Detroit Free Press / Newspaper Articles

The Detroit Free Press: 7/11/29



Evangelist’s Brother Had Fled Detroit, Fearing Death.


Latter’s Death May Have Been Cause of Slaying of 6

Two Detroit detectives left Pittsburgh last night for New York to follow up a “valuable clue” uncovered yesterday in the Pennsylvania city relating to the massacre of Benjamin Evangelist, his wife and their four children at 3587 St. Aubin avenue a week ago.

The nature of the clue was not revealed, according to a Pittsburgh dispatch, but the detectives received information from Louis Evangelist, a relative of the slain “prophet” who fled Detroit three years ago when he feared the vengeance of friends of Felice Argento, alleged black hand extortioner, shot during what was described as an attempt to collect $5,000 by threats.

Looking For Leads

Detroit police have been endeavoring to locate Louis Evangelist since Monday night. He is a railroad gang foreman at Caraopolis, suburb of Pittsburgh.

Louis Evangelist, with his father-in-law, Angelo Papraro, left Detroit a few days after the latter had shot and killed Argento when Argento came to 3587 St. Aubin avenue to receive $5,000 which Papraro agreed to pay him to avoid the execution of threats. Evangelist and Papraro had informed police of Argento’s threats, but the two detectives assigned to protect Papraro were not present when the alleged blackmailer walked into the ambush laid for him.

Feared For Lives

So terrified were Evangelist and Papraro that Argento’s friends would seek vengeance that they left Detroit a few days after the shooting. Fearing that any of the city depots would be watched by the avengers, the pair drove to Pontiac and entrained there.

At Pontiac, Evangelist and Papraro were arrested as suspicious characters, but Detroit police assured the Pontiac officers the two men were actually fleeing for their lives. They were then permitted to leave.

If the clue leading detectives to the east proves substantial, it will mean the six Evangelists were hacked to death in one of the most ferocious crimes in Detroit history as satisfaction for a feud which commenced three years ago.

Admission by Inspector Fred Frahm, of the police homicide squad that he held two anonymous letters sent to Evangelist some time prior to his death, was disclosed yesterday.

At the same time Inspector Frahm emphatically repudiated a story appearing in an afternoon newspaper that the homicide squad held five “blackmail” letters, one of which threatened death to Evangelist and his family “unless they carried out the terms of the letter.”

Earlier Report Denied

Besieged by newspapermen immediately following his return to his office, after having been out most of the day running down some of the few remaining “leads” left in the case, Inspector Frahm branded the “blackmail” letter report as “unfounded and untrue.”
“Do you possess any letters sent to Evangelist?” Frahm was asked.
“I have two letters,” was the reply.
“Are they ‘blackmail’ letters or threatening letters?”
“I cannot answer that.”
“Do you know who wrote them?”
“They were anonymous.”
“Do you attach any significance to either of them?”
“I cannot say as to that.”
“Have you heard from Lieutenant Johnson?”
“I have not.”

Lieutenant William Johnson, one of Frahm’s aides, was sent out of the city late Tuesday afternoon on a clue that developed during Tuesday’s investigation. His destination was not disclosed.

Frahm stated that the letters in his possession are signed “Blackhand.” They demand money of Evangelist but do not threaten him, Frahm said.

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