Coroner’s Jury Visits Scene of Murder and Adjourns Without Rendering Verdict

by Archivist on April 28, 2016

Coroner's Jury Visits Scene of Murder And Adjourns

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

Atlanta Journal

Monday April 28th, 1913

Will Meet Again Wednesday Morning When Witnesses Will Be Examined—Five Hundred People Present When Inquest Was Begun

For an hour Monday morning a jury empaneled by Coroner Paul Donahue [sic] groped through dark basement passageways and first floor rooms in the factory of the National Pencil company hunting for evidence that would aid them in reaching a verdict as to who murdered pretty Mary Phagan. At the end of their hunt the body adjourned. They will meet again Wednesday morning at 9 o’clock to continue their investigation.

Many witnesses who can throw a light on the actual crime, the actions of the dead girl or of the suspects under arrest will be examined then. It is probable, also, that the prisoners now held in jail also will testify.

The jury met at P. J. Bloomfield’s undertaking chapel, 84 South Pryor street, shortly after 10 o’clock. It was composed of these: J. C. Hood, Clarence Langford, Glenn Dewberry, Homer C. Ashford, John Miller and C. Y. Sheets. Mr. Ashford was foreman.

The first official act of the jury was to view the remains of the 14-year-old girl. Behind closed doors the coroner’s talesmen inspected the fatal wounds and bruises on the girl’s body.

No witnesses were called. One or two who had been told by the police to be present when excused and told to report again Wednesday morning. They and many others probably will be heard at that time.

A throng of 500 persons had gathered at the undertaking parlors to hear the inquest. They were excluded by the police and when the jury, headed by Coroner Donahue [sic], finally left the funeral parlors for the scene of the murder, the investigators had to elbow and shoulder their way across a crowdbanked sidewalk.

Every inch of ground, every thing that has been mentioned in connection with the case were examined by the jurors in the pencil factory.

They were accompanied by three or four policemen on their tour, and the many details of the mystery given them to unravel, if possible. Once in their investigation a lantern was placed on the spot on the basement floor where Newt Lee, negro night watchman, says another lantern was sitting when he discovered the body. Apparently there was doubt in the minds of some of the jurors as to whether or not it would be possible for one standing where the negro said he stood to see a body. What the consensus of opinion among the investigators was is not known, however.

Shovels, tools, pieces of wood and other objects lying in the basement were examined for evidence that there had been possible weapons in the attack upon the girl. The search along this line was fruitless.

The jury viewed the machine room in the second story, upon the floor of which blood stains were found Monday morning. They saw the lathe to which a few strands of hair were found clinging by a workman. They visited the lavatory and several other rooms in the building. At the conclusion of the search no juror expressed an opinion. They will reserve their judgment until the conclusion of the inquest. This probably will be on Wednesday.

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Atlanta Journal, April 28th 1913, “Coroner’s Jury Visits Scene of Murder and Adjourns Without Rendering Verdict,” Leo Frank case newspaper article series (Original PDF)

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