Clock ‘Misses’ Add Mystery to Phagan Case

by Archivist on April 30, 2016

Clock 'Misses' Add Mystery to Phagan CaseAnother in our series of new transcriptions of contemporary articles on the Leo Frank case.

Atlanta Georgian

Wednesday, April 30th, 1913

Records Purport to Show Watchman Failed to Register Three Times Saturday Night.

What does the National Pencil Factory time clock show?

It was the duty of Newt Lee, the negro night watchman, to punch it every half-hour. Records brought to the police station purport to show that Lee three times failed to punch the clock.

But Leo M. Frank, superintendent of the factory, told a Georgian reporter Sunday afternoon that Lee had punched the clock regularly and that the clock record was all right.

Misses Were Not Consecutive.

Accepting the evidence of the records at the police station, the case is more beclouded by their introduction than it was before. Although they appear to show that Lee failed three times to punch the clock, these misses were not consecutive and the intervals between punches never were more than one hour.

The records show that the first alleged “miss” was not until after 9:32 Saturday night.

Where, then, was Mary Phagan from the time she drew her pay at noon—when Lee was not in the factory—until 9:32 Saturday night?

Makes Mystery Still Deeper.

And if Frank’s first statement was not a mistake and Lee did not miss these three punches, how would Lee have had time to go to his home at 40 Henry Street, change a bloody shirt, and return to the factory within a half-hour?

The introduction of the time clock records has served only to wrap the crime in deeper mystery and to add to the innumerable conflicting pieces of evidence.

* * *

Atlanta Georgian, April 30th 1913, “Clock ‘Misses’ Add Mystery to Phagan Case,” Leo Frank case newspaper article series (Original PDF)

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