Eddie Fletcher and Abe Axler died as they lived; Together. Known as the "Siamese Twins" of Detroit's notorious Purple Gang, both Axler and Fletcher grew up together in Brooklyn, New York. Just as Al Capone went west at the dawn of Prohibition to strike it rich, so to did Axler and Fletcher. The latter two ended up in the Motor City in the mid 1920s and became top torpedoes for the organization.
By 1933 the Purple gang was in disarray. Main gang members and former leaders were either dead or in prison. The Siamese Twins reportedly tried to go straight themselves but were unable to make a living. Designated Public Enemies 1 & 2, by Detroit law enforcement, they were also picked up on sight. It was mentioned that Axler had a bookmaking operation working out of a Detroit barber shop. There was also a report that the men were trying to muscle in on the dope racket.
Whatever the reason, the men were taken for a ride in Axler's own Chrysler sedan. They were last seen leaving a beer garden in Pontiac, Michigan. They climbed into Axler's car after midnight and drove off. Somewhere along the lines they ended up in the back seat. Fletcher on the left, Axler in the middle and another guy on the right. Someone else was driving. It appears that Axler saw what was about to happened and grasped his partner's hand. Police believe Fletcher got it first, a fusillade from a .38 from the front driver's seat. He was hit twice in the chest, once in the right arm and once in the forehead. Axler took five shots from a .45 to the ride side of the head. Unrecognizable, he slouched into his dead friend. The car was abandoned on deserted patch of road off of Telegraph Road near Bloomfield Hills.
A couple of days after the murder the Detroit Free Press stated that the Licavoli crime family had made an attempt on them a few weeks before the murder. Axler and Fletcher may have known they were on the spot because they had been spending time outside of Detroit.
L. Eddie Fletcher R. Abe Axler