Another in our series of new transcriptions of contemporary articles on the Leo Frank case.
Atlanta Georgian (Hearst’s Sunday American)
July 27th, 1913
This newspaper article is a continuation from the first page of an Atlanta Georgian newspaper. The first page is missing from our archives. If any readers know where to obtain the first part of this article, we would appreciate any help! Thank you!
[…] Mary Phagan by strangulation. This was followed by the request of the defense that the State’s witnesses be called, sworn and put under the rule.
The prosecution opened by announcing its readiness to go on with the trial and called the list of witnesses. Bailiffs brought them down from the second floor. In regular order called, their names were: Mrs. J. W. Coleman, mother of Mary Phagan; J. W. Coleman, the girl’s stepfather; George Epps, newsboy; L. S. Dobbs, policeman; W. W. Rogers, bailiff for constable; L. S. Starnes, detective and also prosecutor on the indictment; Pat Campbell, detective; Grace Hicks, girl who identified Mary Phagan’s body; J. M. Gantt, once held for inquiry, now supposed, to be a star witness for the prosecution; Harry Scott, the Pinkerton detective; R. P. Barrett, pencil factory employee; B. P. Haslett, policeman; M. [sic] V. Darley, factory employee; W. A. Gheesling, undertaker that cared for the girl’s body; Dr. Claude Smith, City Bacteriologist; Dr. H. F. Harris, member of the State Board of Health; Dr. J. W. Hurt, Coroner’s physician; E. L. Parry, court stenographer; E. S. Smith, Monteen Stover, girl employee at pencil factory; Minola McKnight, cook at Frank’s home; Albert McKnight, Minola’s husband (McKnight did not appear in court); Helen Ferguson, Mrs. Arthur White, wife of factory employee, and L. Stanford.
Agree on Conley Affidavits.
Attorney Reuben Arnold asked concerning the duces tecum that he had served on the State’s attorneys for the affidavits of Jim Conley and others. On the promise of Solicitor Dorsey that he would produce the affidavits whenever needed the duces tecum was waived.
Solicitor Dorsey said he did not concede the right of the defense to force a production of the affidavit. He, however, at the request of Mr. Arnold, dictated a statement giving the dates of each of the affidavits signed by Conley, saying they were all of the affidavits Conley had made and that he would produce them whenever necessary.
The Solicitor asked then that the defense’s witnesses be called and sworn. This was met by strenuous objection on the part of Attorneys Rosser and Arnold, who claimed their list was fragmentary.
Solicitor Dorsey protected vehemently, declaring that it would be extremely unfair to the State not to swear the defense’s witnesses at this time. Attorney Rosser said it would delay the trial to complete their list at this time.
Judge Roan ruled that he would give the defense time to get up the list. The defense capitulated and it took but five minutes for the list to be made up.
Witnesses for Defense.
Attorney Stiles Hopkins, at the table for the defense, called the names of the witnesses by whom they expect to clear Frank. They were Mary Burke, Dora Small, Ella Thomas, C. P. Gilbert, F. Payne, Eula Flowers, Josephine Stelker, Mattie Thompson, Mrs. L. J. Cohen, J. C. Lowe, M. H. Liebman, Miss Bessie White, Joe Williams, Fred Howell, Wade Campbell, J. A. Price, J. E. Lyon, Cora Lavender, M. O. Nix, J. C. Matthews, F. Jenkins, Mrs. Josephine Selig, E. Selig, J. H. Haas, W. H. Mincey, J. B. Spier, E. L. Skipper, E. L. Sentell, Mary Barrett, Rebecca Carson, C. H. Carson, Harry Denham, Corinthia Hall, Mattie Hall, J. L. Holloway, Mrs. George Jefferson, Jerome Michael, George W. Parrott, M. W. Morrow, Mrs. M. W. Morrow, Rabi David Marx, A. E. Mayo, Fred Weller, A. E. Marcus, Ed Montag, L. H. Haas, W. B. Owens, T. Y. Brent and Ossie Shields.
