The sentencing for Marco Antonio Parilla Jr., who pleaded guilty to killing Tarpon Springs police Officer Charles Kondek in 2014, begins this week.
Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty. To convince a jury to spare his life, the defense plans to argue that 27-year-old Parilla suffered brain damage that impaired his judgment.
TAMPA BAY TIMES SPECIAL REPORT: STOLEN GUNS
The shooting took place on Dec. 21, 2014, after Parilla left a party in Holiday and drove down to Glen's Eureka apartments at 199 Grand Blvd. in Tarpon Springs.
He was there to find a former roommate Parilla believed had snitched to the police about his drug use. While he banged on doors searching for the roommate, a neighbor called dispatchers.
Officer Charles Kondek, a 17-year veteran, responded to the noise complaint. He was confronted by Parilla, who shot and killed Kondek with a stolen .40-caliber Glock pistol.
As a jury prepares to decide Parilla's fate, here are five things to know about the case.
1. Charles Kondek was a family man.
Kondek, 45, was a father of six. He had five children with Teresa Kondek. In her first interview since her husband's death, she described him as "the backbone of everything." The couple raised
two daughters and three sons, now in their teens and 20s. Her husband worked the midnight shift so that the kids never had to stay with babysitters.
Aleena, the youngest, spoke for the family at the 2014 funeral with sister Holly at her side.
"My dad was my hero," Aleena said. "My best friend, my coach, my back-up singer in the car. He was everything to me."
At his 2014 funeral, Tarpon Springs police Capt. Jeffrey Young said it was easy to describe his friend Kondek.
"What was Charlie like?" Young said. "That's easy. First and foremost he was a family man."
Kondek spent five years with the New York City Police Department before being hired by Tarpon Springs in 1997.
The stolen Glock pistol used in the murder of Tarpon Springs police Officer Charles Kondek on Dec. 21, 2014. [Pinellas County Sheriff's Office]
2. Kondek was killed with a stolen gun.
The black .40-caliber Glock that Parilla used in the murder had been stolen four months earlier from an unlocked Honda Accord in Jacksonville. According to police reports, a group of teens were lifting car door handles on a quiet suburban street when they found the gun. After his arrest, Parilla told detectives he bought the Glock from a man in Tampa and claimed not to know the seller's name.
3. Gun theft is a big problem in Florida.
Since 2007, at least 82,000 guns have been reported stolen in Florida and never found. In Tampa Bay alone, at least 9,000 stolen firearms have gone missing. Law enforcement officials say car burglaries, like the one in Jacksonville that was used to kill Kondek, are driving the epidemic. Many gun owners leave their vehicles unlocked, making it easy for thieves to slip inside.
4. Parilla had just been released from prison.
Months before Kondek's murder, Marco Parilla had served a three-year sentence for an array of charges that included selling cocaine and marijuana, trafficking in stolen property and leaving the scene of a crash involving an injury. He was also wanted for violating his probation after a judge found out he was using and selling cocaine.
After his arrest, he told detectives that he didn't want to go back to prison.
5. This is the first legal case involving the slaying of a Pinellas County law enforcement officer since 2012.
On Feb. 21, 2011, St. Petersburg police Officer David Crawford was killed while responding to a report about a possible car break-in.
The 25-year police veteran saw 16-year-old Nicholas Lindsey and stepped out of his cruiser to talk to him. Crawford was holding only a notepad when Lindsey fired five times at the officer.
A jury convicted Lindsey of first-degree murder in 2012, a sentence that was upheld a year later. He is now 23 and serving a life sentence at Century Correctional Institution.
Contact Laura C. Morel at [email protected] Follow @lauracmorel.