Defense Wins Point After Fierce Lawyers’ Clash

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

Atlanta Georgian
July 29th, 1913


Here are Tuesday’s important developments in the trial of Leo M. Frank on the charge of murdering Mary Phagan in the National Pencil Factory, Saturday, April 26.

Newt Lee, negro night watchman at the pencil factory, leaves the stand after four hours and forty minutes of examination and cross-examination with the essential points of his story unshaken.

Efforts to discredit the negro’s story result only in showing several discrepancies in the story he told before the Coroner’s jury and his testimony on the stand at the trial.

All attempts to confuse Lee by telling him that the stenographer’s report of the inquest has him making slightly different statements met invariably with his declaration that “they didn’t get it right down there.”

L. S. Dobbs, police sergeant, testifies to the finding of the body of the Phagan girl and says that Lee had a ready interpretation of the two notes when they were found by the dead body.

City Detective Starnes testifies to finding bloodstains on second floor and says Frank was nervous the day after the crime. He says he found what he took to be fingerprints of blood on a door in the basement.

Starnes is closely cross-questioned by the defense in an effort to show the spots he thought blood might have been aniline dye. In a lawyers’ clash over certain questions Solicitor Dorsey is told to “sit down” by the judge.

City Detective J. M. Starnes told late Tuesday afternoon at the trial of Leo Frank of the finding of a number of red splotches resembling blood in the northeast corner of the women’s dressing room in the National Pencil Factory, testimony on which the prosecution relies to support its theory that Mary Phagan was murdered on the second floor of the building.

Starnes said that the principal part of the largest splotch was about as big as the palm of his hand.

He also testified that he found blood about 40 or 50 feet from the dressing room toward the front of the building, and that he discovered what he took to be finger-prints of blood on the door of the basement. The fingerprints, he said, he chipped off and now has the chips of wood in his office.

Starnes asserted that there were indications that a white substance had been used with the evident purpose of eradicating what appeared to be bloodstains. The detective described Frank as nervous when he was brought down to the factory the morning after the crime.

Tells of Clock Tests.

He said in reply to Solicitor Dorsey’s questions that he had witnessed the new night watchman make a complete series of punches in the time clock for an entire twelve hours within a space of five minutes, in an effort to support the theory the State is expected to advance that Frank doctored the time tape submitted to the police department which seemed to show that the neight [sic] watchman, Lee, had made three skips.

Attorneys Go After Lee.

Newt Lee, night watchman at the National Pencil Factory, was harassed and assailed by counsel for Frank in a vain effort to win from him admissions a[i]ding the theory that he was otherwise involved in the crime than as the man who found the body. Lee was on the stand from 9 o’clock to 11:40 a. m.

However, through Lee and Sergeant L. S. Dobbs, one of the officers called to the factory the morning of Sunday, April 27, the attorneys for Frank laid the groundwork for the elaboration of their theory that Jim Conley was the murderer of Mary Phagan and that Lee assisted in writing the notes that were found by her body.

From Sergeant Dobbs, Luther Rosser, chief of counsel for Frank, obtained these admissions:

Points in Dobbs’ Story.

That Lee, ignorant and illiterate, was able to decipher and explain in a flash the mysterious notes over which the officers had puzzled for several minutes.

That Lee spoke up and said, referring to the words “night witch” in one of the notes: “That’s me, boss; that means the night watchman.”

That the condition of Mary Phagan’s begrimed and bruised face gave the indication that the girl had been dragged along the dirt floor of the factory basement, although Jim Conley, in his story of his part in the crime, declared that he had carried the body to the trash heap in the rear of the basement.

That Dobbs, with the aid of an electric flashlight, was unable to tell whether the slain girl was white or colored until he had pulled down her stocking, although Lee had testified to being able to tell that the girl was white by the dim rays from his smoky lantern while he was standing at a distance of five or six feet.

Lee’s Story at Variance.

That Dobbs at the Coroner’s inquest testified that he had had a Mr. Williams lie down in the place where Mary Phagan’s body was found and, taking the position Lee said he was in when he first saw the body, discovered that, as a matter of fact, the body could hardly be seen from this point unless one was looking especially for it.

Lee testified, under the cross-examination of Attorney Rosser:

That the time he found the body was the first time he had gone farther than 25 feet from the ladder in the front of the basement that night.

That he knew it was a white woman, although he did not approach nearer the body than five or six feet, and had no light except the dirty lantern.

That he recalled that the officers, with a flashlight, were unable to identify it as white or colored for some time.

That he did not say, “That’s me, boss,” referring to one of the notes, but something to the effect that “They are trying to put this on me.”

After a short battle of words, between Rosser and Solicitor Dorsey, Reuben R. Arnold, associated with Rosser, asked for the first time during the day to be heard, and plainly […]


[…] indicated that it was the intention to prove that Newt Lee was concerned in the writing of the two mysterious notes found by the mutilated body of Mary Phagan.

Jurors Sent From Room.

The Solicitor objected strongly to arguing before the jury the admissibility of this testimony of Lee’s, and the jurors were excused while Arnold outlined the purpose of the defense.

