Another in our series of new transcriptions of contemporary articles on the Leo Frank case.
August 4th, 1913
There was a murmur of excitement following the calling of Jim Conley; there was a wait of several minutes, officers having just left the police station with the negro a minute or two before he was called.
Judge Roan impatiently ordered the Sheriff to bring in the witness. A number of spectators who were crowded up too close to the jury box were moved back by the court deputies.
“The Sheriff hasn’t got Jim Conley,” said Attorney Rosser, after a statement from Deputy Sheriff Plennie Miner.
“Mr. Starnes will bring him in,” returned Solicitor Dorsey.
“See if Mrs. White has arrived,” then requested Dorsey. “She has a very young baby, and when I had her subpenaed this morning she said that she would have to send to the factory and get her husband before she could come.”
Courtroom Quiet as Conley Enters.
“You may call her later,” said Mr. Rosser, “there wont’ be any objection.”
Jim Conley was brought into the courtroom just at this time. He took the witness chair and was sworn in while in the chair. Solicitor Dorsey examined him and everyone leaned forward, while extreme quiet prevailed.
Q. What is your name?—A. James Conley.
Q. Do you know Leo M. Frank?—A. Yes.
Q. Point him out.—(Conley did so.)
Q. Did you have any conversation with him on Friday afternoon before the murder of Mary Phagan?—(Conley’s answer was indistinct.)
Q. How long had you been working at the pencil factory?—A. About two years.
“Frank Told Me to Come Back.”
Q. What did he say to you on Friday?—A. He said for me to come back at 8:30 o’clock Saturday morning.
Q. Did you go?—A. Yes, about 8:30 o’clock.
Q. Who got there first, you or Mr. Frank?—A. We met at the front door.
Q. What did he say?—A. He said I was too early for what he wanted me to do. I told him I thought he wanted me to do what I had been doing on every Saturday.
Q. What had you been doing on other Saturdays?
“I object,” said Rosser. “This witness should not be led.”
Q. What did you do this Saturday?—A. I watched the door while Mr. Frank said he was going upstairs for a little chat.
Q. Was anybody else with him?
“I must object again,” interrupted Rosser.
Q. Who was there?—A. Well, girls would come up. One time another man and another girl come up.
Q. What sort of looking woman was she?—A. She was a heavy woman.
Q. What time was this?—A. Thanksgiving day, 1912.
Watched at Door.
Q. What did you do?—A. I stayed down at the door and watched.
Q. Now state all that Mr. Frank said to you that morning.—A. He said I was a little early; that he wanted me to do what I had done on other Saturdays.
Q. What was that?—A. To watch while he went up and had a little chat.
Q. What did Mr. Frank do then?—A. He went over to Mr. Montag’s.
Q. That is the corner of Nelson and Forsyth streets, isn’t it? (Dorsey showed a rough sketch to the witness.)—A. Yes.
Q. What time did you get to Nelson and Forsyth streets?—A. Somewhere between 10 and 10:30.
Q. Did you see Mr. Frank?—A. Yes, he passed me going toward Montag’s.
Q. What did he say?—A. “Ha, ha, you are here, are you?”
Q. Did you see him later?—A. Yes, when he came back.
Q. Did he say anything?—A. No, except to come over.
Followed Him to Factory.
Q. Did you go, and what way?—A. He passed Alverson’s grocery store and bumped against a man.
Q. What else?—A. He stopped at Curtis’ drug store and drank something.
Q. Did you follow him?—A. Yes.
Q. Q. When you got to the factory, what happened?—A. He opened the door and showed me how to lock the door. He said that he was going to have a young lady up there and he wanted me to lock the door. He said that he would stamp his foot and that would be a signal for me to come up.
Q. What else?—A. He knocked me in the chest kind of playful-like and said: “Don’t let Darley see you.”
Q. What did he do then?—A. He went up to his office.
Q. Who else did you see?—A. I saw Darley come in and come down.
Q. Who was with him?—A. Miss Mattie Smith.
Q. What was she doing?—A. She had a handkerchief as if she was crying.
Q. What, if anything, did Miss Mattie Smith have in her hand? A. She had a pocketbook, a handkerchief and an umbrella.
Q. Was she in a good humor or a bad humor?—A. She looked like she was crying.
Q. How long did Miss Smith stay in the factory?—A. Just a short time.
“You promised me you wouldn’t lead this witness,” interrupted Mr. Rosser.
“I promised you I would do the best I could,” replied Dorsey.
Q. Was this before or after you went to Nelson street?—A. It was after.
Conley then told of seeing a number of employees come in.
Q. Who else did you see?—A. Miss Mary Perkins.
Q. Who?—A. Miss Mary Perkins, I called her, the girl who is dead.
Q. What else did you hear?—A. I heard footsteps going back towards the metal room and in a little bit I heard a scream.
Q. What happened next?—A. Miss Monteen Stover came in. In a little bit she went out.
Q. What did you hear then?—A. Heard footsteps like somebody running on tip toe from Mr. Frank’s office towards the metal room. In a minute I heard the steps running back to the metal room.
Q. What happened after that?—A. I sat down on a box and went to sleep.
Q. What was the next thing you heard?—A. Mr. Frank stamping on the floor three times. Then he called me.
Q. What did he say?—A. He asked me if I noticed a little girl go out. I told him I saw one, but didn’t see the other.
Q. How long was it before you heard the whistle?—A. Not long.
Q. What did you do?—A. I unlocked the door and went upstairs. Mr. Frank was standing at the head of the stairs shivering and shaking.
Q. Did he have anything in his hand?—A. A cord.
Q. What did he say?—He asked me if I noticed a little girl come in. I told him I saw two.
Q. Did you ever see any girls in Frank’s office alone with him?—A. One day I saw him down on his knee in front of a girl in his office and she was stroking his hair.
Says Frank Said He Hit Girl.
Q. When Frank called you upstairs that Saturday afternoon, what did he say?—A. He said he had struck a little girl with his fist and she had fallen against something and hurt herself.
Q. What else?—A. He told me he wanted me to help him carry her down stairs. He said there was money in it for me.
Q. What else did you do?—A. I went back to the dressing room where he told me she was and found a girl lying flat of her back with a cord around her neck—
Dorsey here interrupted the witness.
Q. About where did you find this girl when you went back there?—Conley took a parasol and pointed out where he had found the girl, hsing [sic] the diagram to show it). A.—It was right in front of the ladies’ washroom.
Q. What did Mr. Frank do?—A. He said “sh-h, sh-h, sh-h.” I told him she was dead. He told me to get a piece of cloth out of a box back there and wrap up her head.
Solicitor Dorsey had to admonish Conley not to talk so fast.
A large piece of cotton bale wrapping was exhibited.
Q. What is that, Jim?—A. That is a piece of cloth like I got out of the box and rolled the girl’s body into.
Q. Why did you do it?—A. Because Mr. Frank told me to.
Q. How did she look?—A. She had her hands stretched out […]
“I WRAPPED HER BODY UP LIKE DIRTY CLOTHES,” SAYS CONLEY
Whole Court Audience Keyed to Catch Every Word of the Witness
SWEEPER FIRST ADMITS HE SAW GIRL VICTIM AT PLANT
[…] and cords around her neck.
