Detroit Free Press / Newspaper Articles

The Detroit Free Press: 7/10/29


Police Again Turn Search for Slayer of Family of Six Away from Detroit

Search for the ax slayer who butchered Benny Evangelist and his family at 3587 St. Aubin avenue, a week ago, and for clues that may ensured the fiend, for a second time has led to two cities outside of Detroit.

Inspector Fred Frahm of the homicide squad refused to reveal the places where the search is to be conducted. Late yesterday afternoon, however, he disclosed that Detective Lieutenant William Johnson of the homicide squad had left Detroit on this mission shortly after 4:30 p. m. A previous out-of-town search took Detroit Detectives to St. Louis. Their search there was in vain. Similar efforts in Detroit yesterday proved fruitless.

Note ‘Clue’ Fruitless

Following information contained in a note sent by a person who signed himself as “The Murderer,” police yesterday vainly searched the 5400 block on Lincoln avenue, where the note writer said the “bloody axe” with which the murders were perpetrated would be found in a suit case.

The note, written on a folded slip of paper and sent to the Grand River avenue police station, had not been enclosed in an envelope. Police learned it had been mailed from a box at Kirby avenue and Fifteenth street. It read as follows:

“My consions bother me since I killed that family of six so will confess and say I am sorry. I live on London avenue, in the 5400 block, but I won’t give the house number because I want thinking time. Search the houses and you will find the bloody hatchet in a suitcase. I am ready for the worst punishment I can get.”

That the letter is the work of a crank, is the opinion of Major James E. Murphy, of the International Identification bureau here.

It seems to me that the writing is that of a comparatively well educated person, a good penman, who has attempted to disguise himself by the use of poor grammar and spelling,” Major Murphy said. “The smooth flow of one letter into another indicates that the writer has been used to doing a good deal of writing; the irregularity of the letters is probably only a disguise. The thought, also, seems to indicate that the writer is either a psychopathic jokesters or a real crank.”

Believes Killer Wrote Note

In the opinion of Agnes V. Hildebrand, who analyzed the handwriting from a newspaper reproduction, the letter is not the work of a crank, but was executed in all probability by the slayer himself. A heavy shading of the letters and a certain looping of them indicates that the writer was a coarse and brutal person of primitive and obstinate character, she said. A morbid, brooding and pessimistic nature was also indicated, she stated.

Inspector Frahm believes the note was a hoax perpetrated by a crank.

“We get many of these notes in murder cases,” he said, “but nevertheless we have to investigate every clue we get.”

The inspector ordered the release of a suspect who was arrested by police of the Hunt street station. Whether a hatchet, seized in a woodshed of an east side home, belonged to the suspect, Frahm would not say.

The hatchet, as described by Frahm, was one with a double blade, apparently a lather’s hatchet. It bore the name of Ferri Gregori, stenciled on the handle.

Blades Differ, Says Frahm

“The hatchet blade was about two inches in length,” Inspector Frahm explained. “Lieutenant Navarre tells me the one we seek has a double four-inched blade.”

Meanwhile Inspector Frahm and his aides are investigating all circumstances surrounding the murder on February 19, 1926 of Felice Argento, 33 years old, then living at 2225 Scott avenue. Argento was shot when he walked into an ambush laid by Angelo Paparo, 3532, St. Aubin avenue, and his son-in-law, Louis Evangelist.

Police are to question Evangelist to determine if he is related to the slain ax victim. They also plan to question Benny Abruzzi, a contractor, who is said to have received a “black-hand” demand for money several years ago and is said to have told police Benny Evangelist acted as “go-between.”

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