The Leo Frank Case Research Library https://leofrank.info Information on the 1913 bludgeoning, rape, strangulation and mutilation of Mary Phagan and the subsequent trial, appeals and mob lynching of Leo Frank in 1915. Fri, 24 Mar 2017 19:00:18 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.7.3 Gentry Now Says Dictograph Record Was Tampered With https://leofrank.info/gentry-now-says-dictograph-record-was-tampered-with/ Fri, 24 Mar 2017 19:00:18 +0000 https://leofrank.info/?p=12511

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

Atlanta Journal

Wednesday, June 11th, 1913

Detective E. O. Miles Gives Out Affidavit From Young Stenographer Repudiating Transcript He Swore to

AFFIDAVIT OBTAINED IN WASHINGTON D. C.

G. C. Febuary Gives Out a Statement, Telling How Notes Were Transcribed and Affidavits Made

The accuracy of the now famous pictograph records of alleged conversations between Thomas B. Felder, Mayor Woodward, C. C. Jones, E. O. Miles, G. C. Febuary and A. S. Colyar is attacked in an affidavit which E. O. Miles has turned over to Mayor Woodward and which he says he obtained from George M. Gentry, the young stenographer who took down the dictograph conversations.

This affidavit was made in Washington D. C., where Miles, one of the dictographed parties, who is a private detective, says he found Gentry. According to this affidavit, Gentry swears that a number of changes were made in the pictograph records after they were transcribed by him. The only specific change set out in the affdavit, however, is that the names of Police Chief Beavers and Detective Chief N. A. Lanford were written into the record of Mayor Woodward’s conversation by some one other than the stenographer.

In this affidavit Gentry explains his disappearance from the city by declaring that when he compared the published records with his stenographic notes he realized that he had been duped and did not care to face the humiliation which he anticipated would follow.

These dictographed records, duly sworn to by young Gentry and others, were published in The Journal, which declined to print these documents unless they were attested before a notary public. These records and affidavits are still in the possession of The Journal, and this paper has no knowledge concerning the alleged changes.

GENTRY READ PROOFS.

Young Gentry was permitted to use one of The Journal’s typewriters to transcribe his pictograph notes. He and Febuary were left alone in the news department Wednesday night, May 21, to do this work. They left a copy of the records in a desk drawer for The Journal. Early on the morning of May 23 Gentry furnished The Journal with an affidavit attesting the correctness of the records. Later he came to The Journal office with his notebook and read the proofs which compared with this shorthand notes, and in one or two places he made minor changes, as he said, to better conform to the original notes.

He was advised to preserve his notes so that in the event any question was raised as to their accuracy, he would have the stenographic record from which to make answer.

The Journal does not undertake to say whether there are or are not discrepancies in the transcribed records compared to the shorthand notes. It has simply relied upon the sworn records and statements furnished by Gentry and others, which records and statements, as stated above, are still in the possession of The Journal and in exactly the same condition as they were when turned over to this paper by Gentry, February and others.

FEBUARY MAKES STAETMENT [sic].

G. C. Febuary, secretary to Detective Chief N. A. Lanford, who was a party to some of the dictographed conversations and who was with Gentry, the stenographer, when some of the pictograph notes were transcribed, has furnished The Journal with the following statement:

“The dictograph conversations between A. S. Colyar, T. B. Felder and myself were transcribed on a typewriter in the news department of The Atlanta Journal by George M. Gentry, the stenographer who took the conversations down in a shorthand as he heard them through a dictograph.

“John Paschall and Harllee Branch, of The Atlanta Journal, were present for about an hour and a half and A. S. Colyar was present for about half an hour. Gentry began transcribing the dictographed record about 10 p. m., Wednesday, May 21. When Mr. Paschall and Mr. Branch found Gentry would not be able to complete the work as soon as expected they left and directed that the copy intended for The Journal be left in a designated desk drawer. Colyar had been gone for about an hour when they left.

“The record was completed about 4 o’clock the next morning, and a copy was left in the desk drawer for The Journal. Neither Mr. Paschall nor Mr. Branch made any suggestions as to the contents of the record. They were only waiting for get a copy for The Journal.

“Both of these gentleman advised Gentry that if there was anything in his notes which he could not read he should indicate this fact in the record, and not to put anything in the record not contained in his notes. He was informde [sic] repeatedly that he would be expected to swear to the accuracy of the record.

HOW AFFIDAVIT WAS MADE.

“After leaving The Journal office Gentry and I spent the balance of the night together. We ate breakfast together, after which Gentry went to his work at the General Fire Extinguisher company, and later in the morning I went to The Journal office and got the copy of the record that had been left there. I took this copy down to Gentry and he went before Charles H. Tranaou, a notary public, and made an affidavit attesting the accuracy of the contents of the record, no one being present but Gentry, Mr. Transou and myself.

“A short time later I took the record and accompanied by A. S. Colyar went before W. W. Brown, a notary public. Both Colyar and myself made affidavit as to the correctness of the record.

“The record covering the conversations between Mayor James G. Woodward, E. O. Miles, A. S. Colyar and myself was transcribed by Gentry at his office and on his own typewriter. I was present but a part of the time while he was doing this work. This record, like that between T. B. Felder, A. S. Colyar and myself, was sworn to by Gentry before Charles S. Transou and Colyar and I attested it before W. W. Brown.

“To the best of my recollection and knowledge Gentry transcribed the record covering the conversation between C. C. Jones, E. O. Miles and A. S. Colyar on the day he transcribed the record of the conversation between Mayor Woodward, E. O. Miles, A. S. Colyar and myself.

“The records are published in The Atlanta Journal, so the best of my knowledge and beliefs were identical trans- of the records Gentry himself transcribed, swore to and turned over to me.”

GENTRY’S LATEST AFFIDAVIT.

Following is a copy of the Gentry affidavit furnished Mayor Woodward by E. O. Miles:

“District of Columbia, City of Washington—Personally appeared before me, the undersigned, a notary public of the District of Columbia, George M. Gentry, who, on oath, states that:

“On Wednesday, May 21, 1913, at or about 10 o’clock in the morning, Mr. Gay C. February called me over the telephtone [sic] and desired to know if I would do some stenographic work for him. I told him I would, but that I couldn’t get off until noon. He said that they were in a hurry for it and he would like for me to come at once, so I arranged to get off and went down to his office, and the chief told me he wanted me to take down some testimony, and he asked me if I could write very fast. Mr. Febuary asslred [sic] Chief Lanford that I was a good stenographer and could do the work all right. The chief then told me that the work he wanted done required somebody that could be trusted all right, and I assured him that I always treated all stenographic work I did as confidential. Chief Lanford told me then that what he wanted me to do was to take down a conversation that would take place in a hotel, and he asked me if I thought I could take it over a dictophone. (Mr. Surles coming in at that time with a satchel, which he opened and which contained wires and other paraphernalia in connection with a dictograph outfit.)

“After a few minutes, during which time Mr. Febuary was absent, we went over to the Williams house No. 2, on North Forsyth street, Atlanta, Fulton county, Georgia (Mr. Febuary and I), and I was instructed to go into Room No. 21 of this hotel. Mr. Surles and Mr. Colyar were there, and they probably had to make arrangements for adjoining rooms, as Mr. Surles commented to me that they hadn’t decided just what to do with the dictographs. After a time Colyar came in and instructed Surles to follow him, and gave me instructions to await his wishes. Later on Mr. Febuary came in, and I told him that if I had to wait much longer by myself I was going back to the office.

