Exposure of Conley Story Time Flaws is Sought by Defense

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

Atlanta Georgian
August 9th, 1913

Hammering away to show alleged glaring discrepancies in time in the story told by Jim Conley, the defense of Leo Frank Saturday morning recalled George Epps, the newsboy who testified to riding into town with Mary Phagan on the fatal day, in an attempt to show that the boy on the Sunday after the crime made no mention whatever of having seen Mary the day before in a talk with a newspaperman. Epps was called to the stand after C. B. Dalton had failed to respond to a call from the defense. Reuben Arnold questioned the boy.

Q. Do you recollect the Sunday the body was found?—A. Yes.

Q. Do you remember a gentleman, a Mr. Minar, coming to your house and talking to you and your sister?—A. Yes.

Q. Didn’t he ask you when was the last time either of you had seen Mary Phagan?—A. Yes, he asked my sister, he didn’t ask me.

Q. Weren’t you there?—A. No, I wasn’t there. I was in the house.

Q. Weren’t you standing by your sister and she said the last time Mary Phagan was seen by her was Thursday before the murder and you stood there and said nothing?—A. No, I didn’t hear that. I was in the house, but I didn’t hear all he said to her.

“Come down,” said Mr. Arnold.

Shows Lad Didn’t Flee From Court.

Mr. Dorsey interrupted.

Q. “George, has there been any trouble to get you to come to court?”—A. No, sir, I was playing ball when they sent for me yesterday and didn’t get the message.”

Mr. Arnold objected to the question and reply and Mr. Dorsey said:

“Your honor, Mr. Arnold made the impression on this court yesterday that this boy was fleeing from the court. The deputy said he couldn’t find him. We just want to show that he was always willing to come.”

Judge Roan overruled the objection.

Q. George you were always willing to come, weren’t you?—A. Yes, sir. I got tired hanging around the court, and asked you if I could go. You told me you would send for me when you needed me. I came when I got your message.

Holloway Lost in Maze.

What promises to be a very favorable day for the defense in the trial of Leo M. Frank, charged with the murder of Mary Phagan, was partly spoiled at its close Friday by the bewilderment of E. F. Holloway, day watchman at the pencil factory, in a maze of conflicting statements.

Holloway’s confusion under the fire of the Solicitor General was more than offset by the importance of the testimony which had gone before, two of the witnesses giving testimony which was intended to establish that Mary Phagan did not enter the National Pencil Factory on the day of her death until after Monteen Stover had come and gone.

Besides giving the lie direct to Jim Conley’s tale, this testimony, if it stands as the truth in the minds of the jurors, upsets the State’s theory that Monteen Stover visited the office of Leo Frank while the superintendent was in the metal room with the Phagan girl.

Conley said on the stand that he saw Lemmie Quinn, then Mary Phagan and then Monteen Stover go up to the second floor. The Stover girl said that she entered the factory at 12:05 o’clock. It was 12:10 whens she left, she testified. She looked at the time clock both times.

W. M. Matthews and W. T. Hollis, the motorman and conductor on the car which brought Mary into town the day that she met her death, testified that she did not leave the car before 12:10 o’clock, the inference from this testimony being that she could not have entered the factory before Monteen Stover and entered and left.

If the testimony of George Epps, the State’s witness, is accepted, the defense declares Mary Phagan could not have entered the plant before Monteen Stover.

Matthews said that he knew the girl by sight and frequently spoke to her when she boarded his car. He said that he was relieved at Broad and Marietta streets at 12:07 o’clock the day of the crime and that he went inside the car and sat back of Mary Phagan and a girl companion while they were riding to Broad and Hunter streets. He said they got off at about 12:10 and walked toward the pencil factory.

Matthews’ story contradicts that of George Epps, who testified on the stand that he rode to town with Mary, got off the car with her at Forsyth and Marietta streets and walked as far as the viaduct with her on way to the pencil factory. Matthews and Hollis both said that they had no recollection of Epps being on the car. Hollis said that Mary was sitting alone when he took her fare just after the car got onto English avenue. Matthews said another young girl was sitting with her when the center of town was reached.