Q. How did you put her in the cloth?—A. I wrapped her up like you would dirty clothes, tying the cloth in a knot.
Q. What did you do with her then?—A. I tried to pick her up. She was so heavy I dropped her. I was nervous and scary and called Mr. Frank. He came and took her by the feet. When we started off he dropped her feet. I was backing back and Mr. Frank was carrying her feet. He let her feet drop when we were toting her. When we got to the elevator he tried it and found it was locked. He went into the office and got a key, came back and unlocked it, and when it started he said “Come on and get on here.” When we got to the basement, he told me to take her on back. I said, “Where must I put her?” He said, “Back there by the sawdust pile.” I hollered to him when I got back there and asked him if that was the place. He said “Leave her there.” When we got up to the second floor he jumped off before we got even with the floor and fell. He jumped up and went to wash his hands. When he came back he went to the office and said, “Come in, damn it.” I went in and in a few minutes he said, “Somebody is coming.” He was trembling and shaking all over, and his eyes were dancing like diamonds. He says, “Here, jump in here,” and he opened the wardrobe door. I got in, and after a long time he came and let me out. I said, “You kept me in here a mighty long time.”
Says He Was Asked to Write Notes.
Q. Did you hear anything while you were in the wardrobe?—A. Yes, I heard someone come in and say “Good morning, Mr. Frank.” “Good morning,” he said. “You are all alone,” said the other voice. That’s all I heard, but the footsteps going out. He came back and let me out of the wardrobe. “You kept me in here a mighty long time,” I said. “Yes,” he said, “you are sweating.” We went into his office and he reached over and gave me a box of cigarettes. He offered me one. They don’t allow cigarette smoking around the factory. He said there was some money in the box and I could keep it. Then he asked me to write some notes for his mother. I don’t know what it was I wrote, but the first one did not suit him. I wrote another on some green looking paper. I was glad to do anything for Mr. Frank. He was the superintendent and all that. He slapped me on the back at that and said “Good boy.” He had promised me some money and I asked him about that. He pulled out of his pocket a large roll of greenbacks. I took them. I told him I was scared. He said something about getting me out of town. Then he asked me for the money back. I thought he was just going to count it, but he put it in his pocket. “Is that the way you are going to treat me, Mr. Frank?” I asked. “You keep your mouth shut,” he said. He held his hands together, and looking up toward the ceiling said: “Why should I hang; I have wealthy people in Brooklyn.” I looked up toward the ceiling, but didn’t see nothing. I looked and said: “Is that all you want?” and he said “Yes.” I sat in a chair and saw him start to write a note. The first letter was “W.” He turned and saw me. He jumped up and grabbed me by the shoulder, turned me and put me to the head of the stair and told me to go. He said: “Don’t you say anything now, and I will make it all right.” I went down and went out to a saloon on Peters street; I took a double-header and looked at the clock. It was twenty minutes to 2. I asked a boy to have one with me, then I went home.
Frank came to him Tuesday, he says.
Q. Did you see Frank any more?—A. Between 10 o’clock and 11 o’clock Tuesday morning. He came to me while I was sweeping on the fourth floor and said: “Be a good boy,” and I said: “Yes, I will be a good boy.”
Q. Did you see him Monday?—A. No.
Q. Why?—A. Because it was a holiday and I didn’t go to work until Tuesday. After Mr. Frank spoke to me, somebody told me they were going to arrest Mr. Frank.
Dorsey interrupted: “Never mind that, what somebody told you.”
Q. When were you arrested?—A. On the first of May.
Q. Do you remember the day of the week?—A. Thursday.
Q. Look at these notes (handing the negro the two murder notes found in the basement beside Mary Phagan’s body).—A. Yes, these are the notes fixed up in Mr. Frank’s office. That man right there (pointing to the defendant) took them off his desk and had me write them.
Doesn’t Know Mrs. White.
Q. Did you notice the time that morning?—A. Yes, at Broad and Mitchell street it was 9 minutes past 10.
Q. Who left the factory first?—A. Frank.
Q. Do you know the name of the man or woman up there with Frank Thanksgiving Day?—A. I don’t know the woman, but the man’s name was Dalton.
Q. What did Frank have on that Saturday morning?—A. A raincoat.
Q. Where were you sitting?—A. Right here (indicating a spot in the first floor of the factory near the trapdoor that leads to the basement).
Q. Where did you work all of the time?—A. Up until Christmas I worked on the elevator. After Christmas they took me off of the elevator and put me to cleaning up on the fourth floor.
Q. Do you know Mrs. Arthur White?—A. No.
At this point Solicitor Dorsey spoke to one of the deputies and said: “If Mrs. White has come, show her in.”
Q. When you found the body, how did you know she was dead?—A. She was lying flat of her back with her arms outstretched and she wasn’t breathing.
At this juncture Mrs. White entered the courtroom.
Q. Did you see this woman (Dorsey pointed to Mrs. White).—A. No, sir.
“Your honor,” said Dorsey, “I will put this witness on the stand for a moment.”
“We object,” said Rosser. “I told you privately we wouldn’t consent.”
“I thought you said Dr. Harris,” returned Dorsey.
“Nobody,” said Rosser.
Dorsey continued to question the negro.
Q. What kind of a lady was it you saw in Frank’s office Thanksgiving day?—A. She was a tallish, pretty lady, with a polka-dot dress and a kind of grayish skirt, white shoes and white stockings.
Q. Did Frank say anything then?—A. He kept saying: “That’s all right; that’s all right.”
Q. Did you ever watch for Frank before, and if so, when?—A. I don’t know exactly, but I watched down there once or twice.
Q. Did Frank know you could write?
“I object to that as immaterial,” said Rosser.
Dorsey: “I want to show that Frank knew this man could write, and that when Frank was under arrest he knew he could write. That Conley had told the police he could not write and Frank did not tell the police any better.”
Judge Roan: “You can show that.”
Q. Did Frank know anything of that watch contract?—A. Yes. It was made in his presence.
Q. Did you at first refuse to write for the police?—A. Yes sir, I did at first.
Q. Did Frank know you could write?—A. Yes, sir. I signed a paper for a bailiff before him.
Rosser objected, but was overruled.
Puts Rope Around Neck.
Probably the most dramatic moment in the direct examination came when Solicitor Dorsey handed to the negro the underskirt ruffle which had been taken from the dead girl’s neck, and the negro identified it as the cloth to which he had referred.
The solicitor then handed to him a piece of cord and directed him to illustrate to the jury just how it was tied about the firl’s [sic] neck.
Conley put one end through the loop at the other end. Then he placed the bight around his own neck and drew it tight with the slip knot on the right side of his neck. Picking up the underskirt ruffle, he said that this was tied around the girl’s neck.
“Did you notice the clock while you were up there?” asked the solicitor.
A. I didn’t see any clock in the metal room, but after I saw the girl was dead and went back up to the front I noticed the clock.
