By Finn J.D. John
August 1, 2021
IT WAS A little after 10 p.m. on a Friday evening in the summer of 1921. In their little house on Druid Street in the St. Johns neighborhood of Portland, Robert Green and his family were getting ready for bed when they heard the screams.
Rushing to the front porch, they found their neighbor, Ann Louise Agee, in her nightclothes, wild-eyed and disheveled.
“Help! Come quick! They’re killing Harry!” she screamed.
Green looked across at the Agee home. From where he stood, by the light of streetlamps and the few lights inside the house, he could dimly see the front porch. The door was opening and a figure was staggering out of the front door, clutching at its throat. Then it collapsed on the porch.
Green sprinted across and leaped onto the porch. There he found his neighbor, carpenter Harry Agee, in a pool of blood, dying.
Looking up at him, Harry opened his mouth and tried to speak. Only a ghastly gurgling resulted from the effort.
Harry’s throat had been slashed open. Whoever had done it had missed the jugular vein, but had cut through his windpipe. Harry’s lips were moving as if he were speaking, but no words were coming out. It was as if he were trying to tell Green who had attacked him, but could not.
And before he could figure out a way, he lapsed into unconsciousness from the blood loss. He died a few minutes later, on the way to the hospital.
This was the opening act in a murder drama that would hold Portland spellbound throughout the summer of 1921 -- and one that would convince thousands of Portlanders to lock their doors at night. ...
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