Man testifies against father in slain professor trial

Randy Tundidor Sr. faces death penalty if convicted

Author: Roger Lohse, Reporter, rlohse@Local10.com
Published On: Apr 25 2012 01:09:02 PM EDT   Updated On: Apr 26 2012 10:05:20 AM EDT
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. -

A Broward man testified Wednesday against his father, who is accused in the stabbing death of a Nova Southeastern University professor.

Randy Tundidor Jr. told jurors that his father, Randy Tundidor Sr., was the mastermind of the hour-long ordeal in which Joseph Morrissey and his wife were robbed and tied up and their house was set on fire.

"I thought we were going to go and just scare them a little bit," Randy Tundidor Jr. said when asked why he thought his father wanted him to go to the Morrissey's Plantation home in April 2010.

Prosecutors said Randy Tundidor Sr. was angry because Morrissey, who was his landlord, was about to evict the his family from their rental home.

Randy Tundidor Jr. admitted he sneaked into the couple's home, forced them at gunpoint to drive to an ATM to withdraw cash, and tied them up when they returned. The couple's 5-year-old son slept through most of the ordeal.

"I covered their heads with a towel and then called my dad," Randy Tundidor Jr. said. "Joe was freaking out, and Mrs. Morrisey was trying to calm him down."

Randy Tundidor Jr. said his father was waiting outside and communicating with him using a walkie-talkie. He said his father then came into the house and told him that the plan had turned to murder.

"My dad said, 'Where is Joe at?' and I told him that they were in the room and he told me that, 'Oh, he has to die,'" Randy Tundidor Jr. said.

The son said he made Morrissey, whose legs were bound together, hop from the master bedroom to the living room, where he said his father threw the professor on the couch and attempted to shoot him. But when the gun jammed, he said, his father grabbed a hunting knife they brought with them and stabbed Morrissey several times.

Randy Tundidor Jr. said Morrissey pleaded with his dad not kill him. He also said he felt helpless to stop the killing.

"I think if I could have I would have stopped it.  It's kind of hard to stop somebody when they have a gun in their hand," Randy Tundidor Jr. said.

He also said his father wanted to kill Linda Morrissey and her son but he persuaded his dad not to do it. Instead, prosecutors said, Randy Tundidor Sr. poured gasoline around the house and set the place on fire. Linda Morrissey and her son escaped the flames.

Both men are charged with first-degree murder, attempted murder, armed kidnapping and armed robbery.

In exchange for his testimony, Randy Tundidor Jr. was allowed to plead guilty to second-degree murder and will avoid the death penalty. His father could face death if he's convicted.

Randy Tundidor Jr. acknowledged he decided to testify against his dad because his father blamed Randy Tundidor Jr. and his other son.

"The fact that he would sit here and say that it was me and my brother who did this, I feel like that's wrong. You shouldn't do anything to hurt kids. A father's job is to protect is kids, not hurt his kids," he said.

Randy Tundidor Jr. also said his father wanted to kill Linda Morrissey and the child, but he persuaded his father not to do it. Instead, prosecutors said, Randy Tundidor Sr. poured gasoline around the house and set it on fire. The mother and child escaped the flames.