Q. What time was it?—A. Four minutes to 1.
Q. You say the girl was dead when you say [sic] her?—A. Yes, sir.
Q. What did you do when you found the girl was dead?—A. I come back and told Mr. Frank, “She’s dead.” Mr. Frank told me to get a piece of cloth out of the cotton box and put it around her up here. I heard a noise up toward the third floor about that time. Both Mr. Frank and me looked up there. It was then that I looked at the clock and saw it was four minutes to 1.
Q. Well, what did you do then?—A. I went and got the cloth like Mr. Frank told me to do.
Solicitor Dorsey handed to the witness Mary Phagan’s parasol and asked him to point out on the big diagram hanging before the jury the place where he found the girl’s body. The negro indicated an areaway leading off at the left of the metal room, saying that the areaway led to the ladies’ toilet.
Q. Jim, where is the metal kept?—A. It’s kept back there in a room near the ladies’ toilet.
Rosser Starts Cross-Examination.
The witness was then turned over to the defense and Rosser and Arnold retired for a conference. Mr. Dorsey asked another question.
Q. How long did you work for the National Pencil Company?—A. Two years.
Q. Where did you work before that?—A. For Dr. Palmer.
Q. Why did you quit?—A. Well, he got an automobile. He didn’t know how to run it and I didn’t, so he had to get another man.
Q. How old are you?—A. 27. Conley then rapidly reviewed where he had worked for a number of years, giving himself a good record.
Rosser and Arnold returned to the courtroom here and Rosser took the witness on cross-examination.
Q. How old are you, Jim?—A. 27.
Q. Where were you born?—A. Right here in Atlanta.
Q. When did you get your first job?—A. About eleven years ago.
Q. When you were about 16 years old?—A. No, I was about eleven years old.
Q. What year was that?—About 1901, I won’t be sure.
Q. Can you read newspapers?—A. Not much, I read them some.
Q. Do you read them often?—A. I pick them up now and then.
Q. What do you read?—A. Little words like “this” and “that.”
Q. They are pretty common words in the newspapers, aren’t they?—A. Yes.
Tries Conley on Spelling.
Q. Can you spell “school?”—A. Yes.
Q. Color?—A. No.
Q. Shirt?—A. Yes.
Q. Cat?—A. Yes.
Q. Do you spell it with a “k” or with a “c”—A. With a “k.”
Q. Can you spell “mother?”—A. No.
Q. Can you spell “papa?”—A. Yes.
Q. How?—A. P-a-p-a.
Q. Can you spell “day?”—A. Yes.
Q. “Daylight?”—A. Yes.
Q. Can you spell “beer?”—A. Yes.
Q. Can you spell “whisky?”—A. No.
Q. Look at this picture and tell me if you can read any of these words?—A. No.
Q. Do you know your figures?—A. Yes.
Q. You know a good deal more about figures than you do about spelling, don’t you?—A. Yes. I can count better than I can spell.
Q. Then you are better at figuring than you are at writing?—A. Yes; I am better at counting.
Q. Well, isn’t figuring counting?—A. I don’t know.
Q. You don’t know you are 27 years old, do you, Jim?—A. Yes, sir, that’s what my mother said.
Q. When did you go to school?—A. Before I went to work.
Q. You don’t know where it was?—A. Yes, it was at the Mitchell street school.
Q. Who was your teacher?—A. Miss Aaron Cook.
Q. Who was the principal?—A. Miss Corey.
Q. What year was it?—A. I don’t know.
Q. What did you do for Dr. Palmer?—A. I drove for him.
Quizzed About Former Employment.
Q. How long did you work for Mr. Coates?—A. About five years.
Q. He ran a pressing club?—A. No, sir, he ran a woodyard.
Q. Do you remember any of the names of the white men who worked there?—A. Yes, Mr. Babe, I think.
Q. He wasn’t ‘Baby’, was he?—A. No, sir.
Q. Jim, when you went to the National Pencil Factory, who employed you?—A. Mr. Herbert Schiff.
Q. Who paid off?—A. Mr. Schiff and sometimes Mr. Frank.
Q. Give me the dates Mr. Frank paid off.—A. I hardly ever drew my money. I had somebody draw mine, usually.
Q. Why did you do that?—A. Well, I owed money, and I wanted to get it and get away without them getting it all.
Q. Did you not owe the boys more than you wanted to pay them?—A. No, sir, I just owed 10 or 15 men.
Q. What were you drawing?—A. $6.05.
Q. Who else worked there?—A. Joe Bryce.
Q. What did he draw?—A. He said $6.48.
Q. What made him tell you that?—A. We were arguing down in the basement.
Q. Did you tell him what you drew?—A. No.
Q. Why didn’t you tell him?—A. I didn’t think it was any of his business.
Q. You didn’t want him to know?—A. No, sir.
Q. All you had to do was to put your envelop in your pocket and he couldn’t see it, or tell what was in it?—A. Yes.
Settled His Bills by Buying Beer.
Q. Then if you owed this fellow Bryce money, you were afraid to get it while he was there?—A. No.
Q. Why didn’t you settle with them?—A. I usually settled with them at the beer saloon by buying twice as much beer.
Q. Didn’t you say a while ago that you owed Joe Bryce some money?—A. No, I said Walter.
Q. Then the reason you didn’t draw your money was that you wanted to get it and get away without paying money?—A. Sometimes.
Q. What time did the night watchman come?—A. I don’t know. I never saw him come to work.
Q. You never saw the watchman there?—A. I saw the white watchman get his money there.
Q. At what time did he come?—A. About 2 o’clock.
Q. Did you see old man Newt Lee? there?—A. No, I heard he was.
Q. Who was there before Newt?—A. Old man Kendrick.
Q. Who was there before that?—A. His son, I think.
Q. What time did they pay off on Saturdays? Was it 12 o’clock?—A. Sometimes 12, sometimes a quarter to 12 and sometimes at 11:30.
Q. Now you said you watched for Mr. Frank, didn’t you?—A. Yes.
Q. When was the first time you ever watched for Mr. Frank?—A. Sometime last summer.
Frank Called Him Into Office.
Q. What did Mr. Frank say to you?—A. He came out and called me into his office.
Q. What did he say?—A. Well, he sometimes talked to me about the work.
Q. When did he first call you in and talk to you about the work? Didn’t he call you in during the week, sometimes?—A. No, sir. He called me into the office to talk about the work one Saturday night after I went there.
Q. Did you punch the clock?—A. Sometimes I did and sometimes I didn’t.
Q. Didn’t they pay you by the clock?—A. No, they didn’t pay me that way.
Q. Didn’t they pay everybody by the clock?—A. They paid me $1.10 a day.
Q. Don’t you work by the hour?—A. Yes, sir.
Q. How much? A. Eleven cents an hour.
Q. Did you miss any time?—A. Sometimes.
Q. Wouldn’t they dock you when you were not punched right on the clock?—A. Sometimes Mr. Frank would come out and say he didn’t dock me for the time I missed.
Q. Why did he tell you that?—A. I don’t know, sir. He just come out said he hadn’t docked me.
Q. They didn’t ask you how long you had been there?—A. No, they just asked me if I was there.
Q. You say the first time you watched was back there in July? You don’t know the name of the man?—A. Yes, the man was Dalton.
