Defense May Call for Character Witnesses Today

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

Atlanta Constitution
August 8th, 1913


Declares He Used Basement for Immoral Purposes at Same Time That Frank Was in Building, But Did Not Attempt to Say What the Superintendent’s Relations With Women Were—Declares Conley Acted as Lookout for Him.


Harry Scott Is Also Put on Stand by Defense to Prove That Conley Lied on Many Occasions—Detective Was on the Stand When Court Adjourned for Day—Cross-Examination Fails to Shake Dr. Harris.

Shortly after Dr. H. F. Harris had completed his testimony for the state and was cross-examined in detail by Reuben Arnold, the state rested its case against Leo M. Frank.

Solicitor Dorsey had called for Frank’s bank book to show that he had in his possession approximately $200—the sum Jim Conley says he gave him and then took back—but the book was not produced, and the state rested. Later the solicitor may introduce other witnesses, but not until after the defense has closed.

Interest just now centers on the possibility of the defense introducing character witnesses, in which event the state is prepared to call several witnesses in rebuttal who otherwise could not be heard. When the trial was first called, the defense had read a long list of witnesses who have known Frank for years, and who will swear to his general good character. If these witnesses are called, the trial will be drawn out for at least two weeks.

Dalton Tells of Visits.

C. B. Dalton was the first witness called by the state Thursday morning. Dalton made a remarkably frank witness. He told of several visits he had made to the pencil factory with a Miss Daisy Hopkins and other women, and of his using the basement of the factory for immoral purposes during the time Frank was in the building with women. He did not attempt to say what the relations of Frank were with these women. He said Conley was present in the capacity of a “lookout,” and that he had paid him to act as such. Dalton gave the names and addresses of the women who had visited the pencil factory with him.

Dr. Harris On Stand.

Dr. H. F. Harris was late in arriving at the courtroom and a recess was taken until he came. Dr. Harris took up the thread of his testimony where he left off last week and reiterated his belief that Mary Phagan had been killed within three quarters of an hour after she had eaten cabbage and bread. He also took up the condition of her organs, and said there must have been violence of some kind. He described the microscopic examination of the tissues he had made as bearing out this contention.

Reuben Arnold cross-examined Dr. Harris for over an hour in an effort to discredit his assertions and to show that death could have come at a later period. Dr. Harris was firm in his first position and the cross-examination did not shake him.

Childs Testifies For Defense.

Dr. Leroy W. Childs was placed on the stand by the defense to disprove the contentions of Dr. Harris. He stated that cabbage was one of the most indigestible of foods and might remain in the stomach for four and one-half hours without being digested.

Dr. Childs had made no examination of the dead girl, and the questions put to him by Mr. Arnold were hypothetical.

He was of the opinion that the condition of the dead girl’s organs could have been produced by the digital examination of the parts made by Dr. Hurt and that violence need not have been the case.

On cross-examination by Mr. Dorsey, Dr. Childs admitted that he was not a laboratory expert, and that he could not give expert testimony as to the existence of hydrochloric acid in the stomach under certain conditions. The best he could do was to give an opinion.

Scott On Conley’s Confession.

Harry Scott of the Pinkertons, who worked a large amount of the evidence in the case, was placed on the stand by the defense to help disprove many of the statements of the negro Conley. He testified that he had found out Conley could write on May 8. He said he had been unable to get any information from Conley about Mary Phagan’s silver mesh bag.

Scott proved of value to the defense in showing that Conley had lied on numerous occasions. He was on the stand when court adjourned for the day.

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Atlanta Constitution, August 8th 1913, “Defense May Call for Character Witnesses Today,” Leo Frank case newspaper article series (Original PDF)