“We expect to show that two notes were found by the body of Mary Phagan,” said Arnold.

Solicitor Dorsey had just given Mr. Arnold the two notes found in the basement and Judge Roan ordered the jury to retire. Mr. Arnold said:

“The defense expects to show that the two notes found in the basement of the National Pencil Factory were very obscure notes and the police were trying to read them in the presence of Lee.

“They read this one: ‘He said he would love me, laid down, played like the night-witch did it, but that long tall black negro did it by his-self.”

Lee’s Explanation.

[Several words illegible] Lee said, “That night-witch means me,” said Arnold. “It showed familiarity with the notes. This negro who is so dull that Mr. Rosser has to repeat his questions now and again interpreted thi [sic] mysterious note in a second and half.”

Here Dorsey interrupted.

“Since Attorney Arnold has the note itself, there is no reason to ask what somebody else said about it.”

Assistant Prosecutor Hooper here joined in:

“Unless it was intended to try to connect Lee with the crime, what someone else said about the notes to Lee is wholly inadmissible. The charge must be made against him.”

“We don’t have to photograph a criminal. We have got to begin somewhere,” retorted Rosser.

Judge Roan sustained the defense, saying that it might produce evidence to show anxiety on the part of the negro, or a lucid interpretation of the notes.

Suspicion on Lee,” Says Rosser.

“We expect to show that the notes were obscure and doubtful in meaning. We expect to show that the officers were endeavoring to read them. But [several words illegible] meaning. In one of them we will show that the wording was something like this, so far as I can decipher it: ‘He said he would love me, laid down, played like the night-witch did it but that long, tall, black negro did it by his-self.’

“We want to show,” continued Arnold, “that Lee spoke up and said, ‘That’s me, boss. That means night watchman.’

“Isn’t it strange that a negro so ignorant and dull that Mr. Rosser had to ask him a question ten times over could in a flash interpret this illegible scrawl?”

Rosser supplemented Arnold’s argument by remarking that he regarded Lee’s alleged remarks as highly suspicious, and that he considered he had the right to question a witness with a view of showing that a person or persons other than the defendant had a part in the crime.

Judge Roan ruled with the defense, and the jury was returned. The judge declared:

“The attorneys for Frank are privileged to bring out evidence showing anxiety or fear on the part of the negro.”

Lee Makes Denial.

Lee denied when questioned that he had said, “That’s me, Boss; that means night watchman.” He testified that he told the officers that someone was trying to put the crime on him.

Sergeant L. H. Dobbs, one of the officers who visited the factory after Lee called the police station, testified before the Coroner’s jury in regard to Lee’s ready explanation of the notes.

Rosser ended his cross-examination [several words illegible] the negro had been on the grill two hours Monday afternoon and nearly as long Tuesday.

The efforts to discredit Lee’s story began the moment Rosser got him on the stand. He sought first to show that it was a very peculiar circumstance that Lee went clear to the rear of the factory basement, where he found the girl’s body, when all through the earlier part of the night he had gone only a short distance from the foot of the ladder in the front of the basement.

Calls Lee’s Excuse Flimsy.

“Every time you went down into the basement you went only about 25 feet from the ladder to see if there was fire in the dust pan,” said Rosser, repeating Lee’s testimony, “and yet at this time, when you say you found the girl’s body, you assert that it was necessary to go clear to the rear to ascertain the same fact?”

Lee replied that he had gone to the rear of the basement for another purpose and Rosser attempted to show that this was only a flimsy excuse.

By his line of questioning Rosser endeavored to ridicule the idea that Lee could have identified Mary Phagan as a white girl by the dim light of his dirty lantern when, as he testified, he got no nearer than five or six feet to the body, and when the officers with electric searchlights were not able to determine whether the girl was white or a negro because of the grime and cinders on her body, until they had pulled down her stocking.

Session Full of Clashes.

The session was full of spirited [several words illegible] It was a favorable forenoon for the defense, Rosser almost invariably being permitted to continue the line of questioning which he was pursuing.

Rosser, while he succeeded in showing up discrepancies in Lee’s present story with that before the Coroner’s jury, was unable to force the negro to any admissions incriminating in themselves.

Dorsey questioned Lee in redirect examination and Rosser in recross-examination and Rosser in recross-examination. Lee left the stand at 11:40 o’clock, after a total of four hours and forty minutes’ grilling.

Sergeant L. S. Dobbs followed Lee on the stand. He told the story of finding the body and identified the Phagan girl’s clothes and the cord that was used to strangle her.

Frank, his face a mask, was brought into the courtroom just before the court was called to order by Deputy Sheriff Plennie Miner.

After taking a cool survey of the courtroom, the factory superintendent conversed a moment with is counsel and then centered his attention on the night watchman. Frank took no notes of the negro’s testimony, but he evidently was making a mental record of every word of it.

What he thought of the negro’s statements could not be guessed from his features. Whether the negro was giving testimony which might be construed as favorable or as most damaging, there was not the shade of a change in the expression of the young factory superintendent.

