Burns Hunt for Phagan Slayer Begun

Burns Hunt for Phagan Slayer Begun

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

Atlanta Georgian

Friday, May 16th, 1913

Skilled Aide of Famous Detective Arrives in Atlanta—Keeps Identity Secret.

Contributions for a fund to bring W. J. Burns, the great detective, to Atlanta in the Phagan case follow:

The Georgian ……………$100

The Constitution ………..  100

Homer George …………..   10

More than six substantial subscriptions from persons who asked that their names be kept secret have been added to the above.

The Burns investigation into the Phagan murder mystery began Friday.

William J. Burns, who personally will conduct the case some time shortly after his arrival from Europe on June 1, cabled his orders to the New York office and one of his best men was dispatched to Atlanta to get as much evidence as possible before the arrival of the great detective chief. He left New York shortly after midnight Wednesday and should have been in Atlanta Thursday night or Friday morning.

He will make every effort to keep his identity and the result of his findings secret until the time for him to report to his chief or to Colonel Thomas B. Felder.

Fund Raised by Public.

The fund to secure the services of the great detective and his assistants from New York, being raised by public subscription, was considerably swelled following the announcement in The Georgian Thursday that an appeal had been made to the public.

Colonel Felder said Friday morning that a number of substantial subscriptions had been pledged by telephone and he had directed the donors to send their checks to Charles I. Ryan, cashier of the Fourth National Bank. He said he had not learned the exact sum subscribed so far, but that he had no doubt it was several hundred dollars.

“I know of more than six subscriptions that will be made this morning, but I promised the people their names would not be published. The fund will be raised all right, and we are so confident of it one of the Burns men should be on the scene now.”

Valuable Evidence Reported.

Hugh M. Dorsey, Solicitor General, held a secret conference at his office Thursday night with city detectives and members of his staff. It was understood the conference followed the finding of valuable information or evidence in connection with the Phagan case, but the Solicitor would make no announcement.

The examination of witnesses by Mr. Dorsey will be continued to-day. J. Williams, ex-policeman, who operates a livery stable near the pencil factory plant on South Forsyth Street, will be examined to-day. He entered the building shortly after the body of the murdered girl was found. It was he who lay in the position of the dead body while the negro, Newt Lee, went through the pantomime of first discovering it.

Mrs. Frank Visits Tower.

Mrs. Leo M. Frank visited her husband at the Tower Thursday afternoon for the second time since he was taken there over two weeks ago. The prisoner received her in the dining-room. They talked for more than an hour, and both showed evidence of weeping when they left the room. Frank’s step was unsteady and his eyes were dimmed with tears. Mrs. Frank walked with bowed head. She left her husband a dish of dainties and a package of clothing.

The Grand Jury meets to-day to take up and dispose of every routine case on the calendar. When it meets again—not later than Friday of next week—the witnesses in the Phagan mystery will be called to testify.

Quick Verdict Unlikely.

It is not unlikely the body will deliberate several days before reaching a decision.

There will be no session of court next week on account of the Solicitor being engaged in preparing the Phagan case.

Should indictments be found, the third week in June will be set for the trial, according to an announcement from Mr. Dorsey, who said it would be impossible to prepare the case for trial in less time.

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Atlanta Georgian, May 16th 1913, “Burns Hunt for Phagan Slayer Begun,” Leo Frank case newspaper article series (Original PDF)