These were all of the witnesses whose names were called, but at least 100 more, who will be used mostly as character witnesses, were in the room passed the 60-year mark. Solicitor Dorsey put the questions, using the formal ones ask in murder trials.
Being conscientiously opposed to capital punishment or conviction by circumstantial evidence was held not to disqualify a juror by Judge Roan. This was in connection with O. T. Camp, the second talesman.
“I am conscientiously opposed to capital punishment on certain grounds,” said Camp.
“What are those grounds,” asked Solicitor Dorsey.
“Circumstantial evidence,” he replied.
Judge Sustains Defense.
“That disqualifies him then,” said Solicitor Dorsey.
Attorney Rosser objected, saying that such belief did not disqualify the juror. Judge Roan sustained the defense, but Solicitor Dorsey struck him.
A. W. Brewerton was disqualified because he was opposed to capital punishment.
W. H. Winn was struck, Solicitor Dorsey taking this action after looking over his record.
R. G. Elliot was struck by the defense.
L. A. Smith was struck for cause.
C. T. Hopkins, Jr., struck by State.
Not One Is Obtained.
W. E. Cates, disqualified because opposed to capital punishment.
T. G. Young, struck by defense.
D. D. Hewey, struck because he did not believe in capital punishment.
That ended the first panel of talesman and not a single juror was obtained. The State struck three and the defense two. Seven were disqualified for cause.
Four Juryman Obtained.
Four jurors were obtained from the second panel. They are:
A. H. Henslee, No. 74 Oak street, a salesman.
F. V. L. Smith, No. 481 Cherokee avenue, a manufacturers agent.
J. F. Higdon, 108 Ormewood avenue, a contractor.
F. E. Winburn, No. 21 Lucille avenue, a claim agent.
On the second panel the following men were struck:
Howard Oliver, by the defense.
H. E. Luckey, for cause.
O. L. Spurlin, No. 156 Lawton street, struck by defense.
H. A. Shide, for cause.
E. E. Hawkins, No. 369 Edgewood avenue, a negro, who was accepted by the prosecution, but struck by the defense.
L. F. Davis, for cause.
David Woodward, for cause.
M. J. Sewell, for cause.
Imposing Array of Counsel.
The buzz of conversation in the little courtroom instantly was hushed when Judge Roan appeared and Deputy Sheriff Plennie Miner called the court to order. The impanelling of jurors was begun at once.
Luther Z. Rosser, chief of counsel for Frank, pressed his way to the defense’s table just as Deputy Miner rapped for order. Solicitor Dorsey and his associates were at their table busily arranging papers and documents several minutes before the swearing of the veniremen began.
An imposing array of legal talent was presented when the case was called. Heading counsel for Frank were Rosser and Reuben R. Arnold, two of the foremost lawyers of the South. At their table were Herbert J. Haas, a civil attorney, who has been engaged in looking up character witnesses in behalf of Frank; Styles Hopkins of the Rosser & Brandon law firm; Oscar Simmons and Paul Goss, engaged especially to assist in picking the jury; George Cox, of Arnold & Arnold law firm, and Luther Z. Rosser, Jr.
Wife at Frank’s Side.
With Solicitor Dorsey were Frank A. Hooper, the brilliant attorney who made his reputation as a prosecutor in criminal cases. E. A. Stephens, Assistant Solicitor, and detectives who have been working on the case. Jim Conley’s attorney, W. M. Smith, also was in court.
A stir was created when Mrs. Frank, wife of the accused made her way into the courtroom and hurried past the rows of spectators into the anteroom where her husband was confined. She bore herself bravely and when she reached Frank, was seen to converse cheerfully with him.
The loyal woman, who insisted on being by the side of her husband until he was called into the courtroom with his attorneys, drew the attention away from the routine proceedings several minutes.
Judge Roan in Good Humor.
Judge Roan appeared in unusually radiant humor and enlivened the dull routine of the early proceedings with facetious remarks directed at the jurors who sought to evade duty on various pretexts.
To one who claimed deafness, Judge Roan said that he had heard his own name readily enough when it was called.
