Jury recommends death in professor's murder
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (WSVN) -- A jury has recommended a stiff sentence for the cold-blooded killer who assassinated a Nova professor and tortured his family. They said he deserves to die for his crimes, but the final say will be up to a judge.
It's likely the judge will not make a decision until early next year, but today, the jury unanimously recommended Randy Tundidor Sr. receive the death penalty.
Tundidor Sr. chose to appear in court wearing his striped prison uniform rather than his regular civilian clothes. It was also apparent that he did not put up much of a fight in court.
During the sentencing hearing, the prosecution brought two witnesses to the stand, including the victim's wife, Linda Morrissey. and a doctor who spoke about the autopsy wounds that were found on former the Nova professor and Tundidor's former landlord, Joseph Morrissey.
In April 2010, Tundidor and his son broke into the home of Morrissey where he was with his wife and his then 5-year-old son. They bound him, killed Morrissey and then set the house on fire. Morrissey's wife and son survived the tragic incident.
Morrissey's wife said she is happy with the decision the jury recommended to the judge Monday. "You know at the end of the day, I still go home without a husband," said Linda Morrissey, "My son is without a dad. But I guess you can say that the state had a good day today."
The defense attorney said that his client, Randy Tundidor Sr., tied their hands. "Obviously, I was curtailed today," said the defense attorney, "by not being able to present any mitigating evidence. There was substantial mitigating evidence that I think would have prompted a reasonable jury to come back with a life recommendation. But Mr. Tundidor wouldn't let me use it."
It remains unknown why Mr. Tundidor made that decision. The decision was made behind closed doors with the judge, but he asked that his attorneys not present any witnesses, even though a witness was in the courtroom, ready to take the stand. Tundidor said he didn't want his defense team to present any mitigating factors to help possibly save him from the jury recommendation.
Tuesday morning the defense file a motion for a new trial based on a technicality. The judge promptly denied the motion, however.
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