Former Wisconsin football player Kraig T. Appleton has been charged with first-degree murder in connection with a shooting death of a Belleville, Illinois, woman on April 20, according to a report from the Belleville News-Democrat.

According to the report, Appleton is being held at the St. Clair County Jail on a $1 million bond for the murder of Kellie Ferrell, 41. The report says that East St. Louis Police and the Illinois State Police investigators were called to the 2900 block of Converse Avenue at about 10:34 p.m. on April 20. Ferrell was pronounced dead at Touchette Regional Hospital after suffering a gunshot wound to the abdomen, according to the report. The report also stated that police would not be discussing motive or events leading up to the shooting.

Willie Jones, a musician in East St. Louis, was reportedly in touch with Ferrell “off and on” and spoke to the News-Democrat about the death of Ferrell.

“She had standards at an early age,” Jones said to the paper. “We last waved at each other on Facebook on March 12 of last year. We both didn’t keep in touch all the way. In a Facebook post, she congratulated me on my music success. I told her to ‘let’s keep in touch.’

“When I got this devastating news, I was overwhelmed. Man, she was a nice person.”

In July of 2011, Appleton had a scare of his own with guns, when he was shot several times and hospitalized in a stable condition, according to

Appleton arrived on campus in 2009 and played right away as a true freshman for the Badgers. He played in 10 games that season — a year where Wisconsin went 10-3 and won the Champs Sports Bowl under head coach Bret Bielema — catching three passes for a total of 26 yards.

On February 23, Bielema announced indefinite suspensions for three freshmen players, one of which was Appleton. The report of Appleton’s suspension did not state why he was suspended but he would not return to the team after it, as he withdrew from the university.

“I told him I’d work with him,” Bielema said at the time, according to “If I can help him do that, I’ll do that. I’ve just got to make sure he’s ready to do things the right way for that to happen.”

Prior to his days at Wisconsin, Appleton was a star at East St. Louis High School. He and the Flyers won the state title in 2009, the same year that he was an all-state athlete in football and track, as well as making the school’s academic honor roll, according to the News-Democrat.

Coming out of East St. Louis High School in the class of 2009, Appleton was a four-star wide receiver by the 247Sports composite ranking and the No. 126 overall player in the country.

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