Girl’s Grandfather Vows Vengeance

Girl's Grandfather Vows Vengeance

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

Atlanta Georgian

Monday, April 28th, 1913

Standing with bared head in the doorway of his Marietta home, with tears falling unheeded down his furrowed cheeks, W. J. Phagan cried to heaven for vengeance for the murder of his granddaughter, fourteen-year-old Mary Phagan, and vowed that he would not rest until the murderer had been brought to justice.

In a silence unbroken save by the sound of his own sobs and the noise of the gently falling rain, the old man lifted his quavering voice in a passionate plea for the life of the wretch who had lured the little girl into the darkness of a deserted building and strangled her to death. It was an infinite grief—the grief of an old and broken man—that Mr. Phagan expressed when, with hands outspread imploringly, he invoked divine aid in bringing the murderer of the child to justice.

“By the power of the living God,” prayed the old man, his voice rising high and clear above the patter of the rain and the roar of a passing train, “I hope the murderer will be dealt with as he dealt with that innocent child. I hope his heart is torn with remorse in the measure that his victim suffered pain and shame; that he suffers as we who loved the child are suffering. No punishment is too great for the brute who foully murdered the sweetest and purest thing on earth—a young girl. Hanging cannot atone for the crime he has committed and the suffering he has caused.