On September 7, 1982, a passer-by noticed a posh condo’s splintered rear door in Gainesville, Florida and notified police. Responding officers found Dr. Howard Appledorf, famous nutritionist and professor, hogtied and dead of asphyxiation on his living room sofa. The house was a mess of food, trash, and cigarettes. The word ‘redrum’ (‘murder’ backwards) was written on the wall.
The investigation fixed quickly on Gary Bown, 21; Paul Everson, 19; and Shane Kennedy, 15 – a trio of male prostitutes hustling in New York City. Appledorf and Bown had met the previous June in San Francisco, where Bown paid for a tryst. Later, the doctor invited all 3 young men to stay at his condo in Gainesville, and they agreed. The arrangement soured when his guests conspired to forge one of his checks and the doctor wouldn’t post bond once they were arrested. Appledorf promised not to press charges if the youths left town. They trashed his house and killed him instead, trying to make it look like the work of a psychotic by writing ‘redrum’ on the walls. It was an idea inspired by Stanley Kubrick’s adaptation of The Shining.
Shane Kennedy escaped a murder charge, as he became sick and left during the actual homicide. Multiple theft charges earned him 4 years. He spent additional time in jail, as well as in Bellevue, for stalking fashion designer Todd Oldham in the mid-90s.
Bown and Everson pled guilty in July 1983 to avoid the death penalty. They got 25 to life. Both have been enormous discipline problems in prison.