|The Naked City
|Nov 8 2008
The wheels of justice move slowly but they still have a way catching up with you. Millionaire Palm Beach real estate developer Thanos Papalexis found that out when he was accused of a murder that occurred more than eight years ago. Feds arrested Papalexis in broad daylight at a swanky West Palm Beach eatery, and now the British national is being extradited to the U.K. to face charges that he snuffed 55 year old Charalambos Christodoulides.
According to extradition papers, Christodoulides was a resident in a warehouse Papalexis planned to renovate and then flip for big money. But Papalexis couldn’t move forward with his plan as long as Christodoulides remained in residence. And Christodoulides refused to vacate. Allegedly Papalexis was losing $120,000 a week in interest on a bridging loan he’d taken out to finance the deal, so he compounded that serious error with another by hiring thugs Robert Baxhija and Ylli Xhelo to help kill Christodoulides and vanish the body.
Unfortunately for Papalexis, his hired henchmen weren’t the sharpest tools in the shed, and the victim’s corpse was found a mere week after the killing. He had been beaten, strangled, dumped in a mechanics’ pit at a car repair shop, and doused in lighter fluid in an attempt to thwart police dogs. The extradition papers claim Papalexis is circumstantially connected to the murder via telephone records, legal documents, and physically connected via forensic evidence—including DNA at the crime scene.
The implication is clear—authorities will try to prove Papalexis personally administered a grisly goodbye beating to Christodoulides before the troublesome tenant was slain and secreted. The violence of the event was surprising even to cops—blood spray reached the ceiling of the room where the victim was worked over.
The charges came as a surprise in swanky Palm Beach, where Papalexis spent years clawing his way up the social ladder and had become a major player, even hosting a January political fundraiser for Hillary Clinton in a 5,700 square foot mansion he rented in nearby Manalapan. But high times rubbing shoulders with the political elite are just a memory for Papalexis now—he’ll be held without bail until trial.