Retired hotelier and corporate pilot Don Judy was surprised in 2013 when he went to welcome Stephen Paddock, his new neighbor at their neighborhood, in Viera on the Space Coast.
Right away, he said, Paddock told him he was a professional gambler who traveled back and forth to Las Vegas, as well as a speculator. Handing Judy a house key, he asked him to check on his home periodically.
“That was strange because that was only our first meeting,” Judy said Monday morning.
And, he said, Paddock told him, ” ‘Listen. I’ve bought all this new stuff. Shop-Vac, ladders, tools. If you need anything, feel free to come over.’ I thought, ‘Wow. The guy’s very trusting.’ “
Judy said he never did any poking around in the home; “If I had, under the circumstances, I would admit to it.”
He said Paddock never discussed his fortunes or indicated he was in financial distress; he did tell Judy’s wife once that he’d won $20,000 on an online gambling site.
Judy, who now volunteers at the Brevard Zoo, said Paddock told him he’d bought the home for his mother, who lived in Orlando, and planned to “flip” it after he’d bought another home for her in the same neighborhood. Property records show he paid about $246,000 for the 1,773-square, foot, 2-bedroom, 2-bath home on a quarter-acre lot, and sold it in 2015 for about $235,000. It’s currently valued at $252,680.
Judy said Marilou Danley, Paddock's girlfriend, “would come to visit or come down with him.” But, Judy said, “She was very quiet. To herself.” He also said brother Eric Paddock sometimes would ride his motorcycle over from Orlando.
Judy said Paddock “never said anything about guns” and that the only time Judy saw anything close to anger was when the neighborhood management firm refused to give Paddock a permanent access pass to swap around the rental cars he’d bring in.
“He said, ‘Dang it. They won’t give me a pass.’”
Judy said that when Paddock sold the house in 2015, Judy returned his key and little was said. He said, that, because Paddock is long gone, no police were at the Sansome Circle home Monday morning; “just reporters.”
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