Coroner Donehoo Points Out the Law to the Jurors

Coroner Donehoo Points Out the Law

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

Atlanta Journal

Friday, May 9th, 1913

The coroner’s charge to the jury was in part as follows: “You have heard the statement of the county physician. You have seen what caused death. You have seen the body and have heard the evidence in the case.

“It is your duty to inquire diligently as to how Mary Phagan came to her death. That was your oath. In case of unnatural death, you were to determine at whose hands death came.

“You have heard the county physician say strangulation caused death. In determining who is guilty of the murder you turn to the evidence, and if you find that any other party is implicated or is attempting to shield the murderer, he is guilty in the same degree.

“Your position in this matter is similar to that of a commitment court, not a trial court.

“If there is a reasonable suspicion in your mind directed against any person or persons in connection with this crime, it is your duty to hold them. You can also hold witnesses who are essential in trying this case. If you think anybody not actually connected with the case has important information bearing upon it, you can hold them.

“If you believe any one is concealing information, it is your duty to commit that person as an accessory of the crime.”

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Atlanta Journal, May 9th 1913, “Coroner Donehoo Points Out the Law to the Jurors,” Leo Frank case newspaper article series (Original PDF)