SAW DICTOGRAPHS INSTALLED.

“I was then allowed to come into the room, where they were installing the dictographs (one on each end of the bottom board of the bureau just under the bottom drawer on the back of the board), and the wires being run through the keyhole of the door between Room 31 and Room 32. The bureau was then screwed against the door facing. At about 12:30 I started getting accustomed to Febuary’s and Colyar’s voices.

“At first I could not hear at all, but gradual[l]y I was able to hear more distinctly and after an hour or two of diligent practices I was able to use the dictograph and to distinguish voices very clearly. Right at the beginning I found that I would not be able to hear anything with the windows up. When they were closed it became rather stuffy and this, coupled with the strain I was under, added to the distraction. I stopped particing [sic] at 2:45 that afternoon and went downstairs to the office of the hotel, where I awaited Mr. Felder’s arrival.

SAW FELDER ARRIVE.

“I saw him cross Forsyth street, and after he, Febuary and Colyar went upstairs, or were just about at the top of the stairs, I started up and saw the three enter Room 31 of the Williams house, located as mentioned previously. I then immediately went into room 32 and closed the door, partly, but did not lock it. The windows were down and so I went directly to the table and placed the receiver over my head and started writing what I heard. I took down all the conferences that took place. At somewhere around 5 that afternoon I left the hotel and went to Mr. R. B. Bliss’ house and took some dictation. From there I went home and changed my collar. I returned to the office of the General Fire Extinguisher company, 376 Marietta street, where I wrote the dictation he had given me, signed his letters and then met Mr. Febuary there at the office. We went to the Candler restaurant to supper and from there we returned to the Williams house to keep an appointment with Colyar at about 7:30. At about 8 o’clock Mr. Miles and Mr. C. C. Jones and Colyar went up to the ‘conference room’ and Mr. Febuary and I to the ‘information reception room.’

“I placed the retriever over my head, and in order to be sure that I would hear everything, Mr. Febuary stood behind me and held them pressed tightly to my ears. This conference lasted about thirty minutes. Between 8:30 and 9:15 Wednesday night Mr. Febuary loafed about town, as we had an appointment with Mr. Branch and Mr. Paschal at 9:30 at the Williams house, and as they were not in The Journal office, we had to kill time until they showed up. I left Mr. Febuary and Mr. Colyar at The Journal office at 9:15 and went over to the Williams house to wait for the arrival of The Journal reporters mentioned above. They came in shortly and we went over to The Journal office and all of us (Colyar, Febuary, Branch, Paschal and myself) went up to the editorial department, where a machine was selected and I then went to work transcribing what I had heard.

SAYS CHANGES WERE MADE.

“Right at the start I made Colyar angry because when I did not hear what was said I put dashes and so I allowed him to dictate several answers and questions, which do not appear in my notebook and which I am not positive that I heard. I did not hear Mayor Woodward mention Chief Beavers or Chief Lanford during the whole conversation, nor did I write it in the transcription of my notes, these names being evidently added by other parties. At 4:30 Thursday morning, May 22, I finished transcribing my notes and turned the papers over to Mr. Febuary. Later on during the morning he came down to the office, bringing an affidavit which I had written for me to sign before a notary public. He told me that they had made only a few minor changes in the transcription, and that all I had to do was to sign the affidavit which I did. However, I noticed that some interlineations had been made in my copy, or rather in Chief Lanford’s copy, as I had no copy.

Colyar and the reporters, just before I started to transcribe my notes, argued as to the number of copies that should be made. They agreed that one copy should be made for the chief, one for Colyar and one for The Journal, and that no more should be made. This kept me from having a copy. I had my notebook, however, and it was the comparison on my notes with the published articles that lead to my discovery that in addition to the several answers and questions which Colyar had personally dictated, other changes had been made, namely that insertion of the names of Chief Beavers and Chief Lanford, in the conference with Mayor Woodward, also many other variations occurred, changing the sense of the statement, and since they had my affidavit attached to the papers I felt that I had been duped.

“As to the remuneration of my services, will say that The Journal reporters, Branch and Paschal, agreed to pay me $5 to get the work written Wednesday night, so it could be published in Thursday’s paper. Saturday morning, after the appearance of the article in Friday’s Journal, The Georgian’s reporter came to the office and offered me either $25 or $45, I do not recollect which, for a copy of the conference with Mayor Woodward, February, Miles and Colyar, and Miles, Jones and Colyar’s conference. I declined the offer. I then went to see The Journal’s reporters and told them that The Georgian had offered me money for a copy of the conference, and they agreed to pay me $50 to hold my notebook from Saturday until Monday. I turned my notebook over to Mr. Brice, who gave it to his stenographer to keep until Monday. Later during the day the reporters told me that The Georgian had gotten a copy, and so I was too late.

LOCKED UP NOTEBOOK.

“I then went down to Mr. Brice’s office and asked Miss M.—, Mr. Brice’s stenographer, for my notebook, and I took it home and locked it up. Monday, when I went up to see Major Cohen about the $50 he went down to look for Mr. Brice, whom he was unable to find. Later we went back upstairs together and Branch and Paschal explained to him their promise to pay me $50 for allowing The Journal to retain my notebook. However some argument arose over the fact that I took my notebook out of The Journal’s office Saturday night. I told them that they had agreed to give me $50 not to make a copy for The Georgian, and that I had not made the copy for The Georgian, and had, therefore, carried out my part of the compact. They then told be to come back later on and see Mr. Brice about it. I returned after awhile, I believe it was around 1 o’clock, and Mr. Brice paid me the amount in currency and took my receipt.

“Chief Lanford has not as yet paid me for my services, from the fact that I have not rendered a bill.

“Saturday morning, before the publication of the Woodward conference, held at 4 o’clock Wednesday, May 21, as previously mentioned, and the Jones conference, held at 8 o’clock the same night, I went to the editorial department of The Journal and requested a proof of what they were going to print. Colyar, who had one reading it, declined to allow me to have a proof, and so I left The Journal building, suspicious.

“Saturday afternoon I went down to the office, carrying with me my original notebook, and a copy of Friday’s and Saturday’s Journal. I compared them all the way through and upon seeing the many variations in what was printed and what I had in my notes, I realized that my transcriptions had been tampered with, and that I had just cause for the suspicions which were aroused by their refusal to allow me to read the proofs Saturday morning.

BECOMES VERY NERVOUS.

“Having signed the affidavits, at Mr. Febuary’s request, in which I swore to what I had heard, and seeing something entirely different published, I became very nervous and uneasy. Saturday night when I went home, a reporter called up and said he was one of The Journal reporters and wanted to see me a few minutes. I told him to come over. He came in and introduced himself to me as Mr. Starr, The Journal. My other and aunt recognized his voice as that of a reporter who had called shortly before I came home, and said he was from The Georgian. They both rushed into the sitting room and told me that he was not with The Journal, but was the same fellow that came a few minutes ago, and said he was from The Georgian. He denied that he had said he was from The Journal, although he had told both myself and my grandfather, who went to answer the door bell, that he was from The Journal. Just before he left he informed me that a warrant had been sworn out for Febuary’s, Colyar’s and my arrest, and upon my directing him as to where the door out could be found, he departed, saying that he had got the information he wanted.

“Sunday afternoon, at the office, someone called me up and informed me that I would probably be arrested Monday, I did not recognize the voice, and so am unable to say who it was. They also informed me that I would have to make bond in order to be released. I asked who it was, and they hung up or were cut off.