He only took his eyes from the witness to speak a word to his wife or to answer an occasional question [several words illegible] sel. He was brought to the courthouse from the Tower at 7:45 by Sheriff Mangum and Deputy Sheriff Miner. He was dressed in a blue mohair suit with a striped effect, and wore a fancy gray tie.

Eats Light Breakfast.

His breakfast was brought to him at the courthouse by a relative, and consisted only of two slices of toast and a bottle of milk.

“I am well pleased with the progress of the trial to this point, he said in his conversation with Essenbach. “Nothing has been developed which has not already been well known to the public and attorneys and which will be explained in the light of the defense’s case.

“I am feeling well and confident. Nothing has taken place to disturb me in the least. I hope that the trial will move as rapidly toward its conclusion as the first day’s session gave promise. I have nothing to conceal and nothing to fear.”

Grilling of Lee Resumed.

The cross-examination of Lee was resumed as soon as court opened.

Q. How far were you from the body when you first saw it?—A. About ten feet.

Q. Could you see to either side?—A. No. I stood up, picked up lantern and went toward the dust pan.

Q. Why didn’t you go to the pan earlier in the night?—A. I just happened to take a notion to go this time.

Q. When you were in closet, which way did you look?—A. Toward the wail.

Q. What do you call the right?—A. This (indicating right hand).

Q. Well, the dust plan was on your right, wasn’t it?—A. Not exactly.

[Several words illegible] had to walk quite a distance to see whether there was any fire in the dust pan, didn’t you?—A. Yes, sir.

Q. How far did you walk?—A. A little piece below the light.

Q. Tell me exactly how far it was?—A. About as far as that man there. (About 25 feet.)

Q. You only went to the dustpan once that night?—A. Mr. Frank told me not to go near it with the lantern.

Shows How He Held Light.

Q. How close did you go to the body?—A. That wall there.

Q. How far is that?—A. About six feet.

Q. How did you hold the lantern to see it?—A. Like this. (Holding hand over head.)

Q. What did you see first?—A. The feet.

Q. How far was the body from the closet?—A. I don’t know.

Q. Was it two feet, ten feet or twenty feet?—A. I don’t know.

Q. Was it fifty feet, forty feet or thirty feet?—A. Somewhere about thirty feet, maybe not that much.

Q. How long did you look at the body?—A. I looked to see whether it was a natural body.

Q. You didn’t linger?

At this question Lee arose and pointed his finger at Rosser. “Just as soon as I saw what it was I want to tell you I lit a rag.”

Saw It Was White Girl.

Q. You saw it was a white woman?—A. There were one or two white spots on the face and her hair was frizzled.

Q. How long did it take the police to find she was a white girl?—A. I don’t know; they arrested me.

Q. What did they say?—A. One of them said this girl has been dead three or four days.

Q. When you came up did you go [several words illegible] remember.

Q. Did you notice whether the door […]


[…] was open when you went back?—A. No, sir.

Q. Did you tell the police it was a white girl or white woman?—A. I think I told them it was a white woman.

Q. She was lying on her back, with her face up?—A. Yes, sir; she was lying on her side with her face up, with blood on her head.

Q. Which side was the blood on?—A. It was on the right side. It was dry.

Q. Are you sure it was the right side?—A. No, sir; her left side was turned up to me.

Grill Grows More Severe.

Q. You swear she was on her back?—A. Yes, sir; her face was turned up kind of to one side.

Q. When you sent up to the office the first time, did Mr. Frank close his office door?—A. I don’t know. I couldn’t see his office.

Q. I mean the outside door?—A. It was open.

Mr. Rosser then read Lee’s testimony about the time slip before the Coroner’s jury.

Q. You helped him put the page in, didn’t you, Newt? This is right, isn’t it?—A. Read that again.

Mr. Rosser read it.

A. No, sir; you got me wrong. He didn’t come out of his office.

Q. You said yesterday that Mr. Frank jumped back when he met Mr. Gantt?—A. Yes, sir.

Dorsey Objects to Methods.

Mr. Rosser read Lee’s testimony before the Coroner’s jury, which said nothing about Frank jumping back.

Lee—“Well, they got that wrong.”

Q. That was a bad stenographer down there, wasn’t he?

Solicitor Dorsey here objected to this method of questioning the witness. He declared the negro should first be questioned and then an effort to impeach him made.

To this Mr. Rosser replied: “Of course, this gentleman on account of his age is entitled to lecture me!”

“I am addressing his honor,” retorted Dorsey.

“I have stated my objection,” said Dorsey.

“He misunderstood what I am trying to show,” said Rosser.

Court Sustains Dorsey.

“This witness can’t tell what his opinion is,” said Judge Roan, for the first time speaking. “He can tell what he swore to before the Coroner’s jury.”

Following this ruling the cross-examination was resumed.

Rosser read from the stenographic report of the Coroner’s inquest:

“Mr. Frank jumped when he met Mr. Gantt and I taken it this way.”

Here Solicitor Dorsey interrupted:

“I object to what he taken,” the Solicitor said.

Judge Roan ruled that no opinion of a witness was admissible.

