Another in our series of new transcriptions of contemporary articles on the Leo Frank case.
August 9th, 1913
What promised to be a very favorable day for the defense in the trial of Leo M. Frank, charged with the murder of Mary Phagan, was partly spoiled at its close Friday by the bewilderment of E. F. Holloway, day watchman at the pencil factory, in a maze of conflicting statements.
Holloway’s confusion under the fire of the Solicitor General was more than offset by the importance of the testimony which had gone before, two of the witnesses giving testimony which was intended to establish that Mary Phagan did not enter the National Pencil Factory on the day of her death until after Monteen Stover had come and gone.
Besides giving the lie direct to Jim Conley’s tale, this testimony, if it stands as the truth in the minds of the jurors, upsets the State’s theory that Monteen Stover visited the office of Leo Frank while the superintendent was in the metal room with the Phagan girl.
Conley said on the stand that he saw Lemmie Quinn, then Mary Phagan and then Monteen Stover go up to the second floor. The Stover girl said that she entered the factory at 12:05 o’clock. It was 12:10 when she left, she testified. She looked at the time clock both times.
Street Car Men Testify.
W. M. Matthews and W. T. Hollis, the motorman and conductor on the car which brought Mary into town the day that she met her death, testified that she did not leave the car before 12:10 o’clock, the inference from this testimony being that she could not have entered the factory before Monteen Stover and entered and left.
If the testimony of George Epps the State’s witness, is accepted, the defense declares Mary Phagan could not have entered the plant before Monteen Stover.
Matthews said that he knew the girl by sight and frequently spoke to her when she boarded his car. He said that he was relieved at Broad and Marietta streets at 12:07 o’clock, the day of the crime and that he went inside the car and sat back of Mary Phagan and a girl companion while they were riding to Broad and Hunter streets. He said they got off at about 12:10 and walked toward the pencil factory.
Matthews’ story contradicts that of George Epps, who testified on the stand that he rode to town with Mary, got off the car with her at Forsyth and Marietta streets and walked as far as the viaduct with her on her way to the pencil factory. Matthews and Hollis both said that they had no recollection of Epps being on the car. Hollis said that Mary was sitting alone when he took her fare just after the car got onto English avenue. Matthews said another young girl was sitting with her when the center of town was reached.
Attacks Conley’s Story.
The significance of the story of the two street car men is that it seems to add another falsehood to the many that Jim Conley already has told and freely admitted telling.
He did not see Mary Phagan go upstairs to Frank’s office, hear the sounds of footsteps going to the metal room, then a girl’s scream, and after this witness the entrance and departure of Monteen Stover. On the contrary, the Stover girl was in the factory and gone before Mary Phagan came inside the doors.
Holloway, the day watchman, was called back to the stand by the defense to testify in rebuttal of Conley’s testimony in regard to the alleged visits of women to Frank’s office. Holloway said that no incidents of this sort ever took place. Conley would have had no opportunity of watching at the door without his (Holloway’s) knowing it, he declared.
He denied that Daisy Hopkins ever visited the factory with a man while he was on duty or that immorality of any sort was practiced in the building to his knowledge. He said that Herbert Schiff and Frank were generally in the office together on Saturdays and that neither of them ever had women in the office.
Solicitor Dorsey began cross-examining Holloway in savage fashion and soon had the watchman badly rattled. At one time Holloway refused to commit himself as to what he had testified only a moment before.
“Was that negro drayman there Saturday—you said so awhile ago, didn’t you?” asked the Solicitor.
Holloway floundered while Dorsey was insisting on an answer. He could not remember what he had testified. Finally he blurted out:
“If I said he was there, he was. If I said he wasn’t there, he wasn’t.”
Refers to Reward Claim.
“But what is the truth?” persisted Dorsey.
Holloway continued to return the same answer until Judge Roan forced him to make a definite reply. Then he took refuge in the old reliable answer: “I don’t remember.”
The Solicitor called Holloway’s attention to a remark that the watchman was said to have made about Conley being “my nigger” when a reference was made to the rewards offered. He also showed an affidavit signed by Holloway saying that Darley had left the factory the Saturday of the killing at 10:45 in the forenoon. Darley had testified that he left at about 9:30 and Holloway had said only a few minutes before that Darley left about 9:20 or 9:30.
“What did you say 10:45 for in the affidavit you signed for me shortly after the murder?” shouted the Solicitor.
“That was mostly guesswork,” explained the witness.
“Did you tell Mr. Arnold that you left the factory every day about 5:30 o’clock?”
Said 3, but Meant 4 o’Clock.
“Didn’t you tell me that you left sometimes at 3 o’clock?”
“If I said 3, I meant 4.”
“What did you mean by 4:30 just now?”
“That just slipped out.”
N. V. Darley, general manager of the factory; H. J. Hinchey, of No. 391 Peachtree street; Harry Scott, “Boots” Rogers, I. U. Kauffman, T. H. Willett and J. Q. Adams were the other witnesses of the day.
Kauffman identified blueprints and drawings he had made of the Selig home and of the pencil factory. Willett explained the pasteboard model of the factory that he had made from the blueprints. Adams identified photographs he had made at the Selig home and the factory.
Hinchey told of seeing Frank coming from home on a Washington street car the afternoon of the crime. This was intended to discredit Albert McKnight, one of the State’s witnesses, who said that he saw Frank board a Georgia avenue car when he left home.
Darley was recalled largely to testify to the possibility of various methods which Conley might have employed in disposing of the girl’s body in the event he was the murderer of the girl.
New Theory Is Suggested.
The most startling sug[g]estion came from Darley’s testimony that a door leading from the entryway on the first floor into the rear of the building was found broken open right after the crime. Two trap doors open into the basement from this rear room. One of them is over a chute. Reuben Arnold, by his line of questioning, showed that the defense seriously had considered the theiry [sic] that the girl’s murderer had dragged her through this door on the first floor and had dropped her body down the chute.
The Solicitor brought out that the door might have been opened by the detectives in their search of the building and that if the body ever had been dropped down the chute it most probably would have been left there, as it would have been perfectly hidden.
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Atlanta Georgian, August 9th 1913, “Confusion of Holloway Spoils Close of Good Day for the Defense,” Leo Frank case newspaper article series (Original PDF)