Q. You don’t know the name of the woman, do you?—A. No, but she lives on West Hunter street.
Tell Name of Woman.
Q. Do you know the name of the woman who was with Frank?—A. Yes, her name was Daisy Hopkins. She worked on the fourth floor.
Q. He asked you to watch?—A. Yes.
Q. What time was it?—A. 3 or 3:20.
Q. What did Frank say to you?—A. He called me to his office and said: “You see that young lady going out?” I said: ‘Yes, sir.’ He said: ‘Watch the door, and don’t let anybody but them in.’
Q. Was the woman, Daisy Hopkins, at the office then?—A. Yes.
Q. What did the other woman do? A. She went out and came back later with a man that was Dalton.
Q. What did they do?—A. They went into Mr. Frank’s office.
Q. How long did they stay?—A. About 10 or 15 minutes.
Q. Did they come out?—A. Yes, after a while. The man and the woman came out. Mr. Frank said: “All right, Jim.”
Q. Then the man’s name was James Dalton?—A. No, he was talking to me.
Q. What did they do?—A. They came down and went towards the basement.
Q. What did you do?—A. I went back and opened the trap door for them.
Q. How long did they stay down there?—A. I don’t know.
Q. Frank stayed in his office?—A. Yes.
Q. What time did he leave?—A. About 4:30.
Q. What time did the people downstairs go?—A. I don’t know exactly, but they came up and went to Mr. Frank’s office.
Q. Was the front door locked?—A. No, sir, I was standing there watching it.
Q. Was that the first time this happened?—A. Yes.
Q. When did it happen again?—A. About the last part of July, or the first part of August.
Q. When did Mr. Frank tell you about it?—A. That same Saturday morning.
Q. What did he say?—A. He said, “Well, you know what you did for me last Saturday?” I said: “Yes, sir.” He said: “I want to put you wise to this Saturday.”
Q. What happened after this?—A. After Mr. Holloway left, Miss Daisy Hopkins came in.
Q. Did she see you?—A. Yes, sir.
Q. Did anybody else come that day?—A. No, sir.
Q. How long did she stay up there?—A. About half an hour.
Q. Did he give you any money?—A. Yes, sir; he gave me half a dollar.
Q. When was the next time?—A. I don’t hardly remember; it was near wintertime.
Q. About what time?—A. About the middle of August.
Q. I thought you said it was near winter?—A. Well, that’s near winter.
Q. Middle of August near winter! It’s mighty hot then.—A. Yes, sir; it’s pretty near winter.
Q. What did Frank say?—A. He said: “I’m going to put you wise.”
Q. What’s what he said every time, was it—“I’m going to put you wise?” A. Yes, sir; something like that. But he said what he did in a funny way.
She Had Red Hair.
Q. Who was the woman?—A. I don’t know who she was.
Q. How did she look?—A. She had hair like Mr. Hooper.
Q. How do you know Mr. Hooper so well? He has questioned you a lot, hasn’t he?—A. No, sir; I never saw him but once before.
Q. She was gray-haired, then, was she? You see Mr. Hooper is gray-haired, old and broken with a somewhat weasly appearance—A. I don’t know whether he is gray or not. Her hair was like his.
Q. What color was her dress?—A. It was green.
Q. What kind of clothes did she have on the first time?—A. A white waist and black skirt.
Q. When did you see her last?—A. The morning I was arrested.
Q. What did she have on then?—A. A black skirt with paint spots on it.
Q. You swept the fourth floor?—A. Yes.
Q. Saw that little girl on the fourth floor every day, didn’t you?—A. Not all the time, but often.
Q. That first time he told you not to tell Darley, didn’t he?—A. Yes.
Q. What time was it, Thanksgiving Day?—A. I don’t recall.
Q. Who came down first?—A. Mr. Frank.
Q. What did he do?—A. He went to the front door and opened it and looked out.
Q. What did he do then?—A. He went to the stairway door and let the woman out and walked to the front door with her. As she passed me the lady said, “Is that the negro?” and he said, “Yes, that’s him. He is the best negro in the State.”
Frank Walked to Door With Her.
Q. Did he walk out?—A. No, he just walked to the door with her and came back.
Q. How was she dressed?—A. A blue dotted dress and a gray coat that looked like it was tailored, white shoes and white stockings.
Q. What kind of a hat?—A. A big black hat with big feathers.
Q. Did you see that woman in the office before?—A. I thought I saw her in his office sometime before Thanksgiving.
Q. What did she have on?—A. I don’t know.
Q. What kind of a looking girl was she?—A. A tall, heavy set girl.
Q. Who else was there in the office?—A. Friends of Mr. Frank.
Q. What time was it?—A. About 8 o’clock.
Q. What were you doing there at that time?—A. Stacking some boxes.
Q. Any jewelry?—A. I didn’t notice any.
Q. What was the next time after Thanksgiving?—A. Along after Christmas.
Q. What time?—A. I don’t know exactly.
Q. What is your best guess?—A. It was some time about the first of January.
Q. When did Mr. Frank speak to you about it the first time?—A. I don’t remember.
Q. You don’t remember anything about it except that you watched?—A. Yes, sir; I do remember one thing.
Q. I thought you said you didn’t remember anything?—A. Yes, sir; Mr. Frank told me a man with two women would be there and I might make a piece of change off of the man.
Q. When was that?—A. About 7:30.
Q. I thought you said you didn’t remember? Why didn’t you tell that […]
CONLEY TELLS STIRRING TALE OF EVENTS AT FACTORY
Hearers Sit Spell-Bound at Unfolding of Details of Tragedy
Dalton To Corroborate Conley’s Story On Stand
[…] then?—A. You cut me off so sharp I didn’t have a chance.
Q. What time did they come?—A. Some time about 2:30 or 3 o’clock.
Q. What did he say?—A. He asked me if Mr. Frank had put me wise.
Q. He and Frank used the same expression?—A. Yes, sir.
Q. How were the women dressed?—A. I don’t remember.
Court was then adjourned until 2 o’clock.
Jim Conley was brought to the courtroom at five minutes to 2 o’clock. He was accompanied by W. M. Smith, his lawyer, and Chief of Police James L. Beavers. He spent the noon recess at the police station. He negro went straight to the stand and waited for court to open. Frank, who was in the room, sat with this back turned to the witness stand and talked to his wife. Conley showed no signs of nervousness, and for the greater part of the five minutes he kept his hands locked in his lap and gazed calmly at the curious faces turned his way.
Just as Judge Roan walked to the stand, Deputy Sheriff Plennie Minor announced all women would be excluded from the room for the remainder of the hearing. Reluctantly they vacated the seats they had secured and held during the noon recess.
Fully 150 women were barred by the ruling. Rosser resumed his cross-examination at five minutes after 2 o’clock.
Q. Who saw you at the police station?—A. Chief Beavers.
Q. Anybody else?—A. My lawyer, William Smith.
Q. What did they say?—A. Well, my lawyer—
“I object,” said Attorney Hooper. “You can’t bring out what took place between him and his lawyer.”