Assistant Prosecutor Hooper then asked that Mr. Rosser state what Coroner’s inquest he was referring to.

Attorneys in Clash.

“I am always glad to accommodate these men whenever I can,” said Rosser.

“You have got to accommodate me,” retorted Hooper.

“No I haven’t. The man never was born whom I have got to accommodate.”

Judge Roan ruled that Mr. Rosser must state what Coroner’s jury he was referring to, as there were two, one in April and one in May.

Rosser resumed his questioning.

Q. I asked you if you were before the Coroner’s jury at the police station?—A. Yes, sir.

State’s Objection Overruled.

Q. Did you the first time say anything about Mr. Frank jumping back when he met Mr. Gantt?

Dorsey again objected, and was overruled.

A. Yes, sir; I did.

Rosser read Lee’s testimony before the Coroner’s first hearing, saying he was going to ask him if that was all he said. This testimony was to the effect that Frank looked as though he was frightened. It did not mention, however, that Frank jumped back when he met Gantt.

Q. Is that all you said?—A. No, sir; that wasn’t all I said.

Negro Answers Warily.

Q. Newt, I ask you if you didn’t leap right out of there and run and call the police when you saw that body?—A. Just as soon as I saw what it was.

Q. Didn’t you say this before the Coroner’s jury: “I thought some devilish boys had put something there to fool me. I got close enough to see it was a body and leaped right away?”—A. No, sir; I’ll tell you what I said.

Mr. Rosser interrupted Lee.

Q. Mr. Frank told you if anything serious happened, to call the police, and if anything trivial, to call him?—A. Yes.

Q. When Frank told you to go off and have a good time, you lit right out, didn’t you?—A. No, sir.

Q. Didn’t you say that after two or three minutes you lit out?—A. Not exactly that way.

Says He Doesn’t Recall.

Q. You said yesterday that when Frank put on the lock tape that Saturday it took twice as long as it did on the other times you saw him do it. When they asked you how long it took him to put it in before, did you not tell them you did not pay much attention to it?—A. I don’t recall.

Q. Why didn’t you tell the Coroner it took twice as long the last time as it did before?—A. I did tell them it took longer.

Q. Who asked you?—A. He looked like a blind man.

Q. Then all this record here is wrong?—A. I can’t help about those records.

Q. You never told it until yesterday?—A. Yes; I told the Coroner it took him longer.

Q. If you didn’t pay attention to him the first time, how did you know it took longer the second time?—A. I held the lever for him.

Q. You couldn’t say whether it took him a minute the first time?—A. Yes, it took over a minute.

Questioned About Notes.

Q. You could not say whether it took under a minute or over a minute?—A. No.

Q. Who did you live with?—A. No one.

Q. Who lived with you?—A. A woman. She just stayed there and cooked for me.

Q. You and her lived together?—A. No, she just cooked for me.

Q. Did you pay the rent for the last one?—A. Yes.

Q. How about the first one?—A. I just paid board.

Q. Were you down in the basement when the police found some notes?—A. They said something about a book.

Q. They read you something about the night watch doing it?

Dorsey here objected to anything anybody else said.

Rosser replied that his object was to get to the truth and show what Newt Lee did at the time, indicating a ready interpretation of the notes.

Mr. Arnold then addressed the court.

He began an argument and Solicitor Dorsey insisted that the jury be withdrawn.

“Of course, after he has discussed the case, he wants the jury withdrawn at our statements,” said Mr. Rosser.

“I understood Mr. Rosser to say he would not introduce the contents, and I understand this ruling excludes the contents of one of the notes?” asked Dorsey.

“No, I didn’t say we were not going to present the contents of the notes. I am going to introduce what I please,” answered Rosser.

Judge Roan again sustained the defense and ordered the jury brought back. Attorney Rosser then resumed his cross-examination.

Q. When you were in the basement, didn’t one of the policemen read a note which said something about a long, tall, black negro?

“I object,” said Dorsey. “I understood his honor to rule that the attorneys for the defense could not go into the contents of the notes.”

“Are we going on with this argument before the jury, after we just had them sent out?” asked Rosser.

“Let the question be put,” said Judge Roan.

Lee Denies Saying “That’s Me.”

Q. When he said “the night witch,” didn’t you say “Boss, that’s me?”—A. No, sir; I said, “Boss, it looks like they are trying to lay it on me.”

Q. No, I want yest or no from this—“The tall, black, long negro?”

Here Dorsey interrupted with an objection.

“Now where did Lee swear that.” […]


[…] he asked, “A section of the Code says that you can’t question a man like that unless you present some certain evidence of the statement having been made or written.”

At this, Attorney Rosser sat down and Dorsey began questioning Lee on the redirect examination.

Q. You said something about somebody trying to put it off on you?—A. Yes, sir.

Q. Did you know Jim Conley? A. I never saw him until that time last week.

Q. Have you talked to anybody about this?—A. Yes.

Q. Did you ever talk to this man (indicating Arnold)?—A. Yes, he was over to the jail after you were.

Lee Quizzed on Diagram.