Another juror, Dr. E. L. Connally, well known capitalist, and gray haired veteran of the war, remarked, smiling rather slyly, that he thought he was over age.
Plea Wins Excuse.
“How do you know that?” inquired the judge.
“My mother says I am,” was Dr. Connally’s reply.
“Do you claim exemption on that account?” asked the court.
“I guess I do, judge,” admitted the capitalist.
“Well, then, I guess I will excuse you,” said the judge, amid a general laugh from the courtroom.
Dr. Connally left his place with a vigor that belled his years.
Old Dr. Stork was responsible for the excusing of several of the jurors. By the time the eighth panel of men had taken the oath three men had told of new arrivals at their homes and had been excused.
Defense Not to Ask Delay.
Luther Z. Rosser, of counsel for the defense, stated to a Georgian reporter as he left his office for the scene of the trial that [t]he defense would make no move for delay.
“We will not seek a change of venue or make any move of any kind to delay justice for our client,” he said. “We are entirely confident that justice and truth will prevail as it always must.”
Reuben R. Arnold, of the defense, made the same kind of a statement.
“We will announce ready as soon as the case is called,” he said.
One important witness for the defense was reported to be missing. He is a traveling salesman, and the defense was said to be confident of locating him.
Sentell in Navy Now.
Edgar L. Sentell, who testified that he saw Arthur Mullinax and Mary Phagan together at midnight of the day of the crime, has enlisted in the navy and will not be able to appear at the trial.
A great crowd gathered in front of the courthouse as the hour of the trial drew near, and when 9 o’clock arrived, Pryor street at Hunter was almost impassable. The corridors of the courthouse were a mass of humanity, through which a lane had to be cut by deputies to allow the passage of witnesses and lawyers and newspaper men.
The crowd was tense with curiosity, but to all appearances inclined to be orderly and apparently was moved only by the commonest of human motives—curiosity.
Frank Feeling Fine, He Says.
Frank was escorted from the Tower to the courthouse shortly after 6 o’clock in the morning, nearly three hours before the trial was scheduled to begin. This was done to avoid the curious crowd which it was expected would be about the courthouse and thronging the corridors at 9 o’clock.
Frank was up and dressed and freshly shaven when Deputy Sheriff Plennie Minor appeared before his cell at the early hour.
“How are you feeling this morning, Mr. Frank?” the deputy inquired.
“Tip top, only I’m mighty hungry,” replied Frank.
Exhibiting the same poised confidence that has characterized him through three months since he was locked in a cell in the county jail, the young factory superintendent chatted freely with Miner on the way to the courthouse.
Sure He Will Be Freed.
He was attired in a natty light gray mohair suit and wore a fancy gray tie. His face was fuller and he appeared slightly heavier than when he was arrested shortly after the murder of the Phagan girl. He seemed cheerful and in the best of health.
“I am very sure of acquittal,” he said, as he arrived at the courthouse. “I am glad that the trial is about to begin after the long wait. I have no fear of the outcome. I am not only innocent of the terrible crime, but I am innocent of any knowledge of it, save as the information has come tome since the officers came to my house that morning three months ago.”
At this moment E. C. Essenbach, a relative of Frank, appeared with a tempting breakfast which was spread in the prisoners’ room at the courthouse. Frank gave ocular proof that his appetite had not suffered from his long confinement as he proceeded to make way with the delicacies prepared for him.
Frank greeted his relative cheerfully and conversed with him for more than an hour. The topic seldom was on the crime or the trial which was about to begin. Long before the time set for the judge to take the bench other friends and relatives of the prisoner had appeared and some of them were permitted to talk to him.
Conley Ready For the Stand.
Jim Conley, Frank’s accuser, was made ready for the trial early in the morning, although it was not probable that he would be called during the day.
He was given a shave and a new suit of clothes, as he had worn for the last three months the same shabby garments that he had on at the time he was arrested while washing a shirt at the National Pencil Factory.
Conley said that he was ready to go on the witness stand at an instant’s notice. He declared that he would stick to the same story that he told in his last affidavit and which he has since repeated many times for the benefit of Solicitor Dorsey.
