Leonard “Rudi” Houda murdered by Walter Dendy in Florida condo feud: A Time To Kill investigates

Mugshot of Walter Dendy
Walter Dendy escalated his argument with Leonard Houda by arranging to have sulphuric acid thrown in his face, which led to a conviction for murder. Pic credit: Florida Dept of Corrections

This week on A Time To Kill, the team investigates an argument over a south Florida condo that ended in the murder of Leonard ‘Rudi’ Houda.

Houda was the manager of the Souter’s Resort condo in Lauderdale-by-the Sea when he got into a dispute with Walter Dendy, the owner of a neighboring condo. The pair were arguing over a 10-foot long piece of oceanfront property.

Dendy first approached Emilio Charafardin and asked him to throw sulphuric acid at Houda in exchange for money. Charafardin, in turn, enlisted the help of maintenance man, Neil Bross.

The three men planned the attack together; Dendy was to supply the funds, Bross had to throw the acid, and Charafardin was to drive the getaway car. Dendy offered Bross a bonus if he managed to get some acid in Houda’s eyes.

Rudi Houda attacked in public in broad daylight

Houda was attacked in a parking lot of a Publix store in 2000. He spent eleven days in the hospital before he succumbed to the horrific burns he had suffered. He died from multiple organ failure and sepsis caused by severe acid burns.

A breakthrough in the case came when Emilio Charafardin, aka James Cassidy, was arrested in Palm Springs, California, after he had fled the state and attempted to change his identity. An eyewitness had given a description of Charafardin as the getaway driver, and investigators discovered acid burns in his van.

When he was brought back to Florida, he confessed to his role in the murder and implicated Dendy and Bross.

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In 2003, Dendy and Bross were convicted of second-degree murder and third-degree-murder, respectively. However, their convictions were later thrown out when it was learned that arresting officers had not advised them of their right to have an attorney present during questioning.

The pair were retried in 2005 when a jury came to the same conclusion as the one did two years previously. Dendy, who was 70 years old at the time of the murder, was sentenced to life in prison. Charafardin received a 25-year prison sentence, and Bross got 15 years.

More from A Time To Kill

Follow the links to read about more murders profiled on A Time To Kill.

Tracey Humphrey persuaded his teenage bride, Ashley Humphrey, to murder ex-girlfriend Sandee Rozzo when she brought charges of harassment and abuse against him. Ashey followed Rozzo home from her work and shot her dead in the driveway of her home.

Sabine Musil-Buehler was prepared to give her relationship with William Cumber a chance after he left prison. He repaid her kindness by beating her to death and burying her on a beach near their home.

A Time To Kill airs at 10/9c on Investigation Discovery.

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