'I'm about ready to kill': Edgewater man threatens neighbor at city meeting

No arrest or Baker Act exam after threatening neighbor, council members

EDGEWATER, Fla. – An Edgewater man went before the City Council Monday night with a prepared statement about his ongoing dispute with a neighbor over a sidewalk that ended with him threatening to kill his neighbor and himself.

Leonard Towsley, 56, was the second citizen to participate in the Edgewater City Council meeting open comments opportunity. He started out with a jab at City Manager Tracey Barlow, speaking directly to the council.

"You all know what Barlow did to me was wrong," Towsley said, pausing to "calm myself down here some."

After a beat, Towsley continued, saying Barlow "took full advantage of you people’s stupidity, arrogance and animosity and made you think that you could get away with doing his dirty work for him.”

His voice rising, Towsley said he hoped if new council members and mayor were elected, they would "make it right." Both the mayor and two council seats are up for election in November.

Pointing at Mayor Michael Ignasiak and Councilwoman Christine Power, Towsley made an ultimatum.

[Watch the full video below]

"If you two lowlifes get re-elected, all hell is going to break loose down there because I have reached my end and I am about ready to kill that piece of (expletive) Hamilton," Towsley said, continuing over the protests of the city manager. "Then, I’m going to end up taking my own life, and then you’re going to have two dead bodies lying in the middle of the street that you are going to have to answer for because of that scumbag."

Towsley then addressed two women council members by a derogatory name, asking if they "wanna go to prison because of him for a double murder?"

Towsley was escorted out of the meeting by police.

The Unity Tree Drive neighbor Towsley was threatening to kill told The Daytona Beach News-Journal he is in shock his neighbor wasn’t arrested or involuntarily hospitalized under the Baker Act. The neighbor was notified Monday night of the threat, police said.

The ongoing dispute started three years ago, when Alex Hamilton said he put down asphalt on a city-owned walkway between their two homes that was previously a dirt path. He obtained a permit from the city of Edgewater before putting down the sidewalk.

Hamilton, who moved into the house in 2002 said he and Towsley used to be friends.

Hamilton told News 6 on Tuesday his lawyer filed for a petition of protection order, but it was denied. He said he has been talking to police every single day since the threat was made.

"My life has been threatened and he threatened to take his own life and the judge won't even give me a protection order," Hamilton said.

The dispute between the two men has been going on since at least 2017, police records show. Several incidents have ended with Towsley being charged with misdemeanors, including stalking.

In May of last year, an Edgewater police report shows Towsley attempted to dig up part of the asphalt between the two properties.

During another incident where police were called, Towsley told Hamilton to "get off his lawn" while his neighbor was using a weed-eater on city-owned property between their properties. Towsley kicked the weed-eater, causing cuts to Hamilton's leg, the report said.

Edgewater police Capt. Joe Mahoney said Towsley is known to the department and officers are working with the state attorney's office to determine if he will be charged.

News 6 spoke with Towsley and his family outside their home, where Towsley walked back his earlier statements.

"I'm tired of it, and I blew up at him," he said.  "No, I am not going to kill anybody or kill myself. I'm not going to let up."

Towsley showed News 6 a permit his family received from the city of Edgewater allowing him to build a drainage system on the right-of-way next to his property. The same right-of-way that Hamilton received a permit from the city three years ago to cover with asphalt.

"I want my grass back," Towsley said. "That's all we've asked for." 

"It's decreased our property value and increased his," Pati Towsley, Leo's wife, said.

At the end of Monday's meeting, City Council members gave citizens another chance for public comment but asked this time, “No death threats, please.”

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