Q. The first time Frank put that tape on the clock, did he say anything?—A. No.

Q. Did he say anything the second time?—A. He made a remark about its taking longer.

Q. What was the reason he changed the tape?—A. It had been used.

Q. Was it as dark in the basement at night as it was in the daytime?—A. Mighty near.

Solicitor Dorsey started over the diagram drawn by Bert Green, Georgian staff artist, of the National Pencil Factory, and proceeded to ask Lee a question and pointed at the diagram.

“I object to that picture,” said Attorney Arnold. “It is nothing but Mr. Dorsey’s theory of the case. He’s got all kinds of marks here.”

“He’s not asking about anything but the physical appearance of the building,” replied Judge Roan.

Solicitor Dorsey then had Newt Lee point out the various parts of the building shown on the diagram; Dorsey used as a pointer Mary Phagan’s parasol.

Q. Newt, say whether the body of Mary Phagan was lying the same way when you saw it with the officers as when you first saw it.—A. I don’t know, officers were all around it, and I couldn’t see very good.

Lawyers Clash Again.

Mr. Rosser took a stand directly behind Mr. Dorsey and objected to Dorsey leading the witness.

“Well, this negro is not as well educated as some of these lawyers,” said Mr. Dorsey. “It takes a little patience to get him to understand.”

“What lawyers are you referring to?” asked Mr. Rosser. “Do you mean yourself?”

“Of course, myself,” answered Mr. Dorsey.

Q. Was the toilet west or east from the boiler in the basement?—A. West.

Q. Was the body west or east?—A. The body was kinder west.

Q. Could you see Frank from that desk up stairs?—A. No, sir.

Q. Mr. Rosser asked you how far it was from the steps leading up to the second floor to Mr. Frank’s office. How far was it?—A. About as far as from here to that wall across the room.

Called Only Police.

Q. Did you call anybody on the phone that night but the police?—A. No, sir.

Q. Did you call Mr. Haas?—A. No, sir.

Q. Were the shutters on the north side of the second floor of that building closed on Saturday, April 26?—A. Yes, sir; they were closed.

Q. Were there apartments back there on the third floor?—A. Yes, sir.

Q. Who were they for?—A. White people.

Q. Did white people use the closet in the basement?—A. No, sir.

Q. Who told you to use it?—A. Mr. Frank took me down there and told me to use it.

Q. What did he call it?—A. He called it a toilet.

Q. At night it is darker in the rear of that basement than it is outside?—A. You can’t see inside there at all back where the body was found.

Tries to Discount Diagram.

This ended the redirect examination, and Mr. Rosser began the recross-examination. He took up the questioning in an effort to prove that Lee did not understand the diagram of the pencil factory.

“What is this?” he asked, pointing to some blue coloring representing the blank wall.

“I don’t know, sir,” the negro replied.

Q. It looks like a mill pond, doesn’t it?—A. I don’t know just what it is meant for.

Q. The policemen and detectives talked to you all the time, didn’t they? They fired a pistol beside you; they cussed you and they praised you, didn’t they?—A. No sir; they didn’t praise me none.

Q. My friend, John Black, and those fellows talked to you day and night, didn’t they?—A. Well, just let me tell you, I couldn’t sleep even for two nights after I was put in jail. They just questioned me all the time, policemen and everybody.

Q. Is there any other way to get out of the basement except by the ladder?—A. Only the back door.

Q. Are there not some steps between the boiler and the back door up to the first floor?—A. If there are any there I don’t know it.

Black Talked to Him More.

Solicitor Dorsey at this point took up the examination.

Q. Did Frank talk to you in jail?—Yes, sir.

Q. Who talked longer to you, Frank or John Black, the detective? Rosser objected, saying the Solicitor had gone over the interview between Frank and Lee and no one had referred to it since.

“We want to know if repetition is going to be allowed,” Rosser asked Judge Roan. “It is simply to repeat. If we start a repeating contest we will be here forever.”

Judge Roan overruled the objection.

Lee replied: “Detective Black talked to me the most.

Q. Who talked to you longer, the detectives or Mr. Arnold, when he came to see you the other day?—A. Mr. Arnold.

Newt Lee was then called off the stand, after having been questioned for 4 hours and 15 minutes.

Sergeant Dobbs Testifies.

Dorsey said, “Bring in L. S. Dobbs, sergeant of police.”

Q. Where were you at about 3 o’clock April 27?—A. At the station house.

Q. Did anything unusual happen?—A. At about 3:25 a call came to go to the pencil factory. When we got there the door was locked. Later a negro came and let us in. He said there was a woman murdered in the basement. The negro led the way down, and about fifteen feet back we found the body. She was lying with her face down. We couldn’t tell whether she was white or black except that her hair was light. I told someone to turn her over. A cord was around her neck and sunk in her flesh. There was also a piece of cloth. I began to look around and found a couple of notes. One of them read——”

Mr. Dorsey interrupted. “Never mind about the notes,” he said.

Identifies Cord and Cloth.