BROTHER HAS NOTEBOOK.

“Monday morning Colyar requested that I turn my notebook over to The Journal and said he would give me $5 if I would show him a receipt from The Journal for the notebook. I came near allowing The Journal to have the notebook, but instead gave it to my brother to take home and instructed him to allow no one to have it.

“Developments later showed me the character of some of the people connected with this transaction and it made me so ashamed of my connection with it that I was afraid I could not face the humiliation that I thought would naturally onsite, and also the fact that they had changed my transcription showed to me very clearly that I was mixed up with a bunch of crooks.

“I am prepared to read my notes whenever it becomes necessary. These notes will show exactly what I heard.

“The foregoing affidavit is made by me voluntarily, unsolicited, and no money or the promise of any remuneration whatever was offered to me for making it, my sole motive being to give the straight history of my connection with the now ‘infamous’ dictograph affair.

“GEORGE M. GENTRY.

“JEANNETTE HENNING, Notary Public, District of Columbia.”

Lanford Declares He Does Not Know About Any Changes

Detective Chief N. A. Lanford Wednesday morning declared that he knew absolutely nothing concerning the alleged tampering with the dictograph records.

“The records were typewritten and sworn to when they were brought to me,” said the chief, “I still have them in my possession and no changes have been made in them since they were turned over to me. Personally, I do not believe that they were ever tampered with or doctored. According to Gentry’s latest affidavit he still has his notes. It would be quite a simple matter for him to take these notes and point out the alleged changes. All I want is the truth about the affair.

Chief Lanford, upon reading the alleged affidavit, sent the following telegram to police Chief James L. Beavers, who is in Washington attending the convention of the National Police Chiefs association:

“Atlanta, Ga., June 11, 1913,

“J. L. Beavers,

“Care Convention Chiefs Police.

“Washington, D. C.

“I understand that George M. Gentry is in Washington and that he made affidavit before Jeannette Henning, notary public, District of Columbia, to the effect that his notes made in dictograph of Colyar and Felder matter were padded. Please have him located and ascertain if this is true and if so under what conditions this affidavit was made, and advise.

“N. A. LANFORD,

“Chief of Detectives.”

“My Vindication Complete,” Declares Thomas B. Felder

Thomas B. Felder, commenting upon the affidavit of George M. Gentry, says:

“Gentry’s affidavit is a complete vindication. It bears out my statement that the whole thing was a frame-up on the part of Newport Lanford and his hirelings. Everyone agrees with me now that I was the innocent victim of a dirty, contemptible plot.

“The notebook is not in the hands of Gentry’s brother. It was at the time he left Atlanta, but it is now in a safe deposit vault and I have the key.

“I have given Mayor Woodward a copy of the affidavit, and I expect he will ask the grand jury to look into the matter.

“So far as I am personally concerned, the incident is closed with this vindication. Gentry will return to Atlanta within the next week or ten days, and he may have something additional to say.”

Says Police Board Ought to Investigate

Other than to say the police board ought to make a thorough investigation of the detective department. Mayor Woodward Wednesday morning made no statement in reference to the Gentry affidavit.

“This young man’s affidavit certainly is enough to convince me that Lanford and his aggregation of so-called detectives are not very careful as to the methods they employ, to say the least of it,” said the mayor. “It is time for the police board to give the detective department a thorough airing, and I’m not so sure but what the city would be better off if the whole detective crew were kicked out and new ones elected. We certainly couldn’t get much worse than we’ve got now.”

It was the mayor’s first intention Wednesday to give out a written statement in reference to the Gentry affidavit, but later he changed his mind. In this connection he said:

“There was nothing in the dictograph record, even as the detectives gave it out, that worried me. There was nothing in it that I was ashamed of, or cared to explain.

“The Gentry affidavit was not gotten at my instigation. I cared nothing about the dictograph. I knew nothing about the Gentry affidavit until it was handed to me by Ed Miles about 9 o’clock Tuesday night.”

Miles Will Not Divulge Young Gentry’s Address

E. O. Miles, the private detective who figured in the dictograph conversations and who brought back from Washington the alleged affidavit from Gentry charging that the dictograph records had been padded, refuses to tell whether Gentry can be found. He will not say whether he is withholding this information at Gentry’s request.

Mr. Miles says he went to Washington after the affidavit in the interest of those who had been dictographed. Further than this he would not talk.

* * *

Atlanta Journal, June 11th 1913, “Gentry Now Says Dictograph Record Was Tampered With,” Leo Frank case newspaper article series (Original PDF)

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Lanford Silent on Rosser’s Card https://leofrank.info/lanford-silent-on-rossers-card/ Fri, 24 Mar 2017 12:00:01 +0000 https://leofrank.info/?p=12571

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

The Atlanta Constitution

June 11, 1913

Detective Chief Says He Has No Reply to Make to the Charges of Counsel for Leo M. Frank.

Following the public letter written yesterday by Luther Z. Rosser, counsel for Leo Frank, Detective Chief Newport Lanford said that he had no reply to make to the charges and that hereafter he intended to adopt a policy of silence.

The chief smiled frequently while reading the attorney’s statement, but be positively declined to comment on it.

“Henceforth,” he stated briefly, “It will be the attitude of the detective department to avoid publicity. It should have been done heretofore.”

Lanford declared that Rosser’s card is only an attempt to draw the detective chief into a newspaper controversy, which he intended to avert.

“It is all a scheme—nothing else,” he said, “and I do not propose to be made a victim.”

The statement of Frank’s counsel is a scathing arraignment of Chief Lanford and his department for alleged efforts to prove guilty a white man, against whom prejudice had been created, through the “lying” stories of a negro, against whom all “legitimate” suspicion already was directed.

It follows:

Mr. Rosser’s Statement.

Editor, Atlanta Constitution: Felder and Lanford, in an effort to make progress in their feud, charge each other with giving aid to Leo Frank. Lanford charges that Felder was employed by Frank and is seeking for that reason to shield him. Felder charges Lanford and his associates are also seeking, for some reason, to shield and protect Frank.

Both charges are untrue and, at a time when no harm could come to an innocent man, might well be treated antidotes to monotony.

Unfortunately, however, the present situation is such that fair-minded citizens may be misled by these counter charges.

Felder does not, nor has he at any time, directly or indirectly, represented Frank. For Lanford to charge the contrary does Frank a serious injustice.

Felder Against Frank.

If Chief Lanford had been in a sane, normal mood, he would have known that every act of Felder has been against Frank. The engagement of the Burns agency ought to have satisfied Lanford. No detective agency of half prudence would have double-crossed the Atlanta department in the Phagan case. Nor did Felder have excuse for suspicion against Lanford. There was reason to suspect his fairness, his accuracy and the soundness of his methods, but not his reckless zeal against Frank.

Had Felder been in a calm mood I am sure he would never have charged the chief and his associates with intention to help Frank.

Lanford at once, as soon as Felder charged him with favoring Frank, settled in his mind the guilt of Frank, and from that monent has bent every energy of his department, not in finding the murderer, but in trying to prove to the public that Felder was wrong in charging him with trying to shield Frank.

Leo Frank’s Past.

His department has exhausted itself in an effort to fix upon Frank an immoral life, on the theory that a violator of the seventh commandment was likewise a murderer. This effort has failed. No man in Atlanta has had his moral character subjected to such a test and there is not in the whole city of Atlanta a half dozen men who could have more successfully stood the test.

