FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. -

Earlier this year a jury convicted and then recommended Randy Tundidor Sr. die by lethal injection for murdering a Nova Southeastern University professor. Monday, he was in a Broward County courtroom hoping to convince a judge to spare his life.

The defense is expected to call on dozens of witnesses over the next couple of days in the hopes that the judge will be lenient and allow Tundidor to spend the rest of his life behind bars.

The first witness called to the stand was the victim’s wife.

"I would like everyone to know how much torture and pain has resulted from the murder of our beloved Joe," said Kay Morrissey.

Kay recalled the horror and violence she and her husband, Dr. Joseph Morrissey, and their then 5-year-old son, Patrick, endured that night in July 2010 inside their Plantation home.

"The innocence of a little boy was stolen that night," said Kay. "To this day he remembers mom’s screams and desperation."

Dr. Morrissey, a respected Nova Southwestern University professor was murdered that night at the hands of Tundidor Sr., who was convicted of plotting and carrying out the murder inside the home he and his son, Randy Jr. were renting from the Morrisseys.

"To torture and murder my husband in such a way and leaving my son and I tied up in the home," said Kay. "The only reason why Patrick and I survived is because the fire alarm went off, and he ran like a rat out of the house, showing once again his cowardly nature."

The defense is hoping the witnesses they call over the next couple of days, as well as a letter like one written by Tundidor himself, will convince the judge to have mercy on him and not give him the death penalty.

"I did not kill Mr. Morrissey or play a role in any crime against Morrissey," said Tundidor, in a letter to the judge read aloud Monday by his attorney. "Under no circumstances is it in me to hurt a woman or child. It’s not in me."

The defense is expected to call more than two dozen witnesses to the stand. Tundidor could still take the stand on his own behalf if he chooses to.