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4 held in acid slaying tied to condo feud

Published Mar. 6, 2001|Updated Sep. 9, 2005

In an oceanfront property dispute, a plan to blind a man kills him instead, police say.

A condominium president paid his maintenance man $400 to arrange an acid attack on the manager of a neighboring resort, killing him in a dispute over a 10-foot swath of oceanfront property, police said Monday.

"It was a condominium feud gone crazy," Broward Sheriff Ken Jenne said at a news conference.

Four men have been arrested, among them Walter Dendy, 65, president of the Edgemar Condominium Association in Lauderdale-by-the-Sea, who was charged with first-degree murder in the death of Leonard "Rudi" Houda. Houda, 63, was the manager of Souter's Resort, a condominium across El Mar Drive from the Edgemar property.

Houda died July 20, 11 days after being doused with sulfuric acid in the parking lot of a Publix supermarket.

Police say Dendy, incensed from a long-standing quarrel with Houda, hired Edgemar maintenance man Emilio Charafardin, 48, to have Houda "taken care of." Dendy and Charafardin cooked up a plot to throw acid on Houda, hoping to blind him, police said. Instead, he ended up dead.

Charafardin was charged Feb. 21 with first-degree murder for allegedly driving a pickup used in the getaway.

Police say Charafardin hired house painter Neal David Bross, 46, of Pompano Beach, to throw the acid. Bross was charged Sunday with first-degree murder.

The owner of the pickup truck, John Coburn Alexander, 48, of Wilton Manors was charged as an accessory to murder. All four men are being held in the Broward County Jail without bail.

At the heart of the crime was a 50- by 125-foot parcel of oceanfront property on the east side of El Mar Drive. The original owner, George Souter, bought the land from Edgemar for parking, deeding a 10-foot strip back to Edgemar for beach access.

For years, residents at Souter's used the whole parcel for picnics and Edgemar residents used it to reach the surf, sharing Souter's pool as well.

In 1998, however, police say, Houda became increasingly disturbed that Edgemar condominiums were being rented by "undesirable" people, whom he did not want on the shared strip of land. Dendy took offense.

Police say that after Dendy and Houda built fences to control access to the property, the feud escalated.

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