His employees, without a single exception, have made affidavits to his uprightness. Lanford’s department subpoenaed every one of them before the coroner’s jury, and after keeping them more than two days did not dare to swear a single one of them.

Before and after the coroner’s verdict this whole city has been combed with a fine tooth comb and a like combing has been applied to Brooklyn, the city of his birth, to find something against his moral character. With what result? The silence of the detective department gives the answer.

“Drivel and Nonsense.”

Lanford’s conduct in connection wtih the woman Formby and the negro Conley shows that he was stung by Felder’s charge that he was favoring Frank, or that for some other reason he was temporarily out of his head.

He swallowed whole the statements of this Formby woman, bearing upon their face the clear proof that they were by no means to be believed.
This woman was not unknown to Lanford. She did not entrap him by appearing under the guise of a truthful, sober virtuous woman. But so absorbed was he, either in trying to disprove Felder’s charge or in the foolish pride of opinion that he accepted without doubt or fair investigation the drived and nonsense of this woman.

So far beside himself did he become that he had the folly to furnish to the papers, based upon this woman’s statement, the theory that Frank, during the night of the murder, wishing to rid himself of the body, was seeking to do so in a room rented from this woman.

The folly and difficulties of the theory did not disturb Lanford. They would have disturbed anybody but Lanford. His insane desire to justify himself cleared the matter of all difficulties and follies.

Conley an Ignorant Negro.

If the case of the Formby woman did not clear Lanford of Felder’s charge, that of the Conley negro ought to have done so.

Conley is a very ordinary, ignorant, brutal negro, not unacquainted with the stockade. His actions immediately after the crime were suspicious. So much so that they attracted the attention of the employees of the factory and occasioned general comment. In spite of these facts, Conley was not taken into custody until several days after the crime and not then until the employees of the factory caught him suspiciously washing a shirt and as a result reported him to the police. He was not brought before the coroner’s jury and practically no notice was taken of him in that investigation. So swiftly was Lanford and his associates pursuing Frank that they ran over this negro, standing in their path with the marks of guilt clearly upon him.

Finally, the pressure of public suspicion brought this negro to Lanford’s attention. Conley began to talk and negro-like to talk so as to protect himself and as a means thereto to cast suspicion upon some one else. Ordinarily the detectives could be trusted not to aid the negro in an effort to clear himself by placing the crime on a white man, but in this case it is to be feared that the negro was not discouraged. Lanford had finally banked all his sense, all his reputation as a man and a politician upon Frank’s guilt and it would be remarkable if the discouraged this negro from involving Frank. If Lanford and his followers had acted wisely, and kept open minds seeking only the murderer and not seeking to vindicate their announced opinions the negro would have by this hold the whole truth.

Conley made one statement. It did not meet the announced opinions of Lanford. He made another. This second was not up to the mark, it did not sufficiently show Frank’s guilt. Another was made, which was supposed to be nearer the mark. Whereupon there was great rejoicing. Forgetting all others, this last statement—reached through such great tribulations—was proclaimed the truth, the last truth and that there would be no other statement.

The detectives had at last got the statement which they thought sustained their views, saved their reputations and insured their places.

Full of Contradictions.

But what a statement! So full of contradictions, so evidently made for self protection and wherein was so easily apparent the guiding hand of detectives. If Lanford meant to be fair, if was only seeking the truth, why did he rush into print with the assertion that this statement was the truth and therefore of necessity the last? Might he not in decency have left this negro to his own will unbiased by the opinion that the statement was true and the last to be given? Who knows but that this negro might have given numerous other statements if he had not been so heavily handicapped by Lanford’s opinion.

The truth is this negro is not to give any other or further statement if the detective department can prevent, unless made under their supervision and direction. He must, at all times, be under the influence and control of Lanford. He must have Lanford’s sucking bottle at all times to his lips, sucking Lanford’s views and theories of this case. The ragged places in his statement must be darned, the torn places patched and no one but the detective department could be trusted to do that.

Thinks Conley Guilty.

No one has been rude enough to bring this negro before the grand jury nor indeed to make any charge against him.

After the statement of this negro and in view of all the evidence which so strongly points to him as the slayer of little Mary Phagan, is the grand jury to leave him without charge or investigation to be wet nursed by Lanford until Frank’s trial?

Or is it the purpose to keep the negro’s case from the grand jury in the nature of an offered reward to spur him on to swear his worst against the white man?

Would it not be just and decent to bring this negro’s case before the grand jury and let that body hear his confession so that it can then decide whether the negro should then be indicted?
In the shadow of this great crime let there be no thimble-ringing; let no single fact be concealed; let no man’s place or reputation stand in the way of the fullest, fairest investigation.

Respectfully,

(Signed) LUTHER Z. ROSSER.

* * *

The Atlanta Constitution, June 11th 1913, “Lanford Silent on Rosser’s Card,” Leo Frank case newspaper article series (Original PDF)

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Indictment of Felder and Fain Asked https://leofrank.info/indictment-of-felder-and-fain-asked/ Fri, 24 Mar 2017 03:36:14 +0000 https://leofrank.info/?p=12568

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

The Atlanta Georgian

June 10, 1913

Assistant Solicitor E. A. Stephens virtually admitted this afternoon that Police Commissioner W. P. Fain had been indicted. There was a division of the vote, it was said, but the majority was for indictment.

With blank bills of indictment against Attorney Thomas B. Felder and Police Commissioner W. P. Fain under consideration, the vice probe by the Fulton County Grand Jury took a sensational turn Tuesday.

Two witnesses told of disorder and rowdyism in a house at 40 East Harris Street, in which the Police Commissioner was said to have been involved.

The disorder, they said, occurred first just after the Christmas holidays, and when a call officer went to investigate, the Police Commissioner escaped arrest by getting in telephone communication with the department.

The witnesses said a reputation of the orgies occurred in April, with Commissioner Fain as a participant, and that although the disorder was of an aggravated form, the Commissioner again escaped arrest.

Felder Witness Missing.

When the Grand Jury began consideration of the charge against Colonel Felder for carrying concealed weapons, one witness gave the attorney a clean bill of health and the other and most important one could not be found.

Circumstances on which the bill of indictment was predicated transpired about a week ago in the Grand Jury waiting room, when hot words passed between Colonel Felder and Newport Lanford, chief of detectives.

Trouble between the attorney and the detective was averted by the timely interference of friends. Later the charge was advanced that Colonel Felder attempted to draw a weapon, and this morning the Grand Jury began consideration of a blanket indictment to that effect.

Dr. Horace Grant, who stepped between Felder and Lanford and ended the threatened fray, was sought as the principal witness, but when the Grand Jury wanted him to-day he was not there. A most rigid search of all places where he could likely be found proved fruitless.

Says He Saw No Weapon.

Henry Bellingrath, the one witness examined by the Grand Jury in the Felder case, said he saw no weapon either before, during or after the altercation between Felder and Lanford. He then was asked if some of Colonel Felder’s friends had not retired with him to an ante room and relieved him of a pistol, and he replied in the negative.

Since Dr. Horace Grant can not be found, and the only other witness gives Colonel Felder a clean bill, it looks as if no indictment against the attorney will be returned.

The Grand Jury then plunged into the vice problem. Carl Hutcheson, a legal attache of Colonel Felder’s office, who attacked the competency of Chief of Police Beavers, was the first witness. He was first questioned about the house at 95 Spring Street.

The Grand Jury was trying to obtain new evidence in the case Mrs. N. P. Powell, who was given a four months’ sentence. Police Chief Beavers charged the courts for many months blocked his closing of the place.

