Cult member brought back to face murder charge in Everett

Seattle Post-Intelligencer, May 4, 2000

Everett -- A member of a cult that was blamed for a San Diego-area crime spree that investigators believe was meant to trigger the Apocalypse has been brought back to face a murder charge.

Blaine Alan Applin, 29, pleaded innocent Wednesday via closed-circuit television in Snohomish County Superior Court to first-degree murder in the slaying of Daniel Jess, 40, of Mountlake Terrace.

Applin remained in jail, where he is being held in lieu of $1.5 million bond. His trial is set for mid-June.

Prosecutors say Jess, a former member of the Gatekeepers, was shot to death March 29, 1998, on orders from the group's leader, Christopher James Turgeon, who considers himself the prophet Elijah.

Turgeon, 36, also is charged in the killing and could be extradited from California in a couple of months, Deputy Prosecutor David Kurtz said.

Investigators wrote in court documents that Turgeon feared Jess was about to betray the Gatekeepers, previously called Ahabah Asah Prophetic Ministries.

Applin and Turgeon were convicted in California of 17 felonies, including conspiracy to murder a police officer in a rampage that investigators say was supposed to hasten an apocalyptic collapse of the United States.

Last month, before being sentenced in San Diego to 89 years to life in prison, Turgeon sang the national anthem and predicted the nation's destruction.

Applin, convicted of firing a high-powered rifle into a police officer's car after robbing a lingerie-modeling business in July 1998, was sentenced to 101 years to life.

Turgeon preached that women were inferior to men and that men must not submit to women's authority. He once told a 911 emergency operator he was "not at peace" to give her his name, according to court documents.

The Gatekeepers were based in Edmonds, Lynnwood, Everett and Lake Stevens before moving to Southern California in 1997.

Jess did not make the move. Turgeon and Applin are accused of traveling from the San Diego area to Mountlake Terrace so Applin could shoot Jess repeatedly in his trailer home.

Bullets from the killing were matched to a 9 mm Glock handgun gun that reportedly was seized from Applin when he was arrested in California, prosecutors said.

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