Q. I will first get you to identify this cord (taking the death loop from a suitcase).—A. That looks like it.

Q. And this (exhibiting a torn piece of cloth)?—A. It is.

Q. Was there much blood?—A. Very little.

Q. Was the hair bloody?—A. Very little; I had to almost reach the skin to feel blood.

Q. Was it moist?—A. Dry.

Q. Are these the notes you found near the body? (Exhibiting notes.)—A. Yes.

Q. And this pad?—A. Yes.

Q. How were they lying?—A. Near the head.

Q. Were they close together?—A. Yes.

Q. What did you do with Lee?—A. Took him to the station.

Q. What was his bearing?—A. Cool.

Q. Mr. Dobbs, look at this (pointing to diagram of factory); point where the body was found?—A. Right here. (Indicating spot.)

Rosser—“I object to that picture until the witness says it is a fair representation of the building.”

Judge Roan—“I sustain the objection.”

Dorsey—“Is it a fair representation of the building?”

A. It is.

Dorsey: “That’s All.”

Rosser After Details.

Rosser took up the cross-examination.

Q. The negro told you she was a white woman?—A. Yes.

Q. You had to look very closely to find out?—A. Yes.

Q. What kind of light did you have?—A. We lit some gas jets and had lanterns.

Q. You found the notes under the sawdust?—A. Yes.

Q. You were not able to see them until you raked in the sawdust?—A. No, sir.

Q. Was the note attached to the pad?—A. No.

Q. How far from the child’s head was the first note?—A. Not over eight or ten inches.

Q. What note did you find first. A. The white one.

Q. Did you find much trash in the building?—A. Yes.

Q. Did you find other notes?—A. No.

Q. Did you search?—A. Yes, we were looking for the shoe, you know.

Q. Where was the shoe found?—A. Some one else found them.

Q. What was the condition of the child’s face?—A. You mean about dust?

Q. No; was there any indication that she was dragged?—A. I thought there was.

Q. Lee did become excited become he left the factory?—A. Yes.

Q. From the place where Lee stood, could he have seen the body?—A. Yes; part of it.

Q. Didn’t you make any experiment in the day time to see whether Lee could see the body?—A. Yes.

Q. Could you?—A. Yes, sir; the feet and part of the legs.

Q. I asked you if you said the evidences of dragging did not begin immediately in front of the elevator?—A. No, I said it appeared to me to begin immediately in front of the elevator.

Q. As a matter of fact, you didn’t find the hat and the shoes close together?—A. The hat and the shoes were on the garbage pile.

Q. The floor was rough and one being dragged over it would be scarred up?—A. Yes.

Q. Captain, you are mistaken about the wound being on the right side of the head, aren’t you?—A. I won’t be positive. It was near the rear of the head.

Q. Was the blood wet or dry?—A. Dry.

Q. This little trail which you […]


[…] thought showed where the body had been dragged extended to the body?—A. Yes, sir.

Q. You took hold of the hands and worked them?—A. Yes, but she was stiff. Her joints worked a little.

Door Staples Pulled.

Q. What was the condition of the back door?—A. The staple had been pulled, but the lock was still locked.

Q. Was the door open or shut?—A. It was a slide door and shut.

Q. Was it a bar door?—A. Yes. The bar was down.

Q. Did it appear to be a recent withdrawal of the staple?—A. Yes.

Q. Did you either read or quote to the negro Lee a statement about who had committed the crime, and when you said “night” Lee interrupted with a statement that he was the one referred to?—A. Yes, before I read the word “witch” he said he was the one referred to.

Attorney Rosser here exhibited a cord and a cotton cloth which Sergeant Dobbs identified as having been found around Mary Phagan’s neck.

Q. Did you examine her underclothes?—A. Not very closely.

Court was then adjourned until 2 o’clock when the redirect examination of Dobbs was taken up by Solicitor Dorsey.

Dobbs Recalled to Stand.

It was 5 minutes to 2 o’clock when Judge Roan walked to the bench and called order. He asked Solicitor Dorsey if he cared to question the last witness, Sergeant L. S. Dobbs, further. Mr. Dorsey replied that he did. Sergeant Dobbs was then returned to the stand, and the redirect examination began.

Solicitor Dorsey directed the questioning for the State:

Q. To what undertaker did you turn Mary Phagan’s body over?—A. Bloomfield, I think.

Q. How far is it from the ladder to the spot where you found the body?—A. 150 feet.

Q. What was lying on the trash pile?—A. A hat and this pump (displaying one of Mary Phagan’s shoe)/

Q. What else?—A. Nothing.

Q. What about the hat trimming?—A. I never saw it.

Q. The hair ribbon?—A. We took it from her head.

Experimented to Solve Crime.

Q. Did you many any experiments at night in the factory in an effort to ascertain just how and who committed the crime?—A. Yes.

Q. Did you become convinced that Newt Lee could have seen the body from where he sat?

A. Attorney Rosser objected to this question and the objection was sustained.

Q. Could more than one person at a time have gone down the ladder to the basement?—A. No.

Q. Would it have been possible for anyone to have taken the body down the ladder with them?—A. No.

Q. Would it have been necessary for anyone taking or dropping a body down the ladder to have gone around the elevator shaft?—A. No.

