TEANECK, N.J. -- Jurors in Hackensack on Tuesday convicted a Manhattan man of murder and aggravated arson, among other charges, in the killing of popular software engineer Robert Cantor in his Teaneck home.
Sui Kam “Tony” Tung stared intently at the jurors as the judge's clerk read the verdict convicting him of eight counts and acquitting him of three others after deliberating three and a half days.
Tung, 52, then looked down and blinked.
Loved ones of Cantor who'd been crying before and during the verdict's reading hugged Assistant Prosecutors Wayne Mello and Brian Sinclair, who tried the case.
Sinclair, in turn, handed a Milky Way bar to Cantor's ex-wife.
"It was a privilege" to prosecute the case, he told her.
Tung, who last week declined to testify in his own defense, was accused of shooting his estranged wife’s lover and setting his body and house on fire exactly a year to the day from the first time the lovers had sex.
Defense attorney Robert Kalisch argued that Tung was “the only suspect who was ever investigated” for the crime, despite no evidence that places him in New Jersey or Teaneck the night of the March 6, 2011 slaying.
Teaneck firefighters who extinguished the blaze at Cantor’s Elm Avenue home found his body in the same basement bedroom where he'd slept with Tung’s estranged wife. It was so badly burned that authorities had to identify the 59-year-old victim through dental records.
Mello told jurors at the start of the trial last month that Cantor had been shot dead in the back of the head and the fire started to destroy all evidence three days after his wife served Tung with divorce papers.
Earlier that night, she and Cantor had gone to a museum with one of her and Tung's three daughters, he said.
According to Kalisch, Tung’s car never left Manhattan and prosecutors had no proof he went to Teaneck.
Detectives arrested him at his Yorkville apartment May 4, 2012, more than a year after Cantor's body was found.
An expert in computer repair, he then erased the hard drives on all of his computers, among other measures, to destroy evidence, they alleged.
The jurors agreed.
Besides guilty verdicts to murder, aggravated arson and two weapons possession counts, they convicted him of hindering the investigation by concealing the gun and deleting incriminating computer data, as well as tampering with evidence and seeking to avoid prosecution.
They also convicted him of stalking Cantor.
They acquitted him of arson, murder during a burglary and murder during an arson.