Detectives Working to Discredit Mincey

by Curator on September 7, 2018

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

The Atlanta Georgian

Friday, July 18, 1913

POLICE HALT GRILLING OF CONLEY

Detective Bent on Questioning Negro Is Barred From Cell by Chief Lanford.

With Pinkerton detectives taking the trail in search of W.H. Mincey, whose startling accusations against Jim Conley stirred the police department and won the negro another “sweating” from Solicitor Dorsey, the Mincey affidavit Friday became the storm center about which the prosecution and defense in the Frank case waged their battle.

Despite the degree of indifference with which the detectives and prosecuting officials affected to look upon the remarkable statements of Mincey, it became known Friday that every effort was being bent toward locating him and turning the light on his past history.

Pinkertons Have Clew.

It is understood that the Pinkertons have obtained information of Mincey’s whereabouts, as it has been known since The Georgian published its exclusive story of the affidavit and later Mincey’s detailed account of the significant happenings on the day of the murder that he was teaching school in North Georgia.

Although Solicitor Dorsey professes to be not greatly concerned over the effect that the Mincey affidavit may have in his case against Leo M. Frank, it is reported that his office is gathering character witnesses for an attack on Mincey’s credibility.

Developments since the publication of the affidavit indicate that the prosecution feels it must absolutely discredit Mincey and his story if there is to be any hope of obtaining a conviction aaginst [sic] Frank.

Harry Scott, Pinkerton detective, was denied permission to talk with Jim Conley Friday morning when he went to the police station to see if he could wring any additional admissions from the negro. From the fact that Scott has been working in entire harmony with the city detective department up to this time, this incident led to the rumor that Scott had changed his theory of the crime and was inclined to place the responsibility upon Conley.

Defense Ready for Trial.

Scott refused to say to what extent his theories had been altered, if at all. Chief of Detectives Lanford explained that he had full confidence in Scott, but that the Pinkerton was in the position where he had to report all of his findings to the defense and he did not wish Scott to see Conley in these circumstances.

Attorneys for the defense said in regard to the report that the case might again be postponed, that they knew of no reason why it could not go to trial July 28, the date set by Judge L.S. Roan. They said that their side of the case was complete and that they were prepared to present it to a jury at any time.

As bitter a fight as that brought on by the Mincey affidavit is being waged by the members of the Grand Jury and the Solicitor over the question of investigating Jim Conley’s connection with the Phagan murder, with a view of bringing an indictment. A number of the members are said to have declared themselves in favor of reopening the case because of the mass of evidence that has piled up against the negro since he confessed to being in the factory on the day of the crime.

The Solicitor, however, is unalterably opposed to any movement looking toward the indictment of the negro.

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The Atlanta Georgian, July 18th 1913, “Detectives Working to Discredit Mincey,” Leo Frank case newspaper article series (Original PDF)

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