Agent Claims Conley Confessed to Murder

Another in our series of new transcriptions of contemporary articles on the Leo Frank case.

The Atlanta Journal

Friday, July 11, 1913

Detectives Deny That Mincey Told Them of Alleged Confession of Negro

In the possession of the attorneys for the defense of Leo M. Frank is an affidavit of William H. Mincey, formerly an insurance agent working in Atlanta, who declares that the negro, James Conley, while drunk on the afternoon of April 26, admitted and even boasted to him that he had killed a girl that day.

The admission is alleged by Mincey’s affidavit to have been made when he met Conley, whom he knew, in the negro quarter, and attempted to sell him insurance.

The negro became enraged, the affidavit recites, and told him (Mincey) that he (Conley) didn’t want to have to kill another person that day, as he had already killed a little girl.

The affidavit is said to further recite that Mincey offered, a day or two after the killing of Mary Phagan, his information to the city police, who refused to consider it. The affidavit is also said to recite that Mincey visited Conley at police headquarters and there again definitely identified him as the man who boasted on April 26 of having killed the girl.

N. A. Lanford, chief of the city detectives, and Harry Scott, of the Pinkertons, who has been working on the case, declare that they first heard of Mincey on the day of Conley’s second confession of complicity.

Mincey, Scott says, came to headquarters while he and Chief Lanford were examining Conley in the chief’s office, and after some time was allowed to see the negro.

Mincey told them, Scott says, that he wanted to see if he could identify Conley as a negro he saw drunk on the porch of a house at Electric avenue and Carter street between 3 and 4 o’clock on the afternoon of the 26th.

“I don’t know that he is the same negro,” Scott quotes Mincey as saying when he looked at Conley.

Mincey asked Conley several questions about his (Mincey’s) effort to sell him insurance on the Saturday in question, and Conley told him that he had never sen [sic] him before, Scott asserts.

Mincey, according to the Pinkerton, made no reference to any confession of the killing. All he said, in fact, the detective says, was that Conley was drunk on the porch of the house and that he (Mincey) tried to sell him insurance.

Mincey claimed to have made an effort to sell Conley insurance betwen [sic] 3 and 4 o’clock in the afternoon, Scott states, and Conley claims that at that time he was on Peters street, and couldn’t have been where Mincey says he saw him.

“We are certain,” the detective said, “that Conley was on Peters street between 3 and 4 on the afternoon of the tragedy, not simply because he says that he was there, but because we have found a number of witneses [sic] who saw him there then.”

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The Atlanta Journal, July 11th 1913, “Agent Claims Conley Confessed to Murder,” Leo Frank case newspaper article series (Original PDF)