Death sentence vacated for man who murdered St. Lucie County sergeant in 2013

Eriese Tisdale.JPG
Eriese Tisdale (WPEC)

A killer gets another chance to live after gunning down a husband and father sworn to protect the community.

The Florida Supreme Court vacated the death sentenced of Eriese Tisdale for killing St. Lucie County Sheriff’s Deputy Gary Morales in 2013.

Gary’s brother, Ken Morales, says this is a heartbreaking situation for the family. He says they will have to relive the pain of the first trial.

For 13 years, Gary Morales was an integral part of the law enforcement community: he served on the SWAT Team, was a school resource officer and a member Special Investigations.

“Gary loved doing that," Ken Morales said. "Being a cop serving, being a cop, helping the community."

In 2013, Eriese Tisdale murdered Gary Morales during a traffic stop. Every day for the past five years, Ken Morales, Gary Morales' wife and two their little girls have missed him at the dinner table.

“How could this happen to Gary? That’s what goes through your mind and at the same time you are just crying,” Ken Morales said.

Tisdale was convicted of murder. Nine out 12 jurors voted for the death penalty and Tisdale sat on death row.

But now under a new state law, death sentences can only be applied if the jury agrees unanimously.

So, the Florida Supreme Court vacated Tisdale’s sentence and he will have to be resentenced, which means he will have another shot at staying alive.

Ken Morales says it’s been an uphill battle, but the Morales family is trying to continue forward.

“We know Gary is in heaven, we know where he is and so whether this guy does get life in prison or the death penalty, we have moved on,” he said.

Tisdale’s resentencing hearing has not been scheduled.