No Specific Accusation.

It also was understood that Hutcheson gave no evidence against any particular party, but that he gave much general information and furnished the Grand Jury a list of witnesses who, he said, could aid in making cases against specific individuals.

The two witnesses testifying in the case of Police Commissioner Fain were J. A. Skaggs, an agent of the Southern Express Company, and Allen Young, a real estate man. Both told similar stories to the Grand Jury.

Just after the Christmas holidays Skaggs and Young said, they complained to the Police Commission of a fight and general disorder in the house at 40 East Harris Street, charging Police Commissioner Fain with being a principal. While the disorder was in progress, they testified,[…]

Continued on Page 2, Column 5.

INDICTMENT OF WILLIAM FAIN IS ASKED

Police Commissioner Accused of Misdemeanor for Alleged Occurence in Resort.

Continued From Page 1.

Call Officer W. F. Anderson went to the Harris Street address, but Commissioner Fain telephoned to the police station and fixed matters up, so that no arrest followed.

Assistant Chief E. L. Jett and Police Captain W. M. Mayo were on the desk. With these facts before them, so Skaggs and Young told the Grand Jury, the Police Commissioners promised such things would not happen again if they would refrain from making a case against Fain.

In April, however, Skaggs and Young testified to-day, disorder in a more aggravated form occurred at the same address, with Fain as a principal, and a police call officer was sent to investigate. He found Fain and a woman alone in the house, the woman being drunk and badly beaten up; but again no arrests were made.

Assistant Chief E. L. Jett and Captain W. M. Mayo, who were in charge at headquarters each time Fain was said to have been at the Harris Street address, were the next witnesses called.

A blank bill of indictment, charging Colonel T. B. Felder with a misdemeanor in the carrying of concealed weapons, was presented to the Grand Jury when it met Tuesday morning in the Thrower Building.

The indictment is another chapter in the sensational Felder-Lanford controversy, which had its beginning in the publication of the details of a dictograph plot to obtain bribery evidence against Colonel Felder.

A personal clash between Chief of Detectives Lanford and Colonel Felder during the Grand Jury hearing gave rise to the present action. Criminations and recriminations were flying back and forth when the two men leaped from their chairs in an ante-room and started toward one another.

Felder’s hand is said to have reached toward his hip pocket. Dr. Horace Grant, who stepped between the angry men, has been subpoenaed as the principal witness, and it is understood that he will testify he saw the weapon exposed when Felder reached toward his pocket.

The Vice Probe.

That the vice probe will be conducted with unabated vigor by the Grand Jury was indicated by the drawing of a blank bill of indictment against Mrs. N. P. Powell, convicted last week as the proprietor of a disorderly house and sentenced to twelve months in jail.

Many witnesses were on hand to testify against Mrs. Powell, and it is understood that many others will be named for indictment by the Grand Jury before the session is concluded. It is the intention of the Grand Jury to make the most thorough and sweeping sort of an investigation of the reports of widespread immorality in the city.

Exception was taken to the statement of Chief Beavers that he was prevented from closing of the most notorious resort in the city through an injunction of the Superior Court. It will be the purpose of the Grand Jury to show that the courts are not interfering in the closing of the immoral resorts.

Fain Also Accused.

Another blank indictment in the wholesale vice probe was drawn against W. F. Fain, a member of the Police Commission, the tale of whose alleged conduct in an Ivy Street resort startled the Grand Jury last week. Fain was charged with a misdemeanor in the bill, and it is understood that the alleged occurrence in this resort was the basis.

J. A. Skaggs, of the Southern Express Company, and Allen Young, a real estate agent, were subpoenaed as witnesses. Fain’s case was on the clendar after that of Colonel Felder.

All Witnesses Resummoned.

Practically every witness who had testified was summoned again late Monday afternoon. Although neither Foreman L. H. Beck nor Solicitor Hugh M. Dorsey would discuss the meeting, witnesses themselves were certain the jury had reached an eleventh-hour decision to make an exhaustive investigation of alleged vice conditions.

Chief of Police James L. Beavers, A. S. Colyar, Jr., and Colonel Thomas B. Felder were the only witnesses not subpoenaed.

Carl Hutcheson, the young attorney who furnished the jury with a list of alleged “houses in our midst,” and who agitated a more thorough probe when the jury announced last week its investigation had been concluded, was one of the first to receive a summons.

Allen Young, real estate man, who was called before the jury to tell of an alleged fight in a disorderly house in which a man high up in police circles was said to have figure, was summoned to appear before the jury Wednesday. While a deputy was in his office with the subpoena, the Solicitor’s office telephoned him to appear before the jury Tuesday and again Wednesday.

J. E. Skaggs, agent for the Southern Express Company; Chief of Detectives Lanford, Assistant Chief of Police Ewell L. Jett, three other police officers and several women whose names have been handed Foreman L. H. Beck as being willing to tell of the existence of alleged disorderly houses, were other witnesses summoned.

One of the witnesses summoned was said to be Mrs. N. P. Powell, a pretty young woman who recently was sentenced to four months’ imprisonment for running a disorderly house at 95 Spring Street. When sentence was pronounced, she expressed a willingness to testify before the Grand Jury. Her name was furnished the foreman in a letter urging him to have her come before the body.

Whether the foreman intends to make a further and more exhaustive probe of conditions in Atlanta with a view to making a comprehensive presentment, or the Solicitor summoned the witnesses with a view of setting indictments, could not be learned.

Former Burns Man Called.

A new figure in the Felder-Colyar-Lanford dictograph contorversy, whose name had never been mentioned, was summoned on Tuesday morning to appear before the Fulton County Grand Jury.

He is G. C. Carson, formerly a Burns detective and now in the employ of an Atlanta law firm. According to statements he made Tuesday afternoon, he will tell the Grand Jury that he was present at an interview between Thomas B. Felder and G. C. Febuary shortly after the publication of the alleged dictograph records, in which Febuary told Colonel Felder that the dictograph affair was a frame-up and promised to come to Felder’s office and make an affidavit to that effect.

Carson, who says he is an intimate friend of Febuary, declares that the latter never went to Felder’s office.

Carson declares also that if asked to do so by the Grand Jury, he can shed more light on the vice situation. He claims to know of the existence of gambling houses in Atlanta, and claims he has visited them in company with city detectives, and that he has seen detectives in the places drinking with women.

Hotels Asked to Aid Vice War.

Recorder Broyles has called on small hotel keepers to aid Chief Beavers in suppressing vice in Atlanta. In a statement from the bench he said co-operation of hotel proprietors would result not only in accomplishing great good, but would deprive “Carl Hutcheson and that Philadelphia preacher” of so much to talk about.

Carl Hutcheson recently attracted attention by charging the chief with failure to suppress vice, later testifying before the Grand Jury, where he was supposed to have divulged a list of immoral houses.

The “Philadelphia preacher” is the Rev. Zane Batten, who was reported having declared nineteen women accosted him in one night in Atlanta, but who afterward said it was two friends of his who had been solicited.

Recorder Broyles’ observations from the bench were made late Monday afternoon in the trial of J. T. Mangum, manager of the Albian Hotel, charged with running a disorderly house. He was bound over under $250 bond. Two couples arrested in the hotel were fined $15.75 each.

Recorder Broyles said:

“You hotel proprietors, particularly the small ones, could aid us in cleaning up Atlanta if you only would. If the hotel proprietors would do their part it would be of the greatest assistance to Chief Beavers in his great work of keeping Atlanta clean.”

