Defense claims suspect physically unable to kill man

By Roger Lohse, Reporter, rlohse@Local10.com
Published On: May 01 2012 05:08:00 PM EDT
Updated On: May 01 2012 11:07:14 PM EDT
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. -

Defense attorneys in the Randy Tundidor Sr. murder trial tried to prove Tuesday that their client was physically incapable of killing Nova Southeastern University professor Joseph Morrissey. 

Tundidor's doctors took the stand and painted a picture of Tundidor at the time of the April 2010 killing as an overweight asthmatic, with knee and back problems who needed a cane to walk. 

Dr. Michael Alexander said Tundidor weighed 294 pounds in March 2010, just weeks before the murder. He said Tundidor suffered from asthmatic bronchitis and other respiratory problems. 

Dr. Alexander Bertot, an orthopedic surgeon, said Tundidor had a torn meniscus in his right knee, pain in his ankle and an impingement in his right shoulder, a painful condition that limited his arm movement. 

Defense attorneys claimed Tundidor is being framed by his son, Randy Tundidor Jr., who is also charged in the case and admitted to breaking into Morrissey's home that night and tying up the professor and his wife as their young son slept.  

But Randy Tundidor Jr. said he then opened the front door for his dad, who came in and stabbed Morrissey nine times before setting the house on fire. 

Prosecutors said it was landlord-tenant dispute. Morrissey's wife and son survived the incident. 

Under cross examination, prosecutors pointed out that Randy Tundidor Sr. used an inhaler to control his asthma and took prescription painkillers for his knee, shoulder and back. They said that while Randy Tundidor Sr. may not have been the picture of good health, he was more than able to kill. 

"So as you sit here today, can you tell me with any degree of medical certainty that Mr. Tundidor was physically limited on the evening of April 8, 2010, from stabbing and murdering Joseph Morrissey?" prosecutor Tom Coleman asked Bertot. 

"No, other than the limitations to the pain in the body parts that we discussed," Bertot replied. 

Randy Tundidor Sr. could face the death penalty if he's convicted.  His son was allowed to plead guilty to second-degree murder in exchange for testifying against his father. 

The trial will resume next Monday.

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