Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

The Murder of Howard Appledorf

"What is the meaning of this?"

"What is the meaning of this?" Appledorf demanded when he saw the three in his home. The intruders said that they had just gotten out of jail and wanted money for plane tickets to New York. Appledorf replied he did not have any money; Bown retorted that he did not believe him.

Appledorf walked around the condominium and saw how they had trashed the home he usually kept neat and clean. Then he headed back to the front door. Sources disagree on what happened next. The biggest disagreement is about the role Kennedy played, although all sources agree that he was less involved in the crime than Bown and Everson and that he took ill and left the scene at some point.

The Gainesville Police report states that Kennedy blocked Appledorf's way after Bown shut the front door. The report continues that Appledorf then struck Kennedy in the face, and Everson hit Appledorf on the back of the head with a metal pan. Appledorf sank to the floor and was then tied up.

Book cover: Kids Who Kill
Book cover: Kids Who Kill

According to Kids Who Kill by Charles Patrick Ewing, "Shane first stood by and watched but later became sick to his stomach and fled as Gary and Paul knocked Dr. Appledorf unconscious with a frying pan and then bound, gagged, blindfolded and suffocated" him. A New York Times article stated that Kennedy said he "got sick to [his] stomach" and fled when the professor was attacked. Kennedy's attorney, William N. DeCarlis, asserted, "Shane ran out when Paul Everson hit Appledorf with a frying pan and didn't go back into the house. The whole time the murder was going on, Shane Kennedy was outside the house and scared."

A deposition by a man who was in the Alachua County Jail with the defendants appears to support the contention that Kennedy was not present while Howard was murdered. The witness recalled both Everson and Bown "bragging" about their involvement in the crime but remembered Kennedy saying, "he wasn't around when it happened." He also recalled Everson and Bown stating that they "felt sorry" for Kennedy for being caught up in the case.

After Appledorf was tied up, Everson took a credit card from Appledorf and demanded the Personal Identification Number. Appledorf told it to him. Everson left the apartment for a nearby automatic teller machine from which he withdrew $200. Unbeknownst to Everson, a videotape camera recorded him as he made this transaction.

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