* * *

The Atlanta Georgian, June 10th 1913, “Indictment of Felder and Fain Asked,” Leo Frank case newspaper article series (Original PDF)

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Eyewitness to Phagan Slaying Sought https://leofrank.info/eyewitness-to-phagan-slaying-sought/ Thu, 23 Mar 2017 17:00:42 +0000 https://leofrank.info/?p=12507

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

Atlanta Georgian

Tuesday, June 10th, 1913

Story That Companion of Conley Saw Him Strike Down Girl Opens New Clews.

Jim Conley, whose sensational story has made him an accessory after the fact in the murder of Mary Phagan, is sticking closely to the details he unfolded in his remarkable affidavit, according to his attorney, William M. Smith.

Mr. Smith said Tuesday morning that Conley has varied in no essential particular from the original tale of his part in the disposal of the body of the strangled girl, under the direction of Leo Frank. To Mr. Smith and others who have interviewed the negro in the last few days he has begun at the moment when he says he saw the little form lying limp and inert at the rear of the second floor, until he declares he wrote the mysterious notes at Frank’s dictation in the National Pencil factory office.

In all his story there has been practically no conflict or contradiction with the affidavit to which he swore before the detectives after a half day’s grilling. Mr. Smith said he believed his client was telling the whole truth.

Actual Witness Sought.

Despite the unshakable story of Conley, as he told it after making previous statements admittedly lies, a rumor has been in persistent circulation since last week that the detectives were seeking an actual witness to the crime. It is said such a person exists, and that he is a negro who shot craps with Conley in the basement of the factory on the day of the murder.

The rumor has it that this negro won all of Conley’s money, and that he saw Conley in a half-drunken fury strike down the little Phagan girl when she came down the stairs of the factory with her silver mesh bag in her hands.

Although it is reported that this negro has been apprehended and is even now in custody in Atlanta, the authorities deny any knowledge of such a person. Attorneys for Frank will admit only that they have heard of such rumors, but they assert that they have no definite knowledge of the arrest of a negro who is said to have been an actual witness of the killing. It is understood, however, that they believe there is such a person. They are confident that Conley committed the horrible deed and that he had a witness or accomplice.

Leo Frank Still Silent.

Through all of the conflicting stories to which the excitement of the hunt for the slayer have given rise, Leo Frank has remained silent, his original story told before the Coroner’s jury undisturbed and uncontradicted in any detail. While the detectives have torn Conley’s first stories to shreds, they have be[e]n unable, so far as the public knows, to find a single misstatement in the story made by Frank at the inquest.

Since then, on the injunction of his counsel, Frank has had no comment to make. Stories have been spread that were most damaging to his general character but he has remained mute. He has told his friends that he will have a story to tell at the proper time and that it will be so fully substantiated that there will be no doubt of his innocence.

Frank has made no public announcement of the fact, but it is known that he privately has signified his willingness to confront Conley and listen to the negro’s story, and to repeat his own, if desired. His only stipulation is that the meeting shall not be in the nature of one of the star chamber sessions at police headquarters, at which the detectives only are present. Frank would insist that certain public officers be present so that there would be no opportunity for the manufacture of evidence colored in any particular. With these men present, he has said that he would be willing to be questioned as freely as he was at the Coroner’s inquest.

* * *

Atlanta Georgian, June 10th 1913, “Eyewitness to Phagan Slaying Sought,” Leo Frank case newspaper article series (Original PDF)

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Leo Frank Reported Ready for His Trial https://leofrank.info/leo-frank-reported-ready-for-his-trial/ Thu, 23 Mar 2017 12:00:48 +0000 https://leofrank.info/?p=12543

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

Atlanta Constitution

Tuesday, June 10, 1913

Many Witnesses Are Being Examined Every Day by Attorneys for the Defense

That counsel for Leo Frank is ready for trial was freely reported over the city Monday.

Attorney Luther Z. Rosser, his lawyer, when asked regarding this report, gave the reply that has been characteristic of his attitude during the Phagan case.

“I have nothing to say.” He would in nowise commit himself.

It is understood, however, that Mr. Rosser has informed friends that the defense is ready and that there will be no delay in putting it before the jury, which is to try the pencil factory superintendent. In fact, it is stated Frank’s counsel is desirous of an early trial.

Many witnesses are being examined daily by Frank’s attorneys. Pencil plant employees and character witnesses by scores will assist his counsel. Secrecy is thrown around the nature of all testimony.

Chief Lanford said Monday that he had finished examining Jim Conley, the negro sweeper, and that unless the prisoner called for detectives to make further voluntary admissions, he would not again be questioned.

Detectives Harry Scott and John Black spent the early part of last night searching for the victim’s mesh bag. After hours of hunting on the premises of the pencil plant, they were unable to discover a clew. The bag is wanted to examine the finger prints on it.

* * *

Atlanta Constitution, June 10th 1913, “Leo Frank Reported Ready for His Trial,” Leo Frank case newspaper article series (Original PDF)

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Defense to Make Next Move in Phagan Case https://leofrank.info/defense-to-make-next-move-in-phagan-case/ Thu, 23 Mar 2017 00:00:33 +0000 https://leofrank.info/?p=12503

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

Atlanta Journal

Monday, June 9th, 1913

Apparently Prosecuting Officials Consider Their Investigation Complete

Chief of Detectives Lanford has announced that Jim Conley, the negro sweeper, who is the state’s principal witness in the case against Leo M. Frank, indicted for the murder of Mary Phagan, will not be cross-examined again unless he voluntarily sends for the officers to make a statement.

It is known that no developments have changed the theory of the prosecuting authorities, and it is apparent from the remark of Chief Lanford and other statements that the officials consider the investigation of the Phagan murder as complete, and are now waiting for the big legal fight to be staged before Judge L. S. Roan probably on Monday, June 30.

With the state “resting on its oars,” it is naturally expected that the next move, if there is to be one, will come from the defense of Mr. Frank.

To forecast any “move” which may be made by the defense before the case actually comes before the court, is a difficult proposition since Luther Z. Rosser, the leading counsel, continues silent.

It is known that friends of the accused man have been actively at work in his behalf, but what they have developed remains a matter for conjectures.

Frank spent a quiet day in the tower Sunday and was visited by his wife and quite a number of the friends, who are standing by him in his trouble.

R. P. Barrett, one of the foreman at the National Pencil factory, and the man who found the strands of hair on the lathe in the metal room, has issued a statement giving his reason for sharing the opinion of practically all of the pencil factory employees, that the negro Conley is guilty of the crime with which the factory superintendent is charged.

* * *

Atlanta Journal, June 9th 1913, “Defense to Make Next Move in Phagan Case,” Leo Frank case newspaper article series (Original PDF)

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Foreman Tells Why He Holds Conley Guilty https://leofrank.info/foreman-tells-why-he-holds-conley-guilty/ Wed, 22 Mar 2017 21:00:59 +0000 https://leofrank.info/?p=12498

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

Atlanta Georgian

Monday, June 9th, 1913

R. P. Barrett, in Letter to Georgian, Gives Reasons for Suspecting Negro of Crime.

R. P. Barrett, foreman of the metal department at the National Pencil Factory, in a letter to The Georgian Monday, gives his reasons for believing that Jim Conley, negro sweeper at the plant, attacked and strangled Mary Phagan.

It was Barrett who found the strands of hair on the lathing machine in his department. This is supposed to be where the girl was thrown against the machine in her struggles.

