FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. - Jurors have recommended the death sentence for the man convicted of killing Nova Southeastern University professor Dr. Joseph Morrissey.
The unanimous decision came as no surprise to Randy Tundidor Sr., who, earlier in the day, directed his defense team not to present a case as to why jurors should spare his life. Local 10's Roger Lohse reported that with his decision, Tundidor was symbolically thumbing his nose to the same panel that convicted him in May.
"He does maintain his innocence, he said he didn't do it, he's said that all along. We were ready to put on the mitigating evidence until he pulled the plug," said defense attorney Richard Rosenbaum.
Monday's hearing was a one sided affair with prosecutors spelling out how Tundidor, 45, and his son Randy Jr., held Morrissey and his wife hostage in their Plantation home in April 2010, robbed them and stabbed the 46-year-old cancer researcher to death.
The motive, prosecutors said, was that Morrisey was their landlord and was going to evict the Tundidor's from the town home he rented to them.
Linda Morrissey testified that her husband's murder left her family emotionally and financially ruined. Prosecutors then a played a recorded statement from her son Patrick, 8, who was asleep in the house when his father was killed.
"Please keep them in jail. After they die they can't...they can't hurt my dad ever again. Thank you and do you know where heaven is? I need prayers for my daddy," the boy said in a high pitched voice.
Jurors took about two hours to decide that Tundidor should be executed which prompted something Lohse said he saw for the first time in the two and half years that he's covered this murder case, a smile from Morrissey's widow.
"At the end of the the day, I still go home without a husband and my son still doesn't have a father but I guess you could say for the state, this was a good day," she told reporters with a grin after the hearing.
The jury's decision is only a recommendation. Judge Cynthia Imperato will have the final word on Tundidor's fate when she formally sentences him early next year.
Randy Tundidor Jr. was also convicted of killing Morrissey. He testified against his father in exchange for a lighter sentence.
Randy Tundidor Jr. will be sentenced after his father is sentenced.
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