Log in

Grand jury indicts Howard Applegate after six-year murder investigation


An Ava resident with five active felony cases in two area counties has now been charged with first-degree murder by grand jury indictment in Douglas County, filed Tuesday.

Howard J.G. Applegate, 28, allegedly killed Lance Terrill, 34, during a shooting on Oct. 12, 2017, in Douglas County.

Terrill was reportedly in his home off of Z Highway near Fordland in northwest Douglas County when he was struck multiple times in the face and head with gunfire from a .22-caliber rifle, and while his two children, younger than 17, were in the home. Applegate is also charged with two counts of first-degree child endangerment, creating a substantial risk, according to court documents.

About two weeks after the shooting occurred, the Quill reported at the time, Douglas County Sheriff Chris Degase and his deputies were still investigating the case with no suspect identified, though two people of interest were sought.

Degase explained in a post made to the agency’s Facebook page that the investigation had been ongoing for six years, and thanked Sheriffs Brad Cole of Christian County and Roye Cole of Webster County, plus their investigators, for assisting with the case over the years.

“It has been a long time coming that has involved hundreds of man hours by all three departments,” said Degase. “The close working relationship with these surrounding sheriffs helped make this arrest possible. I know these charges will not bring Lance back but hopefully it will give Lance’s family some justice and closure.”

Other charges related to the shooting are armed criminal action, three counts of unlawful use of a weapon by shooting at a person or home from a vehicle, and concealing a felony.

A grand jury warrant with a $250,000 bond was served Wednesday, but Applegate was already in custody after a no-bond warrant was issued in November alleging a probation violation.

Applegate was charged in November by grand jury indictment, also in Douglas County, with two counts of first-degree assault causing serious physical injury and one count each of second-degree burglary, tampering with physical evidence in a felony prosecution and stealing $750 or more.

The alleged probation violation is related to a May 2023 guilty plea to a felony charge of possession of a controlled substance, filed in 2022 in Webster County. Court records show Applegate was handed a suspended sentence, to be imposed if he did not complete five years of supervised probation.

In November, the Quill reported Applegate was the suspect in an incident where two men were reportedly beaten to the point that they were rendered unconscious, with one of them ending up in a coma from a brain bleed and the other with cuts to the face and a broken nose.

The crimes happened around Oct. 19 and 23, and were reportedly related to the theft of a U-Haul trailer with a value of more than $750, plus Applegate also allegedly destroyed clothes, a rug and a sheet with blood on them in an attempt to keep them from being used as evidence in the assault charges.

A second suspect, Kelsey L. Regennitter, 29, Fordland, is charged with stealing property valued at $750 or more because she allegedly assisted Applegate in stealing a U-Haul trailer.

Other unresolved felony cases against Applegate are Christian County charges of unlawful possession of a firearm filed in December 2021; first-degree tampering with a motor vehicle and a charge of stealing property valued at more than $750, both filed in February 2023; and one count of stealing property valued at $25,000 or more and two counts of stealing property valued at $750, filed in December in Douglas County, also by grand jury indictment.

Regennitter is also a codefendant in the Douglas County stealing charges filed in December; on Oct. 23 the two allegedly stole 20,000 feet of fiber optic cable, about 3.8 miles worth, from White River Valley Electric Cooperative (WRVEC) and valued at over $25,000. The two also allegedly stole telecommunications equipment and a flat bed trailer from WRVEC the same day, each valued at more than $750.

Other active felony charges she is facing include a Christian County charge of possession of a controlled substance, filed in March of 2022, and delivery or possession of a controlled substance at a jail or correctional center, filed in May in Douglas County.