Later Barrett testified positively that the blood stains in the second floor were not there before the crime. He is certain that the girl was attacked on the second floor and just as certain that Conley, not Frank was the slayer.

The letter reads:

Editor The Georgian:

I would like to make a statement in regard to the Mary Phagan murder.

Sees Motive for Notes.

If Jim Conley found Mary’s body in the plating department near the ladies’ toilet, why wasn’t blood found on the floor there? He said that he carried the dead girl to where the blood was found, but it looks to me as though he must have let her fall with some force to cause all of that blood when there was none where he says she was found.

If Jim Conley wrote that note reading “that long tall black negro did this by hisself,” it looks like to me as though it were a trap to catch “Snowball,” the elevator boy, but “Snowball’s” handwriting does not correspond with Conley’s or Newt Lee’s, and I guess Jim had to switch onto another track and lay the blame on Frank.

It looks shaky to me. I don’t think that Mr. Frank would stand at the head of the stairs and let Jim holler, “Come on and help me; she is too heavy.” Nor do I think that Mr. Frank would carry the dead girl to the elevator when there were people working on the top floor who might come down at any minute and see him carrying the body. It seems to me that if Mr. Frank committed the murder of Mary Phagan, he would have left her body in the metal department. No, Jim carried her to the basement, where the night watchman found the body, and I will tell you how he found it.

Why Did He Go to Basement?

He went from the second floor down one flight of stairs, then crawled through the scuttle hole, about 2 1-2 feet square, and went down the ladder into the basement. Then he walked about 125 feet to the dingy toilet and he saw the body about 20 feet from there, for there is a toilet on every floor. There is no clock in the basement to punch and Lee had no fire to make in the boiler, it being Sunday morning. Why at this particular time did he go to this part of the basement?

Why did Jim Conley come down to the metal department the day that he was arrested? He came down to wash his shirt. Why didn’t he do that on some other floor? He knows that he came in our department to watch and see if they had found Mary’s hat and shoe. He probably knew that they had not found her money, for money is not a good thing to lay around.

Frank is Optimistic.

Leo M. Frank maintained his cheerful and optimistic attitude during the visits of many of his friends and relatives Sunday and Monday. Thirty persons were admitted to the Tower to see him on the Sabbath. Among them was Mrs. Frank, with whom he dined in the afternoon.

He had little to say to any of his visitors directly in regard to the charges which have been made against him. He declared, however, that he was awaiting his trial with every expectation of receiving complete vindication. He said that he believed not only that his own innocence would be proved, but that the guilt would be fixed upon the real author of the crime.

Frank’s appearance beats out his statement that he is not worrying about the outcome. He is a man of silence. He has done no talking since he was lodged in a cell at the county jail—that is, he has had nothing to say in regard to the crime. Of other things he has talked freely to all who have visited him.

“I have told my story completely and in detail,” he says to all who seek to get him to talk. “I will tell the same story, no matter how often I have to repeat it. It is the absolute truth, and it is impossible, therefore, to trap me on any of its details.”

Newt Lee takes his confinement philosophically, even though no charge is held against him. He is willing to stay in jail and be well fed and well cared for until he is called to appear in court as a material witness.

* * *

Atlanta Georgian, June 9th 1913, “Foreman Tells Why He Holds Conley Guilty,” Leo Frank case newspaper article series (Original PDF)

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Luther Z. Rosser, Attorney for Frank, Trains His Guns on City Detective Chief https://leofrank.info/luther-z-rosser-attorney-for-frank-trains-his-guns-on-city-detective-chief/ Wed, 22 Mar 2017 12:00:11 +0000 https://leofrank.info/?p=12552

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

The Atlanta Journal

Tuesday, June 10, 1913

SAYS CHIEF LANFORD IS NOT SEEKING FOR TRUTH OF MURDER

He Charges That the Detective Chief Has Banked His Sense and Reputation on Proving Frank Guilty

“WHY HASN’T CONLEY BEEN BEFORE JURY?”

Attorney Declares Evidence All Points to Negro—Says Felder-Lanford Controversy Unfair to His Client

Luther Z. Rosser, chief counsel for Leo M. Frank, the pencil factory superintendent, who is under indictment for the murder of Mary Phagan, Tuesday afternoon broke his persistent silence regarding the case and gave out a statement for publication.

Mr. Rosser gives as a reason for this statement the fact that Thomas B. Felder has publicly charged Detective Chief Lanford with trying to shield Frank and that the detective chief has in turn publicly accused Felder with having been employed in the interest of Frank.

The accuracy of both charges is denied. Mr. Rosser asserts that Chief Lanford has “banked his sense and reputation as both a man and politician on Frank’s guilt,” and that if he had been seeking the murderer of Mary Phagan with an open mind and not seeking to vindicate his announced opinion of Frank’s guilt, the negro Conley would have already told the whole truth.

Mr. Rosser declares that both the actions and statements of the negro Conley bear the marks of guilt. He states that in making his revelations concerning the murder, Conley is handicapped by Lanford’s opinion.

Mr. Rosser inquires why it was the detectives did not present Conley as a witness before the coroner’s jury and why they now prevent him from telling his story to the grand jury, which he says should determine whether the negro should be indicted, and if so on what count.

MR. ROSSER’S STATEMENT.

Following is Mr. Rosser’s statement in full:

Editor, The Journal.

Felder and Lanford, in an effort to make progress in their feud, charge each the other with giving aid to Leo Frank. Lanford charges that Felder was employed by Frank and is seeking for that reason to shield him. Felder charges that Lanford and his associates are also seeking for some reason to shield and protect Frank.

Both charges are untrue, and at a time when no harm could come to an innocent man, might well be treated as antidotes to monotony.

Unfortunately, however, the present situation is such that fair-minded citizens may be misled by these counter charges.

Felder does not, nor has he at any time, directly or indirectly represented Frank. For Lanford to charge the contrary does Frank a serious injustice.

If Chief Lanford had been in a sane, normal mood, he would have known that every act of Felder has been against Frank. The engagement of the Burns agency other to have satisfied Lanford. No detective agency of half prudence would have double-crossed the Atlanta department in the Phagan case. Nor did Felder have excuse for suspicion against Lanford. There was reason to suspect his fairness, his accuracy and the soundness of his methods, but not his reckless zeal against Frank.

Had Felder been in a calm mood, I am sure he would never have charged the chief and his associates with intention to help Frank.

Lanford, at once as soon as Felder charged him with favoring Frank, settled in his mind the guilt of Frank and from that moment has vent every energy of his department, not in finding the murderer, but in trying to prove to the public that Felder was wrong in charging him with trying to shield Frank.

FRANK’S MORAL LIFE STANDS TEST
SAYS CHIEF LANFORD IS NOT SEEKING FOR TRUTH OF MURDER
(Continued From Page 1.)

His department has exhausted itself in an effort to fix upon Frank an immoral life, on the theory that a violator of the seventh commandment was likewise a murderer. This effort has failed. No man in Atlanta has had his moral character subjected to such a test and there is not in the whole city of Atlanta a half-dozen men who could have more successfully stood the test.

His employees, without a single exception, have made affidavits to his uprightness. Lanford’s department subpoenaed every one of them before the coroner’s jury, and after keeping them more than two days did not dare to swear a single one of them.

Before and after the coroner’s verdict, this whole city has been combed with a fine-tooth comb and a like combing has been applied to Brooklyn, the city of his birth, to find something against his moral character. With what result? The silence of the detective department gives the answer.

