Freaky Flint History with Joe Schipani - Moonshine and Gambling August 31st, 1923

Flint is well known for its modern violent crimes but Flint's history is filled with little known stories that read stranger than fiction. Gruesome murders, weird accidents, and violent deaths. Join us every Thursday as Joe Schipani details some of the odd but true deaths he found in Flint's archives.

Moonshine and Gambling August 31st, 1923

On Sunday August 26th, Slavaka Domesett went to his cousin George’s house. George Sipus ran a little illegal gambling and moonshine operation out of his home. There had been many people at the house that night including George’s brother Stephen. On the night of August 26 the house was filled with people, moonshine, and card games. George’s wife was busy entertaining the men and making them food.

Stephen was on a losing streak all night. Slavaka noticed and egged him on, encouraging him to keep gambling. Eventually a fight broke out. Stephen pulled out a pocket knife and sliced Slavaka’s arm. This started an all-out brawl.

After the two men went flying through a window, George kicked them out of his house.

After getting booted from George’s place Slavaka went to a physician and had his arm and face stitched up. They had been cut when he went through the window. After getting stitches Slavaka was upset and in pain. He went back to his George’s house on Massachusetts Avenue for moonshine to help his pain.

But this time he was prepared with a gun in case Stephen was there and wanted to brawl some more.

He walked in and discovered Stephen there. Stephen was quick to try and make amends with his cousin. The two men decided to bury the hatchet over a couple of drinks.

Everything seemed to be going good for a while. Stephen was still on his losing streak and after a couple more hours of drinking, Slavaka started in again with the comments.

George’s wife noticed that Stephen was almost to the breaking point so she distracted the two men with lunch. They seemed to calm down while eating. Mrs. Sipus tried her hardest to keep them distracted.

But the remarks once again started flowing from Slavaka. Stephen stood up and pulled out his knife. Slavaka pulled out his gun.

Mrs. Sipus quickly moved in front of Stephen thinking Slavaka would never shoot a woman. But it was too late.

Slvaka fired two shots. One hit Mrs. Sipus in the chest.  The other hit Stephen in the abdomen.

The police and ambulance arrived soon after but Slavaka made a quick getaway.

The police chased him for a few miles before catching him south of the river.

As Slavaka drove over the Halsey Street Bridge, he flung his revolver into the river. After his arrest, Slavaka admitted that he did not intend to shot Mrs. Sipus and that the trigger was already pulled when she got in the way.

Slavaka was jailed on attempted murder charges.

Stephen and Mrs. Sipus had been rushed to Hurley hospital, where both were operated on and listed in critical condition.

Stephen made a full recovery, while Mrs. Sipus died the following Friday on August 31st, 1923.

Slavaka’s charges were changed to one count of murder and one count of attempted murder.

He spent the rest of his life in prison.  

~ Joe Schipani is the Executive Director of the Flint Public Art Project and the FFAR Project Assistant at the Community Foundation of Greater Flint.  Find him on Facebook at 

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