Frank’s Testimony Fails to Lift Veil of Mystery

by Archivist on May 6, 2016

Frank's Testimony Fails to Lift Veil of Mystery

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

Atlanta Georgian

Tuesday, May 6th, 1913

Factory Superintendent’s Statements on the Witness Stand Considered Distinctly Favorable to Him.

Leo M. Frank’s testimony before the Coroner’s inquest threw no new light upon the Phagan case. Indeed, if it did anything it strengthend the belief in the minds of many persons that the mystery is far from solved.

Frank’s testimony was distinctly favorable to him. He was on the witness stand for several hours. He answered every question in a straight-forward manner. He was not more nervous than any other man in the room. He never halted for a word to make reply. The impression made upon those present was good.

The bringing into the case of another man not heretofore mentioned as having been in the factory on the day of Mary Phagan’s death does not seem to have in any way helped to clear the mystery.

Quinn Talks Freely.

Lemmie Quinn, foreman, whose name was mentioned by Frank, apparently had nothing to conceal either, for her talked with the detectives and police without reserve, and gave a clear statement of his work in the factory. His testimony did more, if anything, than the testimony of any other person to shift the suspicion that has been attached to Frank.

Close reading of the testimony leads to the opinion that the police have not yet solved the great mystery.

Frank is in the Tower to-day. He will be heard again on Thursday. The police may have some important questions to ask him, but if they have, they gave nothing to indicate it at the inquest on Monday.

Solicitor Dorsey, now in active charge of the case, feels certain that the mystery soon will be solved. All the officials are reticent. They refuse to discuss the tragedy with reporters.

Following Every Clew.

Many baseless rumors are in circulation on the streets, and the public clew presented to them.

The police and detectives are working diligently and following every clew presented to them.

It is too early to forecast what the authorities have in store in the way of additional evidence, but that brought out yesterday pointed the finger of suspicion at no one at all. It was simply negative. It involved the witness no more than suspicion already had involved him, and was not all damaging to Lee, who is being held with Frank in connection with the mystery.

Quinn was examined by Lanford and Scott, of the Pinkertons. He corroborated Frank’s story in detail. He was permitted to return to his home at 31-B Pullman Street.

Quinn was foreman of the department in which the victim worked. He had known her ever since she first was employed with the concern. A stormy scene is said to have ensued during the interrogation to which he was subjected at headquarters. To a reporter he declared that Scott and Solicitor Dorsey charged him with having accepted a bribe.

He says he retorted to the charge:

“Show me the man that says I took a bribe, and I’ll whip him on the pot.”

Quinn was asked if Frank’s statements were true, and he replied:

“Yes; it’s true. I left my house Saturday morning about 11:45 o’clock. On the way uptown I stopped into Wolfsheimer’s and bought an order of fancy groceries. I stopped at another place and bought a cigar.

“Then I went to the factory. I wanted to see Frank and tell him ‘Howdy do.’ I knew he would be in the place. He is always there on Saturdays. It was about 12:15 or 12:30 when I arrived at the building. I saw no one in front or as I went upstairs to the office.

“Frank was at his desk. He appeared very busy. I stepped in and said: ‘Well, I see you work even on holidays. You can’t keep me from coming around the building on Saturdays, either. How do you feel?”

“He said he was feeling good. He didn’t appear agitated or nervous. I didn’t want to disturb him, so I left. I wasn’t in the plant for more than two minutes. As I came downstairs on the way out, I saw someone in the rear of the first floor—a person whom I would have no grounds whatever to suspect.

Believes Frank Innocent.

“No! I won’t divulge his name. I’ll tell the detectives in time. I’m glad Frank told the Coroner of my visit. It was I who refreshed his memory of the incident. He apparently had forgotten it. I have not been keeping it secret. I told the detective Saturday of the visit.

“I have known Mr. Frank for years and I know he is not guilty.”

Quinn declared that he was in the building about two minutes. He said that he did not see Mary Phagan.

He is outraged at the treatment he alleges was accorded him by the detectives.

“They were insulting and seemed to doubt my statement,” he said. “In an insinuating manner Chief Lanford plied the question: ‘So you put yourself there about the time the Phagan girl left the factory, eh?’”

Quinn was an ardent admirer of the murdered child. He says she was one of his most industrious employees.

He is married and has one child. His connection with the National Pencil Company dates back several years.

Quinn said that it was he who refreshed Frank’s memory of his presence in the building shortly after noon of the day on which the girl is supposed to have been slain.

“I called upon Frank at the jail,” he said. “The moment I reminded him of my visit, he recollected it. He apparently had forgotten it.”

The inquest was adjourned at 7:18 o’clock. It will be resumed at 9:30 o’clock Thursday morning. The two-day postponement is to permit detectives to garner evidence they announce available.

Tells Action in Detail.

In detailing every move on the day Mary Phagan was killed, Frank said he left  about 7 o’clock Saturday morning and was at the office by 8:26. About 9 o’clock Foreman M. D. Darley and others entered his office and talked business matters with him. Frank testified he went to the office of Sig Montag, factory manager, on Nelson Street, at 10 o’clock, and remained there for nearly an hour.

He returned at 11 o’clock and an hour later the stenographer and the office boy left him alone, Darley and the others having departed. He thought it was about ten minutes after noon that Mary Phagan came in to get her pay envelope and after receiving it started out of the door, stopping only to ask if an expected shipment of metal had arrived. He heard her voice as she seemed to be talking with another girl outside. He heard the footsteps die away and believes Mary Phagan left the building, he testified.

Visited by Lemmie Quinn.

Lemmie Quinn, foreman of the tipping department, came into the factory at 12:15 or 12:20, just after the Phagan girl had left. Frank said that the foreman merely greeted him and conversed for five or ten minutes and then left.

Frank said that he himself left the factory at 1 o’clock and went home for luncheon with his father-in-law, Emil Selig. He left home to return to the factory at 2 o’clock, arriving there about 3 o’clock, and speaking to several acquaintances on his way.

At 3:10 o’clock Harry Denham and Arthur White, two employees who had been doing some work on the holiday, punched the clock, stopped to talk a few minutes with Frank and then quit the building, leaving Frank there alone.

Sees Watchman and Gantt.

Newt Lee, the night watchman, came at 3:45, but was told by Frank that he might go away until 6 o’clock. The watchman returned at 6 o’clock and few minutes later J. M. Gantt appeared at the factory and asked permission to get a pair of shoes he had left in the shipping room. Frank left before Gantt had obtained his shoes.

Frank said that he arrived home at 6:25 and that his wife and mother-in-law entered as he was calling Newt Lee to see if Gantt had left the factory. Lee did not answer at this time, but answered when Frank called at 7 o’clock. Frank testified that he remained in the house from this time until he went to bed at 11 o’clock. He was awakened at 7:30 o’clock the next morning by the telephone call which told him of the tragedy.

* * *

Atlanta Georgian, May 6th 1913, “Frank’s Testimony Fails to Lift Veil of Mystery,” Leo Frank case newspaper article series (Original PDF)

Previous post:

Next post: