Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

The Murder of Howard Appledorf

Display of bravado

Detectives interviewed people who had seen the suspects both when they first visited Appledorf prior to their check forgery arrests and later when they were on the lam after the killing. Informants described the three as "feminine" or "acting gay." They commented on the youths' affinity for very short shorts and Bown's sporting of a single earring. One woman who had talked with the trio briefly by the pool area of the condominium complex surrounding Appledorf's residence recalled that all three wore mascara.

Richard K. Rein did extensive research for McCall's People article during which he learned, as investigators had before him, that Bown, Everson and Kennedy haunted the East 53rd Street section of New York City, a neighborhood frequented by homosexual prostitutes and their clients.

According to Lerner, Prout and Wares, as well as McCall, police distributed photographs of the suspects throughout the homosexual community in that area and interviewed patrons in gay bars. Those tactics paid off. Acting on tips from people who claimed to have overheard the trio discussing the crime in a bar, officers located Appledorf's Firebird and waited for the driver to return. As Bown walked to the car, he noticed the police and sprinted to the car. He started it, hit the gas and led police on a tire-screeching chase reaching up to 100 miles per hour, at times the wrong way down one-way streets, until a roadblock stopped him. Everson and Kennedy were later arrested in the same vicinity.

The Boston Globe quoted a detective as crediting "the tremendous cooperation of New York's gay community" in helping catch the suspects.

At their arraignment, the three put on an astonishing display of bravado. Lerner, Prout and Wares reported, "Laughing, posturing and sticking their tongues out, they forced guards to demand silence in the courtroom on several occasions." Bown was especially insolent, appearing in court wearing shorts so brief they displayed part of his buttocks and at one point calling his own attorney, Douglas Lyons of the Legal Aid Society, a "fat pig."

The Boston Globe reported, "At their lawyer's request, all were placed under suicide watch and segregated from other jail inmates." The Globe quoted Lyons saying he had "good reason to fear for the safety of these young men."

The three were charged with first-degree murder and the court decided that Kennedy would be tried as an adult.

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