FT. LAUDERDALE (CBSMiami) – The widow of a murdered Nova Southeastern University professor has taken the stand in the trial of Randy Tundidor Sr., the man accused of murdering her husband Joseph Morrissey.
Linda Morrissey told jurors Tuesday morning about the terrifying day her husband was murdered in cold blood. She explained how she saw a shadow and thought it was her husband but the next thing she saw was a gun pointed at her face.
“I was mortified, I couldn’t breathe or talk,” she recounted. “He was asking me ‘where was my husband?’ I was so confused. I told him ‘I didn’t know’.”
She said the man with the gun started screaming and said she had to do what he told her to do in order to not get hurt. She went on explain how the gunman rounded up her husband and took them both to the dining room where they were forced to kneel on the floor.
“He said he didn’t care if he killed us because he had prior convictions and would be going away for life anyway.”
The man she described during her testimony is Randy Tundidor Jr., the same person expected to be the star witness against his own father.
Both were charged in the crime but Tundidor Jr. agreed to testify against his father as part of a plea deal.
“He told me to get a box which had plastic ties in it,” testified Linda. “He tied us up in the dining room and asked for towels to put over our heads. My hands were tied behind my back. My husband’s hands were tied in front. He got towels from the linen closet and put them over our heads.”
She also told the jury, “He was talking over a walkie talkie in code. The man on the radio was asking if it was completed. The guy with the gun would say ‘yes or no.’ The man with the gun told the guy outside to come in the front door because it was clear.”
At that point she recalled she and her husband were rushed into the master bedroom.
She said the man with the gun, Tundidor Jr., demanded money. They told him where Morrissey’s wallet was but he came back mad because there was only three dollars and some Euros in it.
“My husband had been on a trip and forgot to change them,” she explained. She also said, “We offered him credit cards and jewelry.” She said she gave him her engagement and wedding rings but he gave her back the wedding ring and said, “You can keep this one,” and threw it on the bed.
During the crime, the Morrissey’s were also forced at gunpoint to drive to a nearby ATM and withdraw money.
Linda explained the horrifying trip to the bank.
“The intruder with the gun said ‘Let’s go to the bank and get $5,000 out of the account’. Linda didn’t want to go without her 5-year-old son who was asleep in his bedroom because she “didn’t want to leave him with whoever else might be in the house.”
The intruders ignored her plea and forced them both into their car, she testified.
“At gunpoint, he forced Joe to drive their Honda to the bank.” She was in the passenger seat. “I told him to drive to a location on Broward Boulevard. It was an ATM. I tried to withdraw the amount but knew it wouldn’t give me $5,000. I managed to get $500 out. I gave it to the guy with the gun.”
On the way back to the house, she said, “He was screaming and yelling that we were taking him to the wrong place. I said ‘why wouldn’t I be going there? You are holding my baby at home’.”
She said her husband asked him ‘if he did this for a living?’ The guy with the gun cocked the trigger. I thought he was going to kill us.”
When they got back to the Plantation home, they were forced to lay down in the master bedroom, said Linda.
“The guy with the gun left the bedroom for awhile.” She had time to free her left hand from the plastic tie. Then her son Patrick woke up. Her husband told him to pretend he’s sleeping but he wanted to know what was going on.
Soon, someone came back into the room but she had a towel on her head. They forced her husband to leave the room, she testified.
Joseph Morrissey was eventually stabbed to death and the house was set on fire.
Both Linda and her son were able to escape.
The attorney for Tundidor Sr. has blamed Morrissey’s murder on the son who was addicted to drugs and desperate for money.
Prosecutors said Tundidor Sr. planned the attack because he was about to be evicted from the home he rented from Morrissey. They said he ordered his son to rob their landlord, but he plunged the hunting knife into Joseph Morrissey nine times and lit the Plantation house on fire.
Tundidor Sr.’s attorney claims all physical evidence, blood on a shirt and fingerprints on a gas can, point to Randy Tundidor Jr.
Even a crime scene specialist testified that the gas container found in the home had fingerprints that matched to Randy Jr.
Tundidor Sr.’s attorney also claimed the night of Morrissey’s murder; Tundidor Sr. weighed 300 pounds, was on oxygen and had knee trouble so he was in no physical condition to commit the crime he’s accused of.
Tundidor Jr. agreed to testify against his father in exchange for the death penalty being taken off the table.
Tundidor Jr. faces up to life in prison when he’s sentenced.
Tundidor Sr., charged with murder, armed robbery, armed kidnapping, home invasion robbery and arson, could be sent to death row.