Both mother and son suffer post-traumatic stress.
Patrick “goes really crazy when there’s a fire-alarm drill’’ at school, she said. “You cannot hold him down. He starts running.’’
Simple things have sent her reeling. One day, she found a letter in her son’s handwriting in the mailbox, addressed to his dad.
He wrote: “How are you doing in heaven? I love you so much. I miss you Daddy.’’
The first Christmas after the crime, she bought Patrick a Buzz Lightyear doll. Twist ties, tiny versions of the zip ties that bound her, secured the doll’s feet in the package. She froze when she saw them.
“I turned around and Patrick is giving me this look. He knew those ties were the ones in the crime. He was very aware of what was happening.’’
She and Patrick have had therapy, but Kay won’t take anti-depressants. She needs to face this thing head on, she insists, and show others who survive traumas that they, too, can carry on.
“I have my son, and I am determined that [the Tundidors] are not going to take over my life,’’ she said. “They took my husband’s life, but if you don’t live a complete life, then they are actually taking your life away.’’
Patrick, now 8, “is a happy child,’’ his mother said. “Very strong, jolly, so friendly and outgoing it’s not funny. He’s always joking. He’ll say one-liners with a straight face. Adults love it. He’s very, very smart.’’
He knows that the men who attacked his family “are evil,’’ she said. “He asks questions then kind of answers himself a lot of times.’’
When he asks to visit the cemetery, she takes him. Often, she goes alone.
On Joe’s headstone, she inscribed “Together Forever.’’
Kay Morrissey was back in Broward Circuit Court on Feb. 20 for a hearing. Judge Cynthia Imperato ordered the release of Senior’s medical records to a court-appointed lawyer prior to sentencing, which has not yet been scheduled. Senior isn’t fighting the jury’s death recommendation and won’t cooperate with efforts to find mitigating evidence.
Senior gave her a sidelong glance, smirking slightly. She just stared.
Kay attends every proceeding, no matter how minor, looking crisply professional. It’s a matter of honoring Joe.
“Of course I cry, but it’s so important to be able to be ‘together,’ ’’ she said. “I represent my family. I take that very seriously.’’
She enjoys watching the Tundidors shuffle across the courtroom in prison stripes and shackles, knowing she can walk away freely and Senior, at least, never will.
Years from now, when the State of Florida finally executes Randy William Tundidor, Kay Morrissey pledges to be watching. Patrick could well be an adult by then, free to decide if he’ll go.
“I want to be there,’’ she said. “I have every right to be there.’’