The significance of the story of the two street car men is that it seems to add another falsehood to the man that Jim Conley already has told and freely admitted telling.

He did not see Mary Phagan go upstairs to Frank’s office, hear the sounds of footsteps going to the metal room, then a girl’s scream and after this witness the entrance and departure of Monteen Stover. On the contrary, the Stover girl was in the factory and gone before Mary Phagan came inside the doors.

Holloway, the day watchman, was called back to the stand by the defense to testify in rebuttal of Conley’s testimony in regard to the alleged visits of women to Frank’s office. Holloway said that no incidents of this sort ever took place. Conley would have had no opportunity of watching at the door without his (Holloway’s) knowing it, he declared.

He denied that Daisy Hopkins ever visited the factory with a man while he was on duty or that immorality of any sort was practiced in the building to his knowledge. He said that Herbert Schiff and Frank were generally in the office together on Saturdays and that neither of them ever had women in the office.

Solicitor Dorsey began cross-examining Holloway in savage fashion and soon had the watchman badly rattled. At one time Holloway refused to commit himself as to what he had testified only a moment before.

“Was that negro drayman there Saturday—you said so awhile ago, didn’t you?” asked the Solicitor.

Holloway floundered while Dorsey was insisting on an answer. He could not remember what he had testified. Finally he blurted out:

“If I said he was there, he was. If I said he wasn’t there, he wasn’t.”

Refers to Reward Claim.

“But what is the truth?” persisted Dorsey.

Holloway continued to return the same answer until Judge Roan forced him to make a definite reply. Then he took refuge in the old reliable answer: “I don’t remember.”

The Solicitor called Holloway’s attention to a remark that watchman was said to have made about Conley being “my nigger” when a reference was made to the rewards offered. He also showed an affidavit signed by Holloway saying that Darley had left the factory the Saturday of the killing at 10:45 in the forenoon. Darley had testified that he left at about 9:30 and Holloway had said only a few minutes before that Darley left about 9:20 or 9:30.

“What did you say 10:45 for in the affidavit you signed for me shortly after the murder?” shouted the Solicitor.

“That was mostly guess work,” explained the witness.

“Did you tell Mr. Arnold that you left the factory every day about 5:30 o’clock?”


Said 3, but Meant 4 O’clock.

“Didn’t you tell me that you left some times at 3 o’clock?”
“If I said 3, I meant 4.”

“What did you mean by 4:30 just now?”
“That just slipped out.”

N. V. Darley, general manager of the factory, H. J. Hinchey, of No. 391 Peachtree street; Harry Scott, “Boots” Rogers, I. U. Kauffman, T. H. Willett and J. Q. Adams were the other witnesses of the day.

Kauffman identified blue prints and drawings he had made of the Selig home and of the pencil factory. Willett explained the pasteboard model of the factory that he had made from the blue prints. Adams identified photographs he had made at the Selig home and the factory.

Hinchey told of seeing Frank coming from home on a Washington street car the afternoon of the crime. This was intended to discredit Albert McKnight, one of the State’s witnesses, who said that he saw Frank board a Georgia avenue car when he left home.

Darley was recalled largely to testify to the possibility of various methods which Conley might have employed in disposing of the girl’s body in the event he was the murderer of the girl.

New Theory Is Suggested.

The most startling sug[g]estion came from Darley’s testimony that a door leading from the entryway on the first floor into the rear of the building was found broken open right after the crime. Two trap doors open into the basement from this rear room. One of them is over a chute. Reuben Arnold, by his line of questioning, showed that the defense seriously had considered the theiry [sic] that the girl’s murderer had dragged her through this door on the first floor and had dropped her body down the chute.

The Solicitor brought out that the door might have be[e]n opened by the detectives in their search of the building and that if the body ever had been dropped down the chute it most probably would have been left there as it would have been perfectly hidden.

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Atlanta Georgian, August 9th 1913, “Exposure of Conley Story Time Flaws is Sought by Defense,” Leo Frank case newspaper article series (Original PDF)