Q. Could you tell whether the evidence you saw of dragging was caused from the feet of some person carrying a heavy burden or actually dragging it?—A. No, sir.

Q. How did the lock on the basement door? Was it pulled up or out? A. Out.

Q. Look at this lock and hasp. (Dorsey exhibited lock and hasp from back door of pencil factory). Were they the ones you found on the back door?—A. Yes.

Q. Was the body cold or warm? A. Cold.

Dorsey Concludes Queries.

Q. Was there any blood on the ground or sawdust where you found the girl?—A. No, sir.

This concluded Dorsey’s examination.

Rosser then took the witness on the re-cross-examination.

Q. You don’t know how this hasp wos [sic] taken?—A. No sir.

Q. Mr. Dobbs, is it not a fact that you know whether this hasp was taken from the outside of the inside?—A. Yes.

Mr. Dorsey then arose and put a question to the witness.

“Where was the elevator on the morning that you found the body of Mary Phagan?”

At the office floor,” replied Dobbs.

Q. Couldn’t you tell from her hair that she was white?—A. Yes, if you got close enough.

Mr. Rosser questioned the witness again.

“Didn’t you say you had to make a careful examination to tell that she was white?”—Yes.

This concluded Sergeant Dobbs’ testimony.

Starnes Put on Stand.

The next witness to be called to the stand was Detective J. M. Starnes, who has been one of the principal investigators of the case. Solicitor Dorsey questioned him for the prosecution.

Q. What time did you get to the pencil factory after this crime was reported?—A. Between 5 and 6 o’clock Sunday morning.

Q. What did you do?—A. I met Sergeant Dobbs and went into the basement.

Q. Can you identify this staple and lock?—A. I do not know.

Q. This looks like the staple and lock from the pencil factory’s back basement door, doesn’t it?—A. Yes.

Q. How did you find the staple, was it pulled up or out?—A. The staple was pulled out from the back door, the indication being that it was pulled straight out.

Q. Was there anything to show how it was removed?—A. There was an indentation in the wood and a piece of rusty pipe which fitted the indentation.

Q. How did this door open?—A. It slid South.

Frank Didn’t Ask Reason.

Q. If the staple was in and the door was open from the outside, what woul[d] have been the effect on the staple if the door had been opened from the outside?—A. The staple would have been badly bent.

The attorneys for the defense were sustained on an objection to a question by Dorsey to Starnes about a talk with Newt Lee.

Q. What did you do next?—A. I went to the police station and discussed the case with Chief Lanford and John Black.

Q. What next?—A. We asked Lee who the superintendent was and when he told us, we called Frang [sic] over the phone.

Q. How long did it take to get him?—A. Only a few minutes. A man answered the phone, said he was superintendent of the National Pencil Factory. I told him that it was very necessary for him to come to the pencil factory. He replied that he had not eaten his breakfast and that he did not want to come down town until after breakfast. I told him that it would be very necessary for him to come and that an automobile would be sent for him.

Q. Did you tell him what the trouble was?—A. He did not ask me and I did not tell him.

Q. How long was it before Frank reached the factory?—A. Only a few minutes.

Scores “Trial on Looks.”

Objections were made when Dorsey asked Detective Starnes as to Newt Lee’s conduct at the factory when Starnes first arrived there.

“This case should not be tried on looks,” said Attorney Arnold. “Every man looks guilty to an officer. That what he gets paid for.”

“The defense has attacked Lee and the prosecution wants to show his attitude to reveal that the attack is unfounded,” retorted Attorney Hooper for the prosecution.

“Suppose Lee was on trial for his life,” asked Attorney Rosser, “would any attitude be construed in his favor?”

Judge Roan overruled the objection, but said that he had not let down the bars.

“Lee appeared composed,” said Starnes.

Q. How did Frank appear?—A. He pulled off his coat and said to Mr. Darley: “You see I have got another suit.”

Q. Where did that conversation occur?—A. In Mr. Frank’s office.

Q. What else did he say?—A. I don’t remember anything else. I had charge of Lee.

Q. Did you have an opportunity to observe whether Frank was nervous?—A. He appeared nervous.

Frank Looked Rather Trembling.”

Q. Tell what he did—A. He just appeared nervous. I didn’t know who he was at the time. He appeared rather trembling and uncomposed.

Q. What time was it that he had this appearance?—A. When they brought him in to the factory from home.

Q. Did you see any slips punched in that clock?—A. Yes.

Q. When?—A. About a week afterward.

Q. Tell the jury about it.—A. I went to the factory and the watchman named McKinzie punched the clock all the way around in about five minutes.

Q. Were you present when Frank said anything about Newt Lee’s record?—A. No.

Q. Did you ever see these cords before (displaying some cords)?—A. Yes. We took some from the girl’s body.

Q. Did you ever find any more?—A. Yes, on the second floor of the pencil factory.

Q. Were there knots in them?—A. Yes.

Q. Were the knots similar?—A. Yes.

Q. Did you find any anywhere else?—A. Yes, in the basement.

When Starnes started to identify similar cords, already identified by Sergeant Dobbs as having been found around Mary Phagan’s neck, Attorney Rosser objected on the ground that Starnes had not written the notations on them. The objection was sustained.

