Alleged Morrissey Killer Tundidor Involved in Past Murder
The alleged killer of scientist and Nova Professor Joseph Morrissey was once charged with a 1989 hit-style murder and was himself shot and critically wounded in a shooting in 1993.
Randy William Tundidor, Morrissey's townhouse tenant, allegedly served as a hit man for a homicidal brake shop owner named Bentsy Muram.
Muram, according to historic published reports, took out a $500,000 insurance policy on one of his tenants, 55-year-old Guillermo Hernandez. Then Muram hired Tundidor, who was a brake shop manager, to kill Hernandez. Also hired was an employee under Tundidor, Jorge Felix Prieto.
Hernandez, on the second assassination attempt,was shot five times and killed.
Tundidor was charged with first-degree murder in the slaying, but the charges were dropped after a witness and prostitute named Patricia Wooden "disappeared." Tundidor, who admitted taking $2,500 for his part in the murder, pinned it on Prieto, who ultimately pleaded guilty. Tundidor managed to walk away from the charges, but it then Muram came after him.
Muram shot Tundidor outside a brake shop in 1993. Tundidor critically injured, but survived. The following year, Muram tried to kill Tundidor again, but this time shot another Tundidor employee. The worker was put in intensive care but also survived.
Muram fled town, and the case was featured on America's Most Wanted before Muram was finally tracked down by FBI agents at a Hooter's restaurant in Philadelphia. Muram was sentenced to life in prison after his conviction on the attempted murder of Tundidor.
Here's a timeline of the bizarre chain of events in that case from the 1995 Herald:
* July 27, 1989: Muram, owner of a Brake World franchise at 7730 NW 27th Ave., Miami, takes out a $500,000 life insurance policy on a neighboring tenant, Guillermo Hernandez, 55, who runs Hernandez Used Auto Parts and lives in a mobile home behind the business.
* Dec. 15, 1989: Jorge Felix Prieto, 30, of Hialeah, shoots Hernandez in the
back as the older man closes his store. Prieto, who has a lengthy criminal history ranging from lewd acts to burglary and robbery, was a mechanic at the time, employed by Randy Tundidor. Hernandez survives the shooting.
* 1992: Muram collects $300,000 in a settlement with his insurance company.
* April 15, 1993: On the word of Patricia Wooden, a prostitute who said she witnessed the killing, Tundidor is arrested on a charge of first-degree murder. Muram posts $100,000 bail and hires Miami defense attorney Sam Rabin to represent Tundidor.
* Aug. 2 through Aug. 18: Police attempts to locate Patricia Wooden for deposition are fruitless. The prostitute has disappeared, along with her boyfriend.
* Aug. 22, 1993: Muram and Tundidor take a weeklong cruise to the Bahamas.
* Sept. 15, 1993: Police drop the murder charge against Tundidor for lack of an eyewitness.
* Oct. 27, 1993: Tundidor shows up at Muram's Fort Lauderdale Brake World while the shop is closed. Neighbors hear gunshots and later tell police they saw Muram driving away as they rushed to investigate. Tundidor, shot several times in the chest, scrawls a note to detectives at the hospital.
"I told him I was going to tell you what happened," he writes, unable to speak. "I can tell you how to prove everything. Check... airport."
* Nov. 3, 1993: A recovering Tundidor talks to police, tells of the plot and implicates Prieto and Muram. He says Muram came to him looking for a hit man and tells police Muram paid him $2,500 and Prieto $10,000. Arrest warrants are issued for Prieto and Muram.
* Nov. 15, 1993: Prieto is arrested on charges of first- degree murder, attempted first-degree murder and possession of a firearm during a felony. Muram disappears, turning over ownership of his businesses and home to his family.
* Summer 1994: Muram hires an attorney. His insurance company sues to recover the $300,000 settlement.
* Dec. 7, 1994: Prieto pleads guilty to attempted first-degree murder and is sentenced to 20 years. The other two charges are dropped in exchange for testimony. Prieto admits shooting Hernandez the first time. He says he got $2,000 for the murder. "[Tundidor] said this guy raped a girl and gave her AIDS... He should be killed," Prieto said. "I tried to shoot him, but they all scattered, and I just hit him once."
* Dec. 27, 1994: Tundidor employee Manuel Fernandez is shot several times while driving a truck from Tundidor's business. Police believe the bullets were meant for Tundidor.
More on this later, obviously.