Freaky Flint History with Joe Schipani - Backyard Quarrel September 2nd,1928

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.

It was a beautiful Sunday afternoon, when Allen Papendick and his wife decided to have some of their closest friends over.

In attendance were Berry Sugg and his wife, and Mr. and Mrs. Gideon, who lived in the apartment above the Papendick’s. The three couples had been close friends for many years. It was common practice for Allen and Berry to quarrel almost every time they got together. Berry was a drinker and did not let prohibition slow him down.

That afternoon, the two men got into their normal quarrel, but this escalated quickly due to Berry’s intoxication. Berry became very agitated and walked over to his home on Court Street to find his gun. When he got there, he discovered that his wife had hid it. Berry stormed back to Allen’s home and demanded she tell him the location of the gun. Thinking that he was all show, the other men convinced her to tell him where it was. After she did, he stormed back home to retrieve it and more whiskey.

Shortly after he left Mrs. Sugg got a very bad feeling. She convinced the Gideon’s to walk her home and so they could stop Berry. When they arrived at her home she found that Berry had already left. He was back at Allen’s house trying to convince him to drink more.

Allen walked him out to the back yard where the two chatted for a while.

According to Allen’s wife’s police statement, Berry kept trying to get Allen to drink with him. After a while, he got so angry at Allen’s refusals Berry shot him.

The sound of the gun shot made Allen’s wife rush out to the back yard where she found him lying there with gunshot to the heart.

Berry was gone.

Police arrived on scene at the Papendick residence around the same time Berry Sugg stumbled into the police station and turned himself in. At first he confessed to accidently killing Allen while showing off his new gun. Later that afternoon he changed his story and said that Allen was holding the gun and accidently pulled the trigger.

The coroner’s report determined that the gun was fired from about twenty feet away. There was no gun residue on Allen’s hands. The biggest indication that Allen did not shoot himself was the angle the bullet entered, and the fact that the bullet grazed Allen’s arm before entering his chest and going through his heart.

Berry Sugg was arrested and received ten years 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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