Q. Did you see anything in the dressing room Monday morning?—A. Yes, I saw a splotch that looked like blood and several smaller splotches that looked like blood.

Q. What did you find in the dressing room Monday?—A. I found several splotches and I chipped them up.

Q. What was the size of the largest spots?—A. One of them looked to be as large as my hand.

Q. Were they just splotches?—A. No, that was the principal part. It spattered for a foot and a half.

Q. Was there anything on the floor but blood?—A. Yes, it looked like it had been swept over with some white substance.

Q. Do you know what it was?—A. No. Some one told me what it was, but I have forgotten.

Q. Was the stuff on the floor blood?—A. Yes, I think so.

Q. You are sure that it was not aniline dye?—A. Yes, I experimented with the dye and it left a much brighter stain.

Q. Where else did you find blood?—A. About 50 feet up, going from the middle of the department towards the office, I found a nail with blood on it.

Q. What area did this blood spatter cover?—A. I don’t know, but not as much as in other places.

Q. Did you find any other spots that you thought to be blood?—A. I chipped off the back door two spots that I thought to be blood finger prints.

Rosser Calls Dorsey “Son.”

Q. How far is it from the folding door to the place where the blood spots were found?—A. Thirteen feet and about forty feet from where the nail was found.

Q. How long would it take to walk from Marietta street to the National Pencil Factory?—A. About three minutes.

Here Rosser interrupted and asked the witness:

“Did you ever time it?”

“No,” answered Starnes.

Dorsey protested vehemently.

“Will you stand out of the way, Mr. Rosser, in order that I may see the witness?” said Dorsey.

“That’s a good suggestion, son, kindly remind me of it,” retorted Rosser.

The objection was overruled.

Q. Were Frank’s remarks about his clothes made seriously or jokingly?—A. Well, he and Mr. Darley were having the conversation and the only part I heard was Frank’s remark about having another suit.

Q. What are these? asked Solicitor Dorsey, handing him something. A.—They look like the chips I took from the factory floor.

Q. Is there any difference in them now and when you chipped them up?—A. They are a little cleaner.

Q. What did you do with them?—A. Gave them to Chief Lanford.

Cord Presented as Evidence.

Q. Mr. Rosser asked you something about an agreement at the police station with Frank?—A. I don’t know anything more about it than from hearsay.

“Your Honor,” said Dorsey, “I want to tender as evidence a cord identified by Sergeant Dobbs as having been found around the neck of Mary Phagan, her clothes, her hair ribbon, this rag and this hat.

Q. Mr. Starnes, look at these chips.—A. They look like t[h]e ones taken up at the rear door.

At this point Attorney Rosser took up the recross examination.

Q. Couldn’t you swear these chips were the ones taken up at the rear door?—A. I couldn’t swear it, but I am reasonably sure.

Q. Are there any other matters about this case that you know about?

Dorsey objected, but the objection was overruled.

A. So far as I recall, there is nothing else that I remember.

Attorney Rosser then sat down and Solicitor Dorsey then said:

Defense Objects to Diagram.

“I want to present this diagram as evidence,” referring to the Bert Green diagram of the factory.

Attorney Rosser asked to look at it.

“No, it is not admissible,” he declared. “Let the jury retire so that we may discuss it.”

The jury retired.

“Black dotted lines indicate the course taken by the accused,” read Mr. Rosser. “It is a Jim Dandy, but we object to it. I really did not think that my friend Dorsey and Mr. Hooper would try to put this over me.”

“It has been hanging here where you could see it all day,” said Mr. Dorsey. “I understood you to say you accepted it. We are willing to cover up those words.”

“I want to raise a further objection,” said Mr. Arnold. “This is an argument for the theory of the prosecution. These dotted lines are too powerful an argument. I think the picture of the house is admissible, but anything that could be construed as an argument is not admissible.”

“I withdraw the picture for the present,” said Mr. Dorsey.

Court then adjourned until 9 o’clock Wednesday morning.

The crowd gathered early in front of the courthouse Tuesday morning. By 9 o’clock both sides of South Pryor street near its junction with Hunter were filled with people drawn by curiosity and the hope that they might have the good fortune to get admission to the small courtroom.

Taking a lesson from the first day, many of Frank’s relatives avoided the stares of the throng by entering through a side door.

Secrecy was preserved as to the State’s plans concerning Jim Conley, and for a time there were rumors that the negro, whose affidavits have been the most sensational feature of the case, might not be called at all. His name was not on the witness list, but Solicitor Dorsey said the omission was an error.

* * *


One Crowd as Bad as the Other, Says Lee of His Quizzers

Newt Lee, after being grilled by attorneys for more than four hours, said he was not tired, and all he wanted was a chew of tobacco. He was asked who he would rather have question him—the lawyers of [sic] the detectives.

“Mr. Rosser certainly is terrible,” he declared, “but I would just as soon have one crowd as the other.”