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Plantation man found guilty of murder, 9 other felonies

Broward residents may have been following the trial of a 45-year-old Plantation man who was accused of murdering his landlord and setting the man's house on fire with his wife and child inside. The case has made headlines because of the severity of the allegations and because the defendant's sons claimed he masterminded the home-invasion murder.

Now a jury has found the defendant guilty of 10 felony crimes, including armed robbery, burglary, arson, kidnapping, attempted murder and first-degree murder. The court will decide later this year whether the man will face the death penalty.

In terms of criminal law, the case is especially interesting because the defendant's eldest son admitted to a number of crimes in connection with the home invasion and the house burning. The 23-year-old son, who was said to have a crack addiction, already pleaded guilty to second-degree murder. His plea agreement allowed him to avoid the death penalty. Despite his taking part in the crimes, the son claimed that his father planned the attack.

Remarkably, the jury found the father guilty despite a lack any physical evidence that could place him at the scene of the crime. The murder weapon was never found, and the man's defense argued that he wasn't physically capable of committing the murder and setting the house on fire. A physician testified that the man had serious health problems and that he wore a knee brace and sometimes walked with a cane.

Another noteworthy detail is that the wife of the murdered man said that she could hear her husband in another room on the day in question. He was pleading for his life, and she heard him say the name of his killer. However, both the accused father and the accused son share the same first name.

The trial serves as a reminder that criminal charges are not all cut and dry. Evidence has to be closely scrutinized, and there are specific rules pertaining to what kind of evidence is admissible in court. Readers in Broward County who have been accused of a crime should be aware of the laws pertaining to admissible evidence.

Source: Orlando Sentinel, "Tundidor jury verdict: Guilty on all counts," Daniel Chang, May 10, 2012

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Andrew M. Coffey has been recognized as a Board Certified Civil Trial lawyer by the Florida Bar. Certification is the highest level of recognition by The Florida Bar of the competency and experience of attorneys in the areas of law approved for certification by the Supreme Court of Florida.

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