But the younger Tundidor testified it was his father who plotted the crime and fatally stabbed Morrissey.
The elder Tundidor then poured gasoline around Joseph Morrissey’s body and the kitchen area, and set the house on fire, the son testified, while Linda Morrissey — still bound at her hands and feet — and son Patrick, then 5, remained in the master bedroom.
Days before his murder, Morrissey had sent a letter to Tundidor requesting overdue security deposits.
Jurors found the elder Tundidor guilty despite the lack of physical evidence placing him at the scene, and the fact that a murder weapon was never recovered.
Broward prosecutors Tom Coleman and Steve Zaccor said Morrissey was stabbed nine times with what they believe was a 16-inch Bowie knife similar to one the elder Tundidor sold at his window-tinting shop.
The elder Tundidor’s defense attorney Christopher Pole asserted he was asleep at his business on the night of the murder while Randy H. Tundidor went on a violent, crack cocaine-fueled rampage.
For the elder Tundidor, legal troubles were nothing new. State and federal court records revealed numerous judgments against him for money owed and contracts broken; four evictions since 1995; three bankruptcies since 1989; three divorces since 1991 (one filed by his wife on Valentine’s Day); and dropped charges in a 1990s murder-for-hire plot that resulted in his being shot several times in the chest.
“Mr. Tundidor is a truly unique individual,” said Alvin Entin, a Fort Lauderdale defense attorney who once represented Bentsy Muram, a former associate of Tundidor.
How unique? Tundidor lied to police in what everyone thought was a deathbed confession after he was shot in October 1993, Entin recalled.
That lie had to do with Muram, a South Florida brake shop franchisee convicted in 1997 of the murder of a former tenant. Muram had allegedly hired Tundidor to carry out the killing, then tried to murder Tundidor for good measure. Muram was found guilty; charges against Tundidor were dropped when the witness against him, a prostitute, disappeared.
Said Entin: “[The judge] said he had never met a person who ever lied on a dying declaration.”