Slain man's wife says son, 5, saved her

Published On: Apr 24 2012 12:26:42 PM EDT
Updated On: Apr 25 2012 08:10:45 AM EDT

The wife of a Nova Southeastern University professor stabbed to death in his home explains what she overheard just before he died.

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. -

The wife of a Nova Southeastern University professor stabbed to death in his home testified Tuesday about the night he died.

Linda Morrissey took the stand in the trial of Randy Tundidor Sr. and recounted the sequence of events on a night in April 2010 that led to the death of her husband, Joseph Morrissey.

Prosecutors said Tundidor stabbed Joseph Morrissey to death in his Plantation home because Morrissey was about to evict him. They said Randy Tundidor Sr. worked with his son, Randy Tundidor Jr., in the robbery and killing.

Prosecutors said Randy Tundidor Jr. forced the couple to drive to an ATM to get cash, tied them up in their home, covered their faces with towels in the master bedroom, and then let his father in the house to finish the job.

Linda Morrissey said that while she was tied up, the intruder forced her husband into the living room. She counted his hops -- 32 -- and then listened as he pleaded with the killer for mercy.

"At first he said, he said, 'Randy, you know me. I have kids. Please, please don't do it," Linda Morrissey said.

Jurors now have to ponder whether Joseph Morrissey was talking to Randy Tundidor Sr. or Randy Tundidor Jr.

After killing Joseph Morrissey, investigators said, the killer set the house on fire.

Linda Morrissey was tied up in the burning home, and her husband was bleeding to death in the other room. That's when she said her 5-year-old son, who witnessed most of the ordeal, stepped in to save her life.

"I couldn't get up and I started crying, and I called Patrick, and I said, 'Patrick, you have to be a big boy. You have to help Mommy and Daddy. Please help me,'" Linda Morrissey said. "He's standing in the door, looking. He's scared. And I said, 'Patrick, please be a big boy and go get the scissors.'"

Linda Morrissey told jurors she cut off the zip ties that bound her legs and quickly ushered her son to the front door, away from the raging fire in the kitchen. Joseph Morrissey lay dying with nine stab wounds on the family room floor. His wife said she struggled to move his bloody, lifeless body away from the flames.

"I couldn't understand when I was standing next to Joe why there was so much warm mud on the floor. I couldn't understand that. It didn't make sense, and then I realized. I slipped. It was slippery stuff," she said. "When I picked him up, my hand, this hand, went right into him, and I thought I was hurting him more."

Defense attorneys said Randy Tundidor Jr. acted alone in the case and is framing his father.

Both men are charged in the case. If convicted, Randy Tundidor Sr. faces the death penalty.

Linda Morrissey was expected to continue her testimony Tuesday afternoon.

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