Father, Son Charged In Professor's Death
Updated On: Apr 13 2010 06:16:04 AM EDT
A statement by a son led police to arrest his father and his brother in the killing of a Nova Southeastern University professor, according to an arrest affidavit.
Randy Tundidor Sr. and Randy Tundidor Jr. are accused of kidnapping, robbing and killing Joseph Morrissey, who owned a home rented by Randy Tundidor Sr. Both men face charges of premeditated murder, armed kidnapping, home invasion with a firearm and arson.
Police said the father and son broke into the Morrissey home in Plantation early Tuesday, forcing Morrissey and his wife to withdraw money at the nearest ATM. Then, investigators said, the Tundidors used zip ties to bind the couple in their home.
Police said the pair left Morrissey's wife in a bedroom with her 5-year-old son, stabbed Joseph Morrissey to death in the living room and then set the house on fire. According to the arrest affidavit, the child, who had slept through the ordeal, woke up and brought his mother scissors so she could cut the plastic straps around her legs, and they escaped.
Investigators said Shawn Tundidor pointed the finger at his father and brother. In the arrest affidavit, police said Shawn Tundidor asked his father about Morrissey's death, and his father replied, "Joe the landlord messed with me. He messed with the wrong one."
According to the affidavit, Shawn Tundidor told police his father admitted to killing Joseph Morrissey because the landlord wanted to "put us on the streets." The arrest affidavit said Randy Tundidor Sr. admitted to setting the Morrisseys' house on fire after the professor's death.
Shawn Tundidor would not comment on Monday.
According to the police reports, the Morrissey and Tundidor families had been fighting in court over a personal injuries lawsuit and an unpaid security deposit. Morrissey was killed four days after sending Randy Tundidor Sr. a letter threatening to evict him if he did not pay. When investigators questioned the father and son, they both stated that they were at their tinting company the night of the crime, investigators said.
"There was a dispute regarding the tenant-landlord arrangement," said Lt. Robert Rettig, of the Plantation Police Department.
According to the affidavit, Randy Tundidor Sr. said he was fighting with his wife while Randy Tundidor Jr. says he was smoking crack with friends.
Police said they found a lot of evidence in this case at the family business. Investigators said they found bloody clothing, gray gloves like those used during the home invasion, zip ties and laptops belonging to the Morrisseys, among other things.
Randy Tundidor Sr. was taken into custody Friday when police in riot gear stormed a townhome he was renting from Joseph Morrissey. He was denied bond over the weekend.
State records show Randy Tundidor Jr. is currently on probation for burglary of an occupied dwelling, grand theft and trafficking in stolen property. He was arrested on a probation violation charge Wednesday. A judge denied him bond Monday in the Morrissey case.
"He's a troubled young man, but I've known this family for a number of years and I do not believe that Randy Tundidor Jr. is a killer," said Jim Lewis, Randy Tundidor Jr.'s attorney. "I don't think that anybody thought that their landlord-tenant dispute got to the level where it would really be a serious motive for murder."
Linda Morrissey told investigators during a police lineup that she was 85 percent sure that Randy Tundidor Jr. had broken into her home.
"I'm certainly hoping that there's going to be more evidence than just an 85 percent ID in this case in order to hold this young man," Lewis said. "There's nothing in this affidavit that tells us he was in that house."
Both father and son are now being held in different sections of the Broward County Jail.
Morrissey's funeral is scheduled for Wednesday.
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