A death sentenced has been overturned for the man who killed a St. Lucie County Sergeant. Eriese Tisdale, who shot and killed Sgt. Gary Morales in 2013, will be resentenced, and may no longer have to face the death penalty.
ST LUCIE COUNTY, Fla. - A death sentenced has been overturned for the man who killed a St. Lucie County sergeant five years ago.
Eriese Tisdale, who shot and killed Sgt. Gary Morales in 2013, will be resentenced, and may no longer have to face the death penalty.
This means Morales’ family will have to go through what will essentially be like another trial, according to Chief Assistant State Attorney, Tom Bakkedahl.
A new jury will have to be selected, and all of the evidence will have to be presented like it was during the trial.
The Morales family anticipated this could happen during the original sentencing.
The Supreme Court, around the time of the sentencing, ruled Florida’s death penalty laws unconstitutional.
A jury recommended the death penalty by a nine to three majority vote.
Now, the law requires a unanimous vote by a jury for a judge to be able to impose the death penalty.
During the resentencing, everyone on the new jury will have to vote for the death penalty for that decision to stick. Otherwise, Tisdale could be sentenced to life in prison without parole.
“It’s gut-wrenching,” said Bakkedahl. “It gives him the second chance he never gave Gary Morales."
Bakkedahl said he has had to revisit cases from the 1970s because of the change in the law -- something he finds an injustice for the families.
“It will continue to subject Gary’s family to pain and anguish of having to go through these proceedings again.”
Ken Morales, Gary’s brother, says the family will pray about this.
“I still cry. There’s days I still cry,” Ken said. “My brother doesn’t get a second chance, you know, and now he gets a second chance? It stinks.”
Tisdale shot Morales during a traffic stop in 2013. The sergeant left behind two children.
"I think as a family, as long as he spends the rest of his life in prison, we’re fine with that.”
A resentencing date has not yet been scheduled.