Find Guilty Man, Frank’s Lawyer Told Pinkertons

Find Guilty ManAnother in our series of new transcriptions of contemporary articles on the Leo Frank case.

Atlanta Constitution

Monday, May 12th, 1913

“You Are Employed to Hunt Down Murderer, It Matters Not Who He Is,” Luther Rosser Informs Detectives.


Solicitor Dorsey States That He Wants All the Evidence Ready to Submit to Jurors Before Opening Hearing.

Officials of the Pinkerton National Detective agency, who were brought into the Phagan case through Leo M. Frank, recently went to authorities of the National Pencil company. It is stated, and in the presence of Leo M. Frank’s counsel, Luther Z. Rosser, said:

“We want to make our position clear. The Pinkertons have been employed to apprehend the murderer of Mary Phagan. That is our intention, and if anybody can find her slayer we can. Shall we continue on the case?”

Mr. Rosser, who has been retained as Frank’s attorney since the superintendent was first arrested, spoke up:

“Find the murderer of Mary Phagan. Work in co-operation with the police—work with anyone, work any way which might lead you to success. Let your chips fall where they may. You are employed to hunt the murderer until he is found and convicted. It matters not who is guilty.”

Five Men on Case.

Five picked men, under command of Assistant Superintendent Harry Scott, are working exclusively on the mystery. Scott, through Detective John Black, of headquarters, is working in co-operation with the police.

For several years Attorney Rosser has represented the National Pencil company, mostly in civil cases. When Frank, the plant superintendent, was first detained by the police, Mr. Rosser, in capacity of the concern’s counsel, was chosen to represent him. It has erroneously been reported that the well-known lawyer was retained personally by the suspected man, and was engaged when Frank was first detained.

The prisoner was visited in his cell at the Tower Sunday by Mr. Rosser. They were together only a short while. To a Constitution reporter, Mr. Rosser stated that he had only inquired about Frank’s health, and had not discussed the case. Among the large number of visitors to Frank during Sunday were several classmates of Cornell, of which college he is a graduate.

The Girl in Red.

The rumor that the “mysterious girl in red,” who is said to have appeared in a Marietta grocery store and announced that she had accompanied Mary Phagan to the pencil factory, had again shown up and told of her alleged visit with the victim to the plant, injected renewed energy into the widespread search for her.

A squad of detectives and members of the solicitor’s staff are scouring the community in and around Smyrna, Marietta, Mapleton and the neighboring section.

Because of their inability to find further clues of the mysterious girl’s identity, the sleuths are beginning to doubt her existence, and believe she is a product of some fanciful brain.

Grand Jury Will Act.

The mystery of Mary Phagan’s murder Sunday morning was fourteen days old. No progress was made throughout the day by either the solicitor’s staff or the detective department. It remains in precisely the same status as was reported by the Sunday newspapers.

Solicitor Dorsey stated last night, however, that he was undecided as to whether or not he would submit the case to the grand jury when it met this week. It would probably be next week, he said, before such action would be taken. This report will surprise the hundreds of persons who placed credence in the rumor that the Phagan case would go before the jury Monday morning.

Wants Substantial Case.

The solicitor’s plan in delaying, he said to a reporter for The Constitution, is to place his case upon a firm foundation before submitting it to the jurors.

He was asked if he did not think that the case against the superintendent and negro watchman, in its present state, was sufficient to merit indictments.

“No, I do not mean that,” he answered. “I will not commit myself in that respect. What I do mean, however, is that I desire to consider the case more carefully, sifting out the unimportant and building up the important details so as to expedite the work of the jury.”

The efforts of the solicitor on Sunday were confined to examining a number of men concerned in the mystery. He would not state the nature of the examinations, or divulge the names. They were of but little importance, though, he admitted.

Public Kept Well Informed.

Mr. Drosey, in surveying the significant evidence now at hand, stated that the public, through the newspapers, had been kept well informed of progress made by the detectives and members of his staff.

“The newspapers,” he said, “have kept admirably abreast of our investigation. There is little, if anything, to disclose in the line of new developments.”

Harry Scott, in command of the staff of Pinkerton men at work on the case, voiced the same opinion as held by the solicitor general.

“The press has informed the public of all the headway made in the Phagan mystery.”

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Atlanta Constitution, May 12th 1913, “Find Guilty Man, Frank’s Lawyer Told Pinkertons,” Leo Frank case newspaper article series (Original PDF)