Defense Plans Sensation, Line of Queries Indicates

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

Atlanta Georgian
July 30th, 1913

That a sensation is be sprung by the defense by the production of the mysteriously missing ribbon and flowers from the hat of the murdered girl was repeatedly indicated by Attorney Rosser’s line of questioning Tuesday and the afternoon before.

Beginning with Mrs. J. W. Coleman, mother of Mary Phagan, the attorney for Frank interrogated every witness who saw the girl alive or dead that day in regard to the ribbon and flowers.

Mrs. Coleman said that the ribbon and flowers were on the hat when Mary left home. Newt Lee said that he had seen no sign of the missing trimmings. The testimony of Sergeant L. S. Dobbs was the same. Detective Starnes, when he was turned over the cross-examination, made the same admission.

It is believed that Rosser will produce the ribbon and will attempt to establish that it was found in a place throwing suspicion upon the negro Conley.

Frank was brought to the courthouse at about 8 o’clock Wednesday morning. There was no change in his demeanor or physical appearance. If the trial has been any strain upon him he does not display the effects. He was dressed in the dark mohair suit he wore Tuesday. He greeted his friends cheerily and spoke confidently of acquittal.

The jurors, sleeping in three rooms at the Kimball House, spent a restless night. They appeared rather fagged when they were brought into the courtroom at 9 o’clock.

First Witnesses Unimportant.

Attorneys for the State have announced that the witnesses called Monday and Tuesday were only for the purpose of starting the presentation of evidence against Leo Frank right from the opening incidents of the day that the murder was committed, and that they were important only in so far as they assisted in making a continuous chain of evidence, and as they made here and there statements which might be interpreted as damaging to the accused.

Working on the foundation laid by Tuesday’s testimony, Solicitor Dorsey was understood to be prepared Wednesday and Thursday to introduce witnesses who would swear that the red stains found in two places on the second floor were splotches of blood and not aniline or any other coloring stain; also that the bloody fingerprints on the rear door of the basement were the finger-prints of Leo M. Frank.

City Detective J. N. Starnes just before he left the stand Tuesday night identified pieces of wood as pieces he had chipped from the rear door of the factory. There were finger-prints easily distinguishable upon the employ of Solicitor Dorsey for some time during the investigation of the murder mystery and was named among the State’s witnesses.

The red-stained chips from the factory floor were sent to Dr. Claude E. Smith, city bacteriologist, for analysis. Dr. Smith also is one of the State’s witnesses and was expected to be called Wednesday or during Thursday’s forenoon session.

Writing Pad Evidence?

Starnes was on the stand practically all of Tuesday afternoon. While the direct examination was in progress the detective told of his part in scouring the pencil factory for evidence.

One of his statements on which the State is relying to establish that Frank acted and talked in an incriminating manner the morning the body was found consisted in his testimony in regard to a telephone conversation which he said he had with the factory superintendent that morning.

Starnes, under the examination of Dorsey, said that he had been very guarded when he called up Frank that morning and had merely said that he desired Frank’s presence at the factory. He denied that he had mentioned the fact that a girl had been killed.

Claim Frank Knew.

It is the purpose of the State to seek to establish that Frank, without being told of what had happened, had made remarks to the officers when they came for him which indicated he was not unaware that a girl had been murdered in his factory.

The main points of Starnes’ testimony were:

That he had discovered stains resembling blood in two places on the second floor of the factory.

That Frank acted nervous when brought to the factory.

That Frank made a strange remark to Foreman M. B. Darley that he “had more than one suit of clothes,” referring to the fact that he had on a different suit than the one he wore the day before.

That Lee appeared composed when questioned Sunday by the detectives.

That he witnessed the new night watchman in the pencil factory make a complete punch of the time clock covering a period of twelve hours in five minutes.

Under Rosser’s cross-examination Starnes admitted that it was practically impossible for him to remember the exact words he used in certain parts of his testimony at the Coroner’s inquest. This admission was obtained by Rosser to show that Starnes’ memory in respect to the telephone conversation with Frank could not be regarded as any more reliable. Rosser brought out that Starnes failed to mention at the Coroner’s inquest either the matter of the telephone conversation or of the alleged conversation he held with Frank the morning of the murder.