Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

The Murder of Howard Appledorf

A frightened professor

The Boston Globe quoted a friend of Howard's as saying that the professor "had been threatened shortly after refusing to post bond for one of the three."

Howard Appledorf
Howard Appledorf

From the Alachua County Jail, Bown phoned local TV news reporter Janet Bingam. Bown acknowledged that he and his friends were in jail for forging a check in Dr. Appledorf's name, but he claimed that Appledorf had "framed" them. He said that the allegedly forged $900 check was payment Appledorf had given them for sexual services. He continued that he wanted Appledorf exposed for having "molested" Kennedy.

Alachua County Jail
Alachua County Jail

Bingam decided not to broadcast any of Gary's allegations, chalking them up to spite. However, the threat of a molestation charge may have been communicated to Appledorf since he subsequently asked the state's attorney to drop the forgery charges, provided that the three agreed to leave Gainesville.

Dr. Elizabeth Sloan
Dr. Elizabeth Sloan

Charges were indeed dropped, but the apprehensive professor replaced his front door lock before heading for New York City on Thursday, September 2, 1982, the day the youths were released from jail. Howard went to New York at the invitation of Dr. Elizabeth Sloan, then Director of the Good Housekeeping Institute (GHI). The GHI was holding a seminar at which Howard lectured on trends in nutrition. Sloan, Appledorf and others met for lunch. "Howie was nervous," Sloan recalled. "He told us that he had allowed some people to stay at his house and he seemed worried about what they might do. He said they were students." When Sloan heard about the murder, her reaction was "total shock. He was such a nice guy. But then we knew that whatever he had been afraid of was real."

Bown, Everson and Kennedy did not leave Gainesville as they had agreed to do in exchange for having the charges dropped. Instead, they walked six miles to Howard's residence. When they realized Howard was not home, Paul broke open the back door. The three made themselves at home, watching Howard's television, eating his food and drinking his liquor. Kennedy recalled that they made statements to the effect, "We're gonna get all we can out of [Appledorf]" and said Bown was the "maddest" at Howard. In Kennedy's words, the trio "got rowdy," throwing food and clothes around the home.

On Friday, September 3, Bown called the University of Florida to ask where Dr. Appledorf was and was told he would be back on Tuesday. Bown and Everson searched Howard's apartment for valuables and found two gold rings that they took to a local pawnshop while Kennedy remained in the condominium. After pawning the rings, Bown and Everson went to a food shop where they purchased three submarine sandwiches that they brought back to the apartment. The three spent most of their time watching television until late that evening when they heard the front door being unlocked. Earlier that day, Howard had taken a flight back to Gainesville.

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