Didn’t Remember About Time.
Q. Well, Jim, what did you do on the Saturday before you watched for Mr. Frank the first time?—A. I don’t know.
Q. What did you do the Saturday after that?—A. I don’t know, sir, I disremember.
Q. What about the Saturday after that?—A. Well, long about August 1 I watched again.
Q. Let me see if I get that right—one Saturday you didn’t watch and the next Saturday you did. The next Saturday you didn’t watch, and the next Saturday you did, and then you didn’t watch any more until Thanksgiving?—A. I don’t know exactly. I can’t count it like you.
Q. Well, I got it like you said, didn’t I, Jim?—A. The last time I watched was about the last of September.
Q. Jim, what time was it you watched the second Saturday?—A. I don’t remember, sir.
Q. You don’t know what time you left for home?—A. No, sir.
Q. Jim, we don’t want any controversy between us, but tell all about these times you watched.—A. I done told you like I remember them.
Doesn’t Remember Pay.
Q. When did you draw your pay, before or after Thanksgiving day?—A. I can’t remember.
Q. The day after Thanksgiving day what did you do?—A. I came back to work.
Q. Who did you see?—A. Mr. Frank.
Q. Who else?—A. I can’t recall.
Q. Did you see Mr. Darley?—A. I don’t remember.
Q. That first time you watched, how many hours did you work and what did you get?—A. $1.25.
Q. I mean what did you get for your services?—A. I don’t remember.
Q. Where were you living in July, 1912?—A. 37 B Vine street.
Q. How long did you live there?—A. I don’t know. Part of that time I was in prison.
Q. What time did you go to prison?—A. I can’t remember.
Q. What length of time were you there?—A. Two or three days.
Q. You can’t remember what time you got there and got out?—A. No.
Q. When you got out, your woman had moved?—A. Yes.
Q. Where to?—A. 122 Rhodes street.
Q. Who were you living with?—A. Lorega.
Can’t Remember Prison Terms.
Q. The same one you were living with when you were arrested?—A. Yes.
Q. When were you in prison again?—A. I can’t remember.
Q. Before or after Christmas?—A. I can’t recall.
Q. Was it cold or hot?—A. I can’t recall.
Q. How long were you there?—A. About twenty days.
Q. Were you in prison before that first time you told me off?—A. Right after I went to the pencil company.
Q. How long were you there?—A. About 30 days.
Q. How many times were you in prison since you went to the pencil factory?—A. Three times.
Q. How many times altogether?—A. Four or five times.
Q. You can’t recall the number of times?—A. No.
Q. Was it six—A. Yes, five or six.
Q. Can you remember the first?—A. No.
Q. You can’t remember the first time you were in prison?—A. No.
Q. You can’t remember any time at all?—A. No.
Q. You can’t tell how long you were in at all?—A. No.
Q. First time?—A. No.
Q. Second time?—A. No.
Q. Third time?—A. No.
Thinks It Was Seven Times.
Q. Fourth?—A. No.
Q. Fifth?—A. 1911.
Q. What month?—A. I don’t remember.
Q. Sixth time?—A. It was after that.
Q. Seventh time?—A. After that.
Q. You can’t tell what time?—A. No.
Q. What about the eighth time?—A. I didn’t say I had been arrested eight times. You said that.
Q. But you don’t know whether you have been arrested seven or eight times?—A. I think it was seven.
Q. You have been arrested three times while you have been working at the pencil factory, haven’t you?—A. Yes.
Q. Let’s go back a little—the day you found the child was April 26? You knew the factory was not going to run that day?—A. Yes.
Q. You saw the placards telling that it would be a holiday?—A. Yes.
Q. Did you read them?—A. Mr. Campbell read them to me. So did Snowball.
Drank Beer in Factory.
Q. What was on the placards?—A. I don’t know. He read something about the factory would be closed down on April 26.
Q. You and Snowball were good friends?—A. Yes.
Q. Did you drink beer together?—A. Yes.
Q. Did you ever get drunk in the factory?—A. No.
Q. Did you drink beer there?—A. Yes.
Q. How much would you drink each day?—A. A dime’s worth each day.
Q. Where would you drink it?—A. In the basement.
Q. Did you see Snowball Thanksgiving?—A. No, but I saw him the day before or after.
Q. How long did Snowball work there?—A. I don’t know.
Q. Was he an educated negro?—A. I don’t know.
Q. He could read, couldn’t he?—A. Yes, he used to pick up funny papers and read them to me. He did this once.
Q. That time when you watched him in January, was Snowball there?—A. Yes.
Q. He walked right up and began talking to you both?—A. I don’t know whether Snowball was there.
Six Negroes Worked in Plant.
Q. Couldn’t you see him?—A. Snowball was in the back. There was a partition between him and Mr. Frank.
Q. Well, Mr. Frank wouldn’t have come if he had heard, would he?—A. No, sir, I don’t guess he would.
Q. You worked all the time for two years?—A. Yes, except a few times when I was in jail.
Q. Who worked in your place when you were in jail?—A. I don’t know.
Q. You have no recollection about it?—A. No, sir.
Q. Besides yourself and Snowball, how many other negroes worked there?—A. I don’t know, sir.
Q. Ever count them up?
Conley counted on his fingers and then announced six.
Q. Six with you and Snowball?—A. Yes.
Q. You all did just plain labor, you and Snowball and the fireman? You didn’t run any machines?—A. Yes, sir, except the fireman.
Q. When was the first time Mr. Frank spoke to you?—A. I don’t know.
Q. You were there three or four months before he even spoke to you?—A. [N]o, sir. He had not spoke to me about anything but business for some time.
Q. When was the first time he spoke to you about anything but business?—A. Do you mean about these private things?
Q. Yes, wasn’t that first Saturday the first time he ever spoke to you about anything but business—A. Yes, sir, except laughing and joking.
Q. When did he ever joke with you and what did he say?—A. I don’t know, sir, just when.
Q. Who heard him say anything? Tell me on thing he ever said joking to you?
Recalls One “Little Joke.”
“Your honor,” said Attorney Hooper, “I object to the manner of questioning. He doesn’t give the witness time to answer. I don’t think he intends to be unfair, but the witness just doesn’t have time to answer.”
“If that is the case, it is wrong,” said Judge Roan.
“You ought to know,” returned Rosser. “You have heard all the questions.”
“Don’t ask the questions too fast,” returned the judge, and the case proceeded.
Q. When did he jolly with you the last time?—A. I can’t recall.
Q. Give one little joke you ever heard him crack?—A. I can’t.
Q. Give just one?—A. One day he hollered down the elevator and said, “If you don’t hurry up with that elevator I will start a graveyard down in the basement.”
Q. What else?—A. Well, he would pinch me.
Q. Did Mr. Holloway or Mr. Darley see that?—Mr. Holloway did.
Q. Do you remember what time you went to the factory to work?—A. About two years ago.
Q. Do you remember the year?—A. I think it was 1910.
Q. How do you know?—A. I heard Mr. Schiff say.
Q. How many girls were there?—A. Emma Clark, Miss Hill, Rebecca Carson—I can’t recall how many.
Carried Note for Girl.