“If they had just let me face Mr. Frank, I could have made him tell the truth long before this,” he asserted.
Less than half a hundred persons were waiting about the courthouse at 8 o’clock, an hour before the time set for the beginning of the trial. It was thought that not a large crowd would be clamoring for admission to the courtroom as it had become quite generally known that the small room would accommodate hardly more than the witnesses and the veniremen and that it would be necessary to exclude practically all spectators.
Much Preparation Made.
For no trial in the history of Georgia have such elaborate arrangements been made for the comfort of the comparatively small number of spectators who will gain admission, the attorneys who will handle the case, the jury and the newspaper men. Deputy Sheriff Plennie Miner has received much praise for the splendid preparations made.
Electric fans have been installed at every window and on the railing separating the spectators’ seats from the bar, ozonators have been placed to keep the air purified. It probably will be the coolest and best ventilated place in Atlanta.
Not more than 250 spectators will be admitted. Approximately that number of chairs have been placed outside the inclosure. When they are filled the doors will be closed and no one else will be allowed in. No one will be permitted to occupy standing room.
The usual custom of permitting disinterested attorneys to occupy seats inside the bar will not be followed, and this particular part of the courtroom will be less crowded than during the average criminal trial.
How They Will Line Up.
Prosecuting Attorney Dorsey and at least five assistants will occupy a table directly in front of the bench and witness stand with the jury box close on the righthand side. Attorney Rosser with his assistants and the accused will be seated at a table to the left of the State’s and farther away from the jury. The table for newspaper men is back of the State’s table. The arrangements were agreed upon by the attorneys and the judge.
The table for the defense was selected by Attorney Rosser with a view to the number of persons who would wish to be near Frank during the trial. Seats have been arranged to the back of the table to accommodate at least 30 persons, friends and relatives of the accused, who have visited him constantly since he was confined at the Tower.
Deputy Sheriff Plennie Miner, who have charge of the crowd and keeping order in court, will also have charge of the prisoners. Long before any crowd congregated around the courthouse Frank and Lee were brought from the Tower and placed in the room reserved for them. When court opened Frank took his place at the table reserved for his attorneys.
No Room For Spectators Now.
For the first day of the trial, or until the jury is selected and the hearing actually under way, it is extremely doubtful if any spectator will gain admission to the court. Seating arrangements have only been provided for about 250. The venire of 144 men will have to occupy that number of the seats when court is opened. The witnesses for the two sides will occupy the remaining seats and standing room until they are disposed of in some way, which may not be until after the jury is drawn.
The court rule to segregate the witnesses will, of course, be enforced, have qualified as jurors, which will hardly be before the middle of the week.
When the witnesses are segregated they will be kept in the large courtroom on the floor above the trial room. A bailiff will be placed in the hall and one on the door of the witness chamber, and as the names are called they will be brought from the floor above to the court.
It is probable some rule will be made to keep the witnesses for the State and the defense separated, in which event the third floor of the building would have to be used.
Jury Room Carefully Selected.
But if any great difficulty is anticipated in drawing a jury, and the judge thinks it impossible to finish this task during any one day, he will probably excuse the witnesses until the next day, and continue to do so until the jury is impaneled.
The jury room was selected with a great deal of care. It is almost inaccessible from the outside and large and airy. Its windows are about twenty feet above an alleyway that runs on either side. Deputies will be kept in the alley to keep anyone from getting this close to the room.
As each juror qualifies he will be escorted to the room and kept there until the full panel is drawn. Recess will be taken at 1 o’clock in the afternoon and the jury will be taken to luncheon at a restaurant almost directly across the street from the court. At night it will be quartered at the Kimball House under a heavy guard of deputies.
From the time a juror is acceptable to both sides until the conclusion of the case he will not be allowed to go to his home or communicate with anyone except a fellow juror.
The least of the deputies’ troubles will not be in handling the crowd that will gain admission to the court, but in handling the crowd that will daily congregate on the outside and wait through the day for news of the proceedings in the trial. Ten deputies and as many members of the county police will be on duty on the streets around the building.