Lanford’s conduct in connection with the woman Formby and the negro Conley shows that he was stung by Felder’s charge that he was favoring Frank, or that for some reason he was temporarily out of his head.

He swallowed whole the statement of this Formby woman, bearing upon their face the clear proof that they were by no means to be believed.

This woman was not unknown to Lanford. She did not entrap him by appearing under the guise of a truthful, sober virtuous woman. But so absorbed was he, either in trying to disprove Felder’s charge or in the foolish pride of opinion that he accepted without doubt or fair investigation the drived and nonsense of this woman.

LANFORD’S FOOLISH THEORY.

So far beside himself did he become that he had the folly to furnish to the papers, based upon this woman’s statement, the theory that Frank, during the night of the murder, wishing to rid himself of the body, was seeking to do so in a room rented from this woman.

The folly and difficulties of the theory did not disturb Lanford. They would have disturbed anybody but Lanford. His insane desire to justify himself cleared the matter of all difficulties and follies.

If the case of the Formby woman did not clear Lanford of Felder’s charge, that of the Conley negro ought to have done so.

Conley is a very ordinary, ignorant, brutal negro, not unacquainted with the stockade. His actions immediately after the crime were suspicious. So much so that they attracted the attention of the employees of the factory and occasioned general comment. In spite of these facts, Conley was not taken into custody until several days after the crime and not then until the employees of the factory caught him suspiciously washing a shirt and as a result reported him to the police. He was not brought before the coroner’s jury and practically no notice was taken of him in that investigation. So swiftly was Lanford and his associates pursuing Frank that they ran over this negro, standing in their path with the marks of guilt clearly upon him.

Finally, the pressure of public suspicion brought this negro to Lanford’s attention. Conley began to talk and negro-like to talk so as to protect himself and as a means thereto to cast suspicion upon some one else. Ordinarily the detectives could be trusted not to aid the negro in an effort to clear himself by placing the crime on a white man, but in this case it is to be feared that the negro was not discouraged. Lanford had finally banked all his sense, all his reputation as a man and a politician upon Frank’s guilt and it would be remarkable if the discouraged this negro from involving Frank. If Lanford and his followers had acted wisely, and kept open minds seeking only the murderer and not seeking to vindicate their announced opinions the negro would have by this hold the whole truth.

CONLEY’S MANY STATEMENTS

Conley made one statement. It did not meet the announced opinions of Lanford. He made another. This second was not up to the mark, it did not sufficiently show Frank’s guilt. Another was made, which was supposed to be nearer the mark. Whereupon there was great rejoicing. Forgetting all others, this last statement—reached through such great tribulations—was proclaimed the truth, the last truth and that there would be no other statement.

The detectives had at last got the statement which they thought sustained their views, saved their reputations and insured their places.

But what a statement! So full of contradictions, so evidently made for self protection and wherein was so easily apparent the guiding hand of detectives. If Lanford meant to be fair, if was only seeking the truth, why did he rush into print with the assertion that this statement was the truth and therefore of necessity the last? Might he not in decency have left this negro to his own will unbiased by the opinion that the statement was true and the last to be given? Who knows but that this negro might have given numerous other statements if he had not been so heavily handicapped by Lanford’s opinion.

“LANFORD’S SUCKING BOTTLE.”

The truth is this negro is not to give any other or further statement if the detective department can prevent, unless made under their supervision and direction. He must, at all times, be under the influence and control of Lanford. He must have Lanford’s sucking bottle at all times to his lips, sucking Lanford’s views and theories of this case. The ragged places in his statement must be darned, the torn places patched and no one but the detective department could be trusted to do that.

No one has been rude enough to bring this negro before the grand jury nor indeed to make any charge against him.

After the statement of this negro and in view of all the evidence which so strongly points to him as the slayer of little Mary Phagan, is the grand jury to leave him without charge or investigation to be wet nursed by Lanford until Frank’s trial?

Or is it the purpose to keep the negro’s case from the grand jury in the nature of an offered reward to spur him on to swear his worst against the white man?

Would it not be just and decent to bring this negro’s case before the grand jury and let that body hear his confession so that it can then decide whether the negro should then be indicted?

In the shadow of this great crime let there be no thimble-ringing; let no single fact be concealed; let no man’s place or reputation stand in the way of the fullest, fairest investigation.

Respectfully,
Luther Z. Rosser

* * *

Atlanta Journal, June 10th 1913, “Luther Z. Rosser, Attorney for Frank, Trains His Guns on City Detective Chief,” Leo Frank case newspaper article series (Original PDF)

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Solicitor Makes No Reply to Mrs. Frank https://leofrank.info/solicitor-makes-no-reply-to-mrs-frank/ Wed, 22 Mar 2017 02:25:55 +0000 https://leofrank.info/?p=12539

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

Atlanta Journal

Sunday, June 8, 1913

Hugh M. Dorsey Has No Comment to Make on Mrs. Frank’s Letter

Solicitor General Hugh M. Dorsey has declined to make any answer to the published statement of Mrs. Leo M. Frank, charging him with allowing the use of “torture” to force people to make false statements against her husband, who is charged by a grand jury indictment with the murder of Mary Phagan.

In her statement, Mrs. Frank flayed the solicitor general, charging that it is evident from his card that he believes that he is perfectly justifiable in using testimony procured from witnesses by torture.

While the statement of the accused man’s wife is directed at the solicitor general, she pays her respects to the city detectives in no uncertain terms, and she speaks often on the “detectives’ torture chamber.”

According to the authorities, there have been no recent developments in the Phagan murder investigation, and the state and the defense are both lending their energies towards preparation for the trial of Frank, which will be fixed for June 30, it is said.

The trial is certain to be a tremendous legal battle, and it is probable that several attorneys will be engaged to assist Luther Z. Rosser and Herbert Haas in the defense and the solicitor general in the prosecution. Both Mr. Dorsey and Mr. Rosser decline to discuss in any way their preparations for the trial.

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Atlanta Journal, June 8th 1913, “Solicitor Makes No Reply to Mrs. Frank,” Leo Frank case newspaper article series (Original PDF)

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Lanford Answers Felder’s Charge https://leofrank.info/lanford-answers-felders-charge/ Tue, 14 Mar 2017 23:33:33 +0000 https://leofrank.info/?p=12513

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

Atlanta Constitution

Sunday, June 8, 1913

Declares That He Has Never Seen Gentry But Once in His Life.

“Tom Felder is a contemptible liar,” blazed Chief Lanford last night when informed of the contents of Colonel Felder’s letter directed to him through The Constitution. “I never saw this Gentry but once in my life, and that was before this dictagraph exposure ever happened. I have never seen him since.

“Gentry telephoned police headquarters Saturday, a week ago, however, and asked for Febuary, my secretary. Febuary happened not to be in at the time. I answered the telephone. Gentry wanted to know if a warrant was out against him. I told him I did not think there was, and that he had done nothing for which a warrant could be issued against him.

“I informed him that if a warrant was served on him, for him to notify me and I would help him out of his trouble. That was the last I heard of him until he left town. I did not have a thing to do with his departure. I have been trying to locate him, and wish I did know his whereabouts. I would bring him back to Atlanta and show by him that the charges that the dictagraph notes were padded is a lie from beginning to end.

“Felder’s row is hoed—he’s at his rope’s end. Give him rope enough and he’ll hang himself. He’s doing it now.”

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Atlanta Constitution, June 8th 1913, “Lanford Answers Felder’s Charge,” Leo Frank case newspaper article series (Original PDF)

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