Q. What girls were on the fourth floor in 1912?—A. Miss Daisy Hopkins was there.
Q. Was she there in 1913?—A. No, sir.
Q. Do you know where she lived?—A. No.
Q. How did she look?—A. She is low, chunky and pretty.
Q. Was she dark or fair?—A. She was fair.
Q. What kind of ears did she have?—A. Like folks’ ears.
Q. You didn’t expect them to be like a rabbit, did you?—A. No.
Q. How did you know she was there in June?—A. She gave me a note for Mr. Schiff.
Q. How do you know that was in June?—A. It had that on the note.
Q. Did you read it?—A. No.
Q. Then how did you know?—A. He said something about June and laughed.
Q. That is all you know about it?—A. Yes.
Q. You never saw her before that time when she gave you the note?—A. No.
Q. How did you fix the time when she left?—A. Mr. Dalton told me it was about Christmas.
Frank Appears Weary.
Frank appeared very weary during the questioning of Conley. He alternated his intent gaze from Mr. Rosser to the negro witness. His eyelids twitched nervously at intervals. Every now and then he would take a deep breath.
Mrs. Frank, his wife, sat with her left arm around his shoulder. His mother sat close on his left with her eyes closed most of the time. Still she appeared to be listening.
Mr. Rosser kept his seat while cross-questioning the witness. After almost two hours of grilling he still had not reached the story of the crime. He seemed to be waging a blind fight to entangle the negro.
One listening to the constant rapid questioning felt that surely sooner or later the brain of the negro would falter, but Conley kept responding readily, unfalteringly, about every other question with “I don’t know.”
Rosser resumed the questioning about Dalton.
Q. Where did you see him?—A. He was coming out of the basement.
Q. What color was his hair?—A. Black. He weighed about 135; height about like that (the witness indicated Mr. Arnold).
Q. How old was he?—A. About 35.
Q. Where did he live?—A. I don’t know.
Q. How many times did you see him?—A. Several times.
Q. How many times—A. Only several times.
Q. When did you see him the first time?—A. He was coming out of the basement that first time.
Q. When else?—A. That time Daisy Hopkins brought him there.
Q. When else?—A. About Christmas.
Q. Did you see him Christmas?—A. Not on Christmas Day.
Q. When did you see him?—A. Along in January.
Q. When was the last time you saw him?—A. About six months ago.
Q. Where was he?—A. The detectives brought him down to the police station and asked me if I knew him.
Q. How was he dressed the first time you saw him?—A. I don’t know.
Q. You don’t know what color his suit was?—A. No, sir.
Q. How did he look?—A. He looked like a man who had just finished work and had dressed and come up town.
Worked in Holloway’s Place.
Q. That first Saturday you watched was Mr. Darley or Mr. Holloway there?— A. Yes, sir, but they left early.
Q. Now, the next time you watched? A. Mr. Holloway was sick.
Q. Who worked in his place?—A. I did.
Q. How do you know he was sick?—A. They told me he was sick.
Q. Well the next time, was Mr. Holloway sick? That was Thanksgiving, wasn’t it?—A. No, sir, it was before Thanksgiving.
Q. What time was it?—A. Last of August.
Q. Was Mr. Holloway sick then?—A. No, sir.
Q. Was he at the factory that Saturday?—A. Yes, sir he left about 2 o’clock.
Q. Now, the next time was after Thanksgiving?—A. It was in September.
Q. I thought you said it was after Thanksgiving?—A. September is after Thanksgiving.
Q. September is after Thanksgiving?—A. Yes, sir, September is after Thanskgiving.
Shifts Calendar Again.
Q. In September after Thanksgiving was Mr. Darley and Mr. Schiff there?—A. Yes, I saw them, but not in September, because that is before Thanksgiving.
Q. Don’t lots of people work there every Saturday?—A. Yes.
Q. Was anybody working there the time you watched?—A. I don’t remember.
Q. Didn’t Mr. Schiff work there Thanksgiving?—A. I don’t remember. I know he wasn’t in there when Mr. Frank told me he wanted me to work.
Q. Do the metal room doors lock?—A. I don’t know.
Q. You know the factory pretty well, don’t you?—A. Some parts of it.
Q. Did you ever sweep the metal room?—A. No, I never swept anything except the fourth floor.
Q. There is a dark room on the left in the back of the metal room, isn’t there?—A. Yes.
Q. Did you ever see anybody go there?—A. Once in a while.
Q. Do you know where the plating room is?—A. I don’t know anything about that department.
Q. Do you know where Mr. Quinn’s office is—A. Yes.
Visited Long, Dark Room.
Q. But you have never been there?—A. No, I have never been in Mr. Quinn’s office.
Q. You don’t know much about the left part of the building by Mr. Quinn’s office?—A. No, sir.
Q. Were you ever back where the ladies’ toilets were?—A. No, but I have been up to it.
Q. You have never been back there by that long dark room on the left hand side?—A. Yes.
Q. You just told one you never had.—A. No sir, you misunderstood me.
Q. What were you doing down there where they washed lead?—A. I went there to wash overalls for Mr. Becker and Mr. Fritz.
Q. Are they there now.—A. I don’t know.
Q. Outside of the lead room, the ladies’ toilet and Mr. Quinn’s office, have you ever been there?—A. Yes, I went in that long, dark room.
Frank Sent Him There.
Q. Why didn’t you tell me that before?—A. You didn’t give me time.
Q. When were you back there last?—A. To get a piece of cloth for Mr. Frank.
Q. How many other times did you go back there?—A. I don’t recall.
Q. What were you doing there?—A. Mr. Frank sent me there to move some boxes the rats were eating.
Q. Who else ever sent you back there?—A. Mr. Schiff.
Conley here called for a glass of water and Mr. Rosser said “We will rest a little while.”
Q. How big a room is Mr. Frank’s office?—A. I don’t know, sir.
Q. It has got two desks in it, hasn’t it?—A. Yes, sir.
Q. Who uses the other desk?—A. Mr. Herbert Schiff.
Q. When was Mr. Schiff on his vacation, according to your recollection?—A. About Christmas.
Q. You don’t know whether he was traveling for the pencil factory, or was on his vacation, do you?—A. I don’t know, sir, he was away.
Q. How big is the outside office?—A. I don’t know, sir.
Q. What is in it?—A. A safe and a desk.
Q. You don’t know whether the door of that safe when open covered the door to the inside office, do you?—A. No, sir, I don’t.
Q. Can you see Mr. Frank’s inside office from the top of the steps?—A. Yes, sir.
Q. Can you sit in Mr. Frank’s office and see anyone pass up the steps?—A. Yes, sir.
Q. You don’t mean a man can sit in Mr. Frank’s office and see a person come up on the second floor, do you?—No, sir, I was talking about the steps from the second to the third floor.
Shows Where They Talked.
Q. When a person gets down to the clock he can see them?—A. Yes.
Q. Who saw Mr. Frank talk to you that day on the fourth floor?—A. I don’t know.
Q. Who was near you?—A. Miss Willis.
Q. Did she see you?—A. I don’t know.
Q. Show on this diagram where you were standing when Mr. Frank was talking to you.—A. I was standing here (indicating a spot near the aisle). Miss Willis was here near this petition.
