Epps Boy Not With Mary Phagan, Declares Street Car Motorman

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

Atlanta Constitution
August 9th, 1913

W. M. Mathews, of 459 Lee street, car motorman who declares that Mary Phagan rode to town on his car on April 26, followed Daisy Hopkins on the stand.

Mathews gave a new turn to the theory of the girl’s actions of that day by declaring that she rode to Broad and Hunter streets before getting off with another girl who was with her, and also by saying that he did not see George Epps on the car with her.

In answer to questions the motorman asserted that Mary Phagan got on his car at Lindsay street at about 10 minutes to 12 and got off at Hunter and Broad at 10 minutes after 12, the time that Monteen Stover says she left the factory and after the time that, according to the state’s theory, Mary Phagan was killed.

“What time does your car reach Forsyth and Marietta streets?”
“It is due there at 12:07 1-2.”

“Was it on time that day?”
“It was.”

“Where did the girl get off?”
“At Hunter and Broad.”

“At what time?”
“At just about 12:10, because it takes from 2 1-2 to 3 minutes to go through the congested part of town from Forsyth and Marietta to Hunter and Broad.”
“Go ahead.”

“Well, when my car reached Forsyth and Marietta I was relieved by another man and went in and took a seat and rode to Whitehall and Mitchell streets. I sat on a seat directly back of Mary Phagan and another girl, who was with her, but whose name I do not know.”

“Did she and this girl get off together or not?”
“They got off together and walked together towards Forsyth street on Hunter.”

Epps Boy Not With Her.

“Was there a little boy with her?”
“No, not when she got on at Lindsay street, not when I sat behind her in the car and not when she got off.”

“Did you see a boy, George Epps, get on the car?”
“No, I did not.”

“Didn’t you tell L. P. Whitfield, a Pinkerton detective working on this case, that you might have run to town three or four minutes ahead of your schedule?” asked Solicitor Dorsey.

“No, I never said that.”

“Are you sure?”
“Yes; positive.”

“Where did George Epps get on the car?”
“I couldn’t tell you; I never saw him.”

“Why did you happen to notice Mary Phagan so particularly? Was she a very pretty girl or not?”
“Well, she was certainly not ugly,” replied the motorman.

“Couldn’t a person get off the car at Forsyth and Marietta and reach the National Pencil factory quicker by walking down Forsyth than by riding around to Hunter and Broad?”

“It would take about as long to go either way.”

“How does it happen that you remember seeing Mary Phagan particularly and know when she got off that day, when there were hundreds of other people who rode with you during the day?”

“Well, when I was relieved at Forsyth and Marietta I came in and sat down behind her and I had a picture in my pocket which I remember taking out and showing her, and we talked about it.”

Could Not Identify Dress.

Mathews was then asked to describe the girl’s dress, but could not do so, further than to say she had on some sort of a light colored dress. When shown her clothes he stated that he thought the dress was about that color, but that he could not swear that it was the same one she had worn that day.

“I was looking at the girl, not the dress,” Mathews explained naively.

“Well, you didn’t see George Epps on the car?”

“Would you say he was not on the car.”

“I can’t say about that; I didn’t see him, if he was.”

Mr. Dorsey concluded and Mr. Arnold then asked the witness several questions.

“When did you hear of the murder?”
“Sunday morning about 6 o’clock.”

“Did you see her body?”
“Yes, at the undertaker’s, about 6 o’clock that evening.”

“Were you certain that she was the girl that rode with you?”
“Yes, I was positive.”

Mathews was then excused.

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Atlanta Constitution, August 9th 1913, “Epps Boy Not With Mary Phagan, Declares Street Car Motorman,” Leo Frank case newspaper article series (Original PDF)