forgiveness I never wanted to take the life of no one especially a hero,” Parilla said. “I also want to apologize to the community of Tarpon Springs and all the officers, I really want everyone in the community to know I am not a monster and for causing pain to the community.”

By admitting guilt, Parilla forgoes a jury trial and will jump straight to the penalty phase. 

It’s a strategic move that could mean the difference between life without parole or a death sentence.

“We decided, after reviewing everything, that it was in his best interest to do that and have a jury trial on the penalty issue hoping that they will spare his life,” said defense attorney Bjorn Brunvand.

Tarpon Springs' police chief spoke briefly after the hearing.

“The state attorney is seeking the death penalty. We fully support that. We are talking about one of our heroes,” said Chief Robert Kochen.

The penalty phase is expected to begin in late November or early December.