Q. Could she see you?—A. I don’t know.
Q. You know whether she saw you or not, don’t you—A. No.
Q. What did Mr. Frank say?—A. He asked me what I was going to do the next day. I told him nothing much and he said he wanted me to do a little work on the third floor.
Q. What time did he tell you to come?—A. About 8:30.
Q. What else did you do?—A. I went on sweeping and left at 5:30.
Didn’t Draw Pay.
Q. Did you punch as you went out?—A. Yes, I think so. I stopped there and talked to Mr. Holloway about the clock being wrong.
Q. Don’t you remember whether you rang out or not?—A. No, sir, I don’t remember.
Q. Why didn’t you stop and get your pay?—A. I knew I wasn’t going to get but $2.75 and that watchman would get me, so I told Snowball to get it for me.
Q. Where did he give it to you?—A. At a shoe shining parlor near there.
Q. How much did you get?—A. $3.75.
Q. I thought you said you were only going to get $2.75?—A. That’s all, but Mr. Frank forgot to take out $1, and that made it $2.75.
Q. Did Mr. Frank make up the payroll that week?—A. I don’t know, but he always took out the money that way.
Q. How do you know that?—A. I don’t know, but that is what I have always understood.
Q. How much did you drink Friday?—A. I didn’t drink nothing.
Q. How many beers did you drink?—A. I disremember.
Q. Do you know Mr. Harry Scott?—A. Yes, sir.
Q. You told Mr. Scott you got down about 9 o’clock that morning?—A. Yes, sir.
Q. That wasn’t so?—A. No, sir, that wasn’t so.
Q. You also told him you had a little before 9 o’clock.—A. Yes, sir.
“It Wasn’t All False.”
Q. What time did you have breakfast?—A. About 7 or 7:30 o’clock.
Q. You told Mr. Scott that you left Peters street about 11 o’clock?—A. I disremember.
Q. Didn’t you swear you were there till 11 o’clock?—A. If it’s there I swore to it, I guess.
Q. You bought a pint of whisky on Peters street, didn’t you?—A. No, sir, a half pint.
Q. Nearly everything you swore to down there was false?—A. No, sir, it wasn’t all false.
Q. You made statements there and swore to three affidavits and they were all false, weren’t they?—A. No, sir, there was some truth in all of them.
Q. What was true?—A. If you will read them to me I’ll tell you what was true and what was false.
At this point the spectators broke into a laugh, and while Deputy Plennie Minor rapped for order Jim Conley smiled broadly, showing all his teeth.
Mr. Hooper interrupted.
“Your honor, I am surprised that my friend should pursue such a line of questioning, knowing that it is illegal.”
“I didn’t think you have the cheek to make the objection,” said Mr. Rosser.
“He is trying to bring out part of these affidavits without bringing out the whole,” said Mr. Hooper. “As the negro suggests, let them bring out the whole document. They asked for them and we furnished them.”
Conley Unusual Witness.
“I know,” cried Rube Arnold, “[t]hat this witness who has been drilled and coached and finally canned is quite familiar with those printed comments. Our friends would like to have us read them to him. But we are not going to do it. What we are trying to show is what he said to parties admitting that it led u to the making of the affidavit. This is an unusual witness and we think we are entitled to get at him in a way a little out of the ordinary.”
Mr. Hooper replied:
“Because Mr. Arnold gets up here and shouts “canned” does not change the law. We demand these proceedings be legal. He can’t bring out parts of these affidavits without bringing out the whole.
Mr. Dorsey then had a word.
“I object to the language of Mr. Arnold,” he said. “He charges the ‘canning’ of this witness’ testimony without proof. That statement is prejudiced and should be stricken.”
“My friend Dorsey has made one of the usual smiling objections,” said Mr. Arnold.
“Well, I am going to present an argument whenever I want to. Whenever he objects I intend to make comment.”
Judge Roan interrupted:
“What is the question asked the witness?”
“I’ll ask it,” said Mr. Rosser.
He changed the form of his question and proceeded without interruption.
Q. You were undertaking to tell me your conversation with Scott and Black on May 18.—A. I don’t remember what day it was.
Q. How long did they talk to you?—A. I don’t remember. I sent for Mr. Black to come down to my cell.
Q. That wasn’t that day?—A. I don’t recall.
Q. The first time you made any statements about your movements, Scott and Black were together?—A. Yes.
Q. Was that the time you sent for Black.—A. I think so.
Q. Will you swear that the time you made this statement about your movement was on that Saturday you sent for Black?—A. No, I won’t swear it, but I think so.
Bought Some Whiskey.
Q. How long did they talk to you before you gave them the statement?—A. I don’t know.
Q. Didn’t they have to work on you a long time before you made any statement?—A. Yes.
Q. Didn’t they have to force from you the fact that you could write that time you made the affidavit?—A. No, I wrote in the chief’s office Sunday before that.
Q. Didn’t you tell the detectives you bought a pint of whiskey?—A. No, only half pint.
Q. What did you pay for that?—A. Forty-five cents.
Q. How did you remember that?—A. It was what I always paid for it.
Q. Didn’t you tell the detectives—
Mr. Hooper jumped to his feet with an objection.
“The State has no objection to all this evidence going before the jury, but we do insist that it be done in the prescribed legal way. This is intended for nothing but impeachment, and the code says the witness has the right to be confronted with a written statement. Let me ask my friend Rosser what document he is reading from.”
Rosser replied hotly:
“I do not intend to tell you or the witness either.”
Judge Roan said: “I think you gentlemen can cross-question the witness on any subject.”
Rosser replied: “I am going after him and I am going to jump on him with both feet.”
Then, turning to Mr. Hooper, continued: “And I won’t enlighten him any, either. Your period of enlightenment is over.”
Rosser then turned to the witness:
Q. Did you tell Mr. Scott that you went to a saloon on Peters street just after 11 o’clock and got some whisky?—A. I didn’t tell him at 11 o’clock; I told him I went to get a drink.
Q. You didn’t say after 11 o’clock?—A. No.
Q. When you were talking to Scott and Black, didn’t you tell the truth?—A. I told him some things and held some things back.
Q. Didn’t you tell him lies?—A. No. I didn’t answer some of the questions and they kept on writing.
Q. When they asked you if you were telling the truth you didn’t answer?—A. No, sir; I hung my head and they kept on writing.
Q. You told them you went into saloons, didn’t you, and got some whiskey?—A. No, sir, I said I got whiskey at one saloon. It was Mr. Early’s saloon.
Says He Played Dice.
Q. Didn’t you tell them that you got whiskey in the Butt saloon?—A. No sir, I didn’t say nothing about buying any whiskey there. I told them about going into this saloon and winning 90 cents playing dice, and then buying some beer.
Q. Didn’t you tell them that first time about buying some wine?—A. No sir, I will explain that.
Q. You needn’t tell us that. Didn’t you say you went home from Peters street?—A. No sir, I didn’t say that exactly.
Q. Didn’t you tell them that you went between 3:30 and 4 o’clock and bought beer?—A. I didn’t go between 3:30 and 4. If I told them that, it wasn’t so.
