The man who stabbed his landlord to death and then set his Plantation home on fire as the victim’s wife and son were in the bedroom should receive the death penalty, says the 12-member jury who reconvened Monday for the sentencing phase.
Randy W. Tundidor, 45, of Plantation, was found guilty in May by the same Broward County jury of 10 felony criminal charges, including first-degree murder, attempted murder, armed robbery, armed kidnapping, burglary and arson.
Monday morning, the jury of six men and six women reconvened to hear testimony and begin deliberating whether to recommend life in prison or Death Row for the 2010 murder of Joseph Morrissey, 46, the Nova Southwestern University assistant professor and science researcher who rented a town house to Tundidor.
Broward Circuit Judge Cynthia Imperato will have the final say on Tundidor’s punishment. Rarely do judges stray from a jury’s recommendation.
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Jurors reached their verdict after almost two weeks of trial that included dramatic testimony from the victim’s widow, Tundidor’s two sons and his girlfriend.
In August, Tundidor’s oldest son, Randy H. Tundidor, 23, pleaded guilty to a reduced charge of second-degree murder to avoid the death penalty.
During his father’s trial, Randy H. Tundidor testified that he broke into the Morrisseys’ home, held the couple at gunpoint, bound their hands and feet with plastic ties, rummaged through their house for valuables and forced them to drive to an ATM to withdraw cash.
But it was his father, the younger man said, 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.