Randy Tundidor

*** I want to state before I start that Randy W. and his son Randy H. are both accused of this crime. While Randy H. is not legally a “Jr.” he is often called this. So, for clarification purposes I plan to use “Jr.” when referring to him.***

On April 5, 2010 two men entered the home of Nova Southeastern University professor Joseph Morrissey's home in Plantation Florida. Both Joseph and his wife, Linda were bound and tied up while their five year old son slept upstairs. At some point the couple, either both together or Joseph alone, were forced to with draw money from their bank account. One man went to the bank while the other stayed home with the couple's son. It has been said that it was done this way so that the couple would completely comply with the two men knowing that if they did not their son could be in danger. By all account the couple did not know, or maybe later remember, who the two men were.

Once they returned from the bank one of the men put a pillow over Joseph Morrissey's head and pulled the trigger of his gun while Joseph begged for his life. The gun jammed so the man grabbed a knife that he had brought with him to the scene and stabbed Joseph Morrissey until he died. Linda, and the young boy were then bound and tied again and before the two men left the home they set the home on fire. Linda and her son Patrick would escape the home.

It appears that at least for a bit the police did not have many leads. Then they received a call from a man named Shawn Tundidor. According to Shawn his father, Randy Tundidor, who rented a home from the Morrissey's but at the time of the murder was facing eviction, had admitted to him that he had sent Shawn's brother, Randy Jr. to the Morrissey home. Shawn would agree to wear a wire to get information. Whether the wire picked up anything significant or the police were now just on the right track is unclear but eventually both Randy Tundidor and his son, Randy Jr. were arrested and charged with multiple counts including murder, attempted murder, kidnapping and arson.

I have to say I am a bit surprised the police were not onto Tundidor earlier, and maybe they were and my research was unclear. Not only of course did Tundidor rent a home from the Morrissey family and facing eviction but Randy Tundidor had a shady past.

Twenty years prior, in 1993, Randy Tundidor had been charged with murder. It was alleged that he was a hired hitman for another man named Bentsy Muram. Muram wanted Gillermo Hernandez murdered although the reason seemed unclear. Muram had gone to Tundidor and offered money. Tundidor would bring Jorge Prieto into the situation. The two apparently attempted to murder Hernandez in December of 1989 and while he was shot, Hernandez survived. Then on January 11, 1990 the two men returned and Hernandez was shot six times in the chest and back and died. In April of 1993 Randy was arrested after a witness, Patricia Wooden claimed to have seen the killing. Muram reportedly posted Randy's bail and hired an attorney for him. By that August both Patricia and her boyfriend disappeared (I was unable to determine if they were ever found). In September prosecutors dropped charges against Randy.

On October 27, 1993 apparently Muram, who feared Randy was going to talk shot him several times but he survived. Within a few days Randy was talking to authorities and telling them the plot between Muram and Prieto, of course leaving himself out of it other than possibly admitting to taking some money from Muram. A few weeks later the story was collaborated and Prieto was arrested. It seems in the beginning at least Prieto was implicating Randy as the shooter but he would eventually plead guilty in December of 1994. While my research indicated that he received a twenty year sentence, according to the DOC he is serving the twenty years for a 2nd degree murder charge but he is also serving a life sentence for a 1st degree charge. I am unclear what the other is.

As far a Muram, he apparently escaped justice for a while. On December 27, 1994 he would go back to Tundidor's Brake Shop to apparently take another shot at him. Instead an employee was shot, but he too survived. Wow!... anyone notice it seems none of them can get the job done the first time? At any rate Muram then took off on the run. He was profiled on America's Most Wanted and eventually captured. He too is a resident of the Florida Department of Corrections. He is also serving a life sentence for 1st degree murder or attempted murder as well as in addition to that he is serving two, three year sentences on the same type of charges.

So, as you can see Randy had quite the past behind him and while some would argue that the Hernandez issue was decades earlier and he was never convicted he was innocent, others could argue that he was surely not a choir boy. I would imagine that the investigators in the Morrissey case would have looked at those who had a “beef” with Morrissey and look at any tenants they may have had. At either rate he and his son were arrested and charged.

Randy Jr. would plead guilty to avoid the death penalty and was required to testify against his father at his trial in 2012. Randy Jr.'s story would be that he and his father had committed the crime together and told the scenario of events. After his father's trial Randy Jr. would be sentenced to forty years in prison. According to the Department of Corrections in Florida his release date is in the year 2049.

At the trial the defense attempted to say that not only had Randy Jr. committed the crime as he had testified to but that instead of committing the crime with his father he had actually done so with his brother Shawn. The defense would claim that Randy Sr. had absolutely nothing to do with the crime. The prosecutors would show that Shawn had nothing to do with the crime, nor had he ever been a suspect.

To be fair to the defense my research did not indicate or show a lot that had been been presented at the trial other than the fact that both of Randy's sons testified against him. I can only assume that there was more than just the word of his sons. At any rate Randy was convicted for murder, arson, kidnapping, attempted murder and armed robbery. I am uncertain as to why but apparently the same jury was used for his sentencing but it took six months to occur. They would recommend the death penalty for Randy. The judge set a date for official sentencing and that kept getting pushed back. First the defense filed an appeal before his sentencing and asked that all of the Broward County Judges be disqualified in hearing the appeal. The reason was that when his trial attorney had been hired he had brought in his assistant because it was a possibility that he would be elected (or appointed) to be a county judge. It seems that had occurred and while Randy's appeal spoke of ineffective counsel as so many do the defense now argued that no county judge should hear it since the counsel they would be ruling about was now one of their colleagues. That failed. Then apparently his lawyer became sick, pushing back official sentencing. After that it seemed they kept wanting more delays and time to prepare.

They would finally get into court in November of 2014. At this point the defense was still claiming flat out innocence and Randy did not want any mitigating circumstances considered. They also wanted to bring in several different inmates who they would claim would testify that Randy Jr. had confessed to them that his father was innocent. All of the inmates had either been waiting to be tried or had been tried on murder save Seth Penalver. I blogged about Seth recently. He was convicted and served nearly two decades in prison before being found innocent and released. He had now become an advocate against the death penalty. It It seems that none of them either testified or their testimony was not quite what the defense expected. The theory was that Randy Jr. had only testified as he had in the trial expecting less time than he received in his plea deal and was now changing his story. The judge was apparently not impressed.

Randy Tundidor would be given a death sentence in the murder of Joseph Morrissey. He would also receive four life sentences for kidnapping and armed robbery. In addition he would also receive thirty years each for two counts of attempted murder and 1st degree arson.

I am sure that sometime down the road there is likely to be an appeal filed and published and maybe more specifics about the crime will be available.


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