Man gets 40 years in professor's death

Randy Tundidor Jr. testifies against dad to avoid death penalty

Published On: Dec 07 2012 10:36:04 AM EST   Updated On: Dec 08 2012 05:21:45 PM EST
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. -

One of the men convicted in the death of a Nova Southeastern University professor was sentenced Friday for his role in the crime.

Randy Tundidor, Jr., received a 40 year prison sentence. He had previously pled guilty to second-degree murder, allowing him to avoid the death penalty, in exchange for testifying against his father, Randy Tundidor, Sr.

"He didn't even get the minimum, which was 41," said Kay Morrissey, the wife of Joseph Morrissey. She stormed out of the courtroom after the sentencing.

"The sanctity of our home was destroyed that night," Morrissey told Judge Cynthia Imperato.

Prosecutors said the father and son broke into Joseph Morrissey's home in April 2010. During his father's trial, Tundidor Jr., 24, testified he snuck into the family's home, forced the couple at gunpoint to drive to an ATM, and then tied them up while their 5-year-old son slept nearby.

Morrissey said the Tundidors were angry that her husband was about to evict them from the townhouse they rented from the professor. A jury recommended Tundidor Sr. be sentenced to death in October, but maintains his innocence, and blames the crime on Tundidor Jr. and his other son Shawn.

Morrissey wanted the judge to give Tundidor Jr. a life sentence, saying he was the one who broke into their home and tied up her husband, leaving him defenseless against Tundidor Sr.

"My little boy and I do not feel safe in our own home because we think the bogeyman is going to come back and finish the job," said Morrissey.

During his father's trial, Tundidor Jr. testified that he believed they were only going to rob the couple. He said his father wanted to kill Morrissey's wife and the couple's son, too, but he persuaded his dad not to do it. Instead, prosecutors said Tundidor Sr. poured gasoline around the house and set the place on fire. The mother and son escaped the flames.

At his sentencing, he offered an apology to Morrissey's widow.

"If I could have stopped him, I would've. I'm just truly sorry," said Tundidor Jr.

Imperato said she sympathized with Morrissey's widow but explained that without Tundidor Jr.'s testimony, it's unlikely prosecutors would have been able to convict his father.

"So, for that reason the court is not going to sentence him to life in prison even though that's what you're asking but I am going to sentence him to 40 years," said Imperato.

"He'll be out when my son is what, how old is my little boy? How am I going to go home and tell him that?" Morrissey told Local 10's Roger Lohse.

The judge will formally sentence Tundidor Sr. early next year.