Q. Did you sent a little girl out for something after you got home?—A. Yes, I sent her out for a pound of sausage.
Q. That was after 3 o’clock?—A. It was after I bought the beer and had come back.
Q. Was that after 3 o’clock?—A. If they have that on that paper I must have said it, but I don’t remember now.
Q. You don’t remember telling them that?—A. No, sir.
Q. What did you tell them about the money you had?—A. I don’t remember what I told them.
Q. Why can’t you remember that?—A. I just haven’t got it in my mind.
Q. In your first statement you denied going to the factory at all?—A. Yes.
Admits He Told Lie.
Q. You say now that it was an untruth?—A. Yes.
Q. Did you hang your head when you told them that?—A. Yes.
Q. Why do you hang your head? Just to let the man who you were talking with know you were telling a lie?—A. Yes.
Q. Which one of the detectives told you to look him in the face?—A. Nobody told me to.
Q. How do you do when you are telling an untruth?—A. I don’t know exactly. Sometimes when I am holding back things I look down and play with my hands.
Q. How did the detectives treat you when they were talking with you? One would cuss you and the other one would tell you you were a good negro?—A. No sir, they have never cussed me.
Q. Didn’t they accuse you of things?—A. No sir, only they said they wanted me to tell the truth. They just kept telling me that.
Says He Didn’t Curse Him.
Q. Didn’t Black say you were a good negro, and Scott curse you out and say you were a rascal?—A. No, sir. They sat there and talked murder sometimes, and then they would whisper to each other.
Q. You don’t mean you sat up and spieled away for three or four hours at a time?—A. No, sir.
Q. Well, what did they do to you?—They were just trying to get me to tell all of the truth at one time.
Q. Didn’t they put another negro in the same cell with you and try to get you to tell everything?—A. They put another negro in my cell for a day and a night.
Q. You told him the detectives were mad with you, didn’t you?—A. No, sir.
Q. What did you say to him?—A. I didn’t discus[s] the case with him. He was crying all the time.
Q. Now this second statement you made. You sent for Black and told him you wanted to tell the truth, didn’t you?—A. No, sir; I will explain.
Allowed to Explain.
Q. I don’t want you to explain; answer my question.
“He has a right to explain,” said Dorsey.
“He can,” said Judge Roan.
A. I said sitting down there feeling bad because I couldn’t get out.
“He has no right to go into that,” said Rosser.
The negro turned to the jury and began a round about explanation.
“Here,” said Judge Roan, “answer the question.”
A. I told Mr. Black I wanted to tell him a part of the truth.
Q. You told Black you didn’t intend to tell all of the truth?—A. Yes, sir, them very words.
Q. Let’s see, what you did tell him.
(Rosser referred to his notes.)
“I Got a Poor Memory.”
“You have got it?” asked Dorsey.
“Yes, and we will show it,” replied Rosser.
“Do it, and don’t talk about it,” returned Dorsey.
“I don’t blame you for snickering,” said Rosser. “The man who got all this stuff ought to snicker, too.”
Q. Didn’t you tell the detective you couldn’t write?—A. I told him I could write a little.
Q. What else did you tell him?—A. I disremember.
Q. Is that the little truth you were going to tell them?—A. I told them some more, but I disremember.
Q. What is the matter with your memory, Jim?—A. I got a poor memory.
Q. You can remember a few things, but you can’t remember most things?—A. Some things I can remember and some I can’t.
Q. You know what you wrote for the detectives?—A. Yes sir.
Q. I thought you said this morning you didn’t remember?—A. You reading that thing there just reminded me.
Q. What was it?—A. That long tall black negro did it by hisself.
Q. What did you write on the other note?—A. Yes sir, that’s what I wrote.
Q. And you said this morning you didn’t remember—A. Yes sir, I didn’t remember.
Dorsey Objects Again.
Q. And now you say you do?—A. Yes sir, I remember just what wrote for the detectives.
Q. Did you tell Black in that second statement that you carried the body downstairs?—A. I don’t think so.
Q. Don’t you know that you told Black you carried that body downstairs?—A. Yes sir, I remember telling him that.
Q. Don’t you know you did?—A. No sir I don’t know it, but I think I remember it.
“Your honor,” interrupted Dorsey, “doesn’t the court know what is going on before it? Here is Mr. Rosser reading the exact text of these affidavits. I want to ask the witness a question to show these statements were written.”
“I object,” said Rosser.
“The defense served us with a deces tecum to have these affidavits in court,” continued Dorsey. “It is illegal for them to impeach this witness by extracts from these affidavits without introducing the whole affidavits.”
“This witness has sworn,” replied Judge Roan, “that he can’t write. I ruled that they can ask him any questions about what he said, so long as the affidavits are not introduced as affidavits.”
“Let me cite you an authority,” said Dorsey.
The Solicitor started to read, but Judge Roan looked away. Solicitor Dorsey slammed the book closed and sat down.
“That is right,” said Rosser, rising to resume his questioning.
“The judge is making the rulings, and not you,” said Hooper.
“I thank you,” said Rosser, “you are a smart man.”
Still He “Don’t Remember.”
Rosser then put the question again.
Q. In that affidavit when you sent for Black you gave Frank clean away, did you?—A. Well, I don’t know about that. I disremember.
Q. Well, don’t you know that you didn’t say a word about that little girl at that time?—A. I thought I did.
Q. You think you told it at that tihe [sic]?—A. Yes, I don’t know exactly about that.
Q. Now, are you sure about that? I want you to tell me whether you are telling the truth about that now or not. Just make your sign for telling the truth, Jim, so I will know you are telling it. Now, didn’t you tell at that time that you were going to tell the truth about all things? About going to the basement and all of that?—A. I don’t remember.
Q. Now, Jim, where is your memory?—A. In my head, I suppose.
Q. Well, then, what were you going to tell them?—A. I was going to hold the best back.
Q. Oh, yes, you were not going to tell everything?—A. Yes, sir.
At this point the jury was sent from the room and Mr. Arnold made a motion that the negro Conley be turned over the sheriff and kept from everything. The prosecution agreed.
“We want to stress the fact that no one be allowed to see him,” said Dorsey.
“You have had him all the time,” said Rosser, “but we agree.”
Conley’s Attorney Speaks.
William M. Smith, attorney for the negro, then made a statement to the court:
“This negro is going through a severe ordeal,” Smith said.
“We object to that,” said Arnold. “This man has no connection with this case.”
“This man is my client, and I just want to say that he should have a little extra than the prison fare to revive him. Don’t the Sheriff allow Frank better than the regular prison fare?”
“Send it down and he will get it,” interrupted Rosser.
“All right,” replied Smith, “I will send it down. I also think he should have a special guard at the jail.”
Dorsey and Hooper both smiled.
Court then adjourned until 9 o’clock Tuesday morning.
* * *
The Atlanta Georgian, August 4th 1913, “Conley’s Story in Detail; Women Barred by Judge,” Leo Frank trial newspaper article series (Original PDF)