Conley, Put on Grill, Sticks Story

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

The Atlanta Georgian

Wednesday, June 25, 1913

Police Resume Questioning of the Negro Sweeper Who Accuses Leo Frank.

Puzzled by several of the statements of Jim Conley in regard to his part in the happenings the day that Mary Phagan was killed, the police have resumed the questioning from which the negro had been free since he was taken to the police station by the detectives.

One point that has not been cleared up is why Conley saw every one else that went into or left the factory and yet failed to see Mary Phagan.

Conley, on Sunday, was confronted by Monteen Stover. He identified her as the girl he saw enter the factory shortly after 12 o’clock on the day of the crime. Yet he still maintains that he did not see Mary Phagan, although Mary must have entered the factory either just before or just after the Stover girl was in the building. The evidence in the possession of the State shows that there could hardly have been more than three to five minutes intervening between the times that the two girls were in the factory.

Want Clearer Statement.

Conley has been asked to explain this apparently improbable circumstance. Conley at first denied that he had seen Lemmie Quinn in the factory on the Saturday of the murder. Later he said he had seen the factory foreman. Which statement is believed by the State is not known. What explanation is made by the negro for lying in regard to the matter also is conjectural.

Mary Phagan left her home on April 26 at about 11:50 o’clock. Living in Bellwood, it is regarded as unlikely that she reached the factory in less than 25 minutes, or at 12:15. Monteen Stover had testified that she visited the factory at about 12:10, which would be just before Mary Phagan had entered the factory, if the times testified to are correct.

Conley, on this account, has been asked if he saw, from his vantage point behind the boxes, Monteen Stover enter the factory at 12:10 o’clock, and Lemmie Quinn enter at 12:20, why he did not see Mary Phagan when she entered in the interval between the visits of the Stover girl and Lemmie Quinn.

Sticks to His Story.

Another point on which he has been questioned is as to how he could have left his home at the time he has testified and visit all the saloons of which he has told and still meet Frank at Nelson and Forsyth Streets as Frank was on his way to Montag Bros. factory. Frank, according to the statements of members of the Montag firm, was in their building by 10 o’clock. Yet the things that Conley has testified to doing would have taken him until considerably after 10 o’clock, according to a conservative estimate.

He also has been quizzed on other points in his testimony which appear at variance with the facts, but he has stuck steadfastly to the story told in his last affidavit. Solicitor Dorsey has said that he has been unable to shake the negro in any important particular.

Deny Hoke Smith Story.

Attorney Luther Z. Rosser, chief of counsel for Frank, made strenuous denial Wednesday that any effort had been made to connect Senator Hoke Smith with the defense. A similar denial was made by Herbert Haas, associated with Mr. Rosser in the defense. Neither was able to say how the rumor had started.

Frank A. Hooper, who is assisting Solicitor Dorsey in the prosecution, said that the State would be prepared Monday to fight the subpenas duces tecum issued by the lawyers for the defense. It is regarded as improbable, however, that the defense will bring the matter to an issue until the trial begins July 28.

* * *

The Atlanta Georgian, June 25th 1913, “Conley, Put on Grill, Sticks Story,” Leo Frank case newspaper article series (Original PDF)