The son of a man convicted of killing a Nova Southeastern University professor was sentenced to 40 years behind bars Friday for his role in the murder.
Randy H. Tundidor, 24, had faced a maximum of life in prison in the April 2010 murder of Joseph Morrissey.
Morrissey's widow, Linda, was upset with the 40-year sentence. She had pleaded with the judge for life behind bars for Tundidor. She said the crime still haunts her and her young son.
"It is impossible for anyone to truly comprehend what Patrick and I went through and continue to go through, my little boy and I do not feel safe in our own home," she said at Friday's hearing.
Tundidor apologized to her.
"I would like to tell Mrs. Morrissey that I'm truly sorry for what happened," he said. "If I could've stopped him, I would've. I'm truly sorry. I know it's not gonna mean anything. I'm sorry."
Tundidor had pleaded guilty to second-degree murder last year as part of a plea deal with prosecutors to avoid the death penalty. As part of the plea deal, he testified against his father, Randy W. Tundidor, at his trial earlier this year.
Judge Cynthia Imperato, announcing her sentence against the younger Tundidor, spoke to Linda Morrissey.
"I don't think anybody can understand what you've been through. I think that's a good point you make," the judge said. "However, if it was not for Randy Jr., from what I've seen I don't know that we would've had a conviction against the father, either. So for that reason the court is not going to sentence him to life in prison, even though that's what you're asking. But I am going to sentence him to 40 years, Florida state prison."
Prosecutors say Morrissey, who was Randy W. Tundidor's landlord, was in the process of evicting him when the elder Tundidor stabbed the professor to death inside his Plantation home with the help of his son. The home was set on fire while Morrissey's wife and young son were inside, but they were able to safely escape.
"How can I express to you the fear in my little boy's eyes? The innocence of a little boy was stolen that night," Morrissey said Friday. "To this day he remembers dad's screams, he had to live the nightmare of mom screaming and no one coming to help."
Morrissey, 46, was a science professor at Nova who worked on cancer research.
Randy W. Tundidor, 46, hasn't been sentenced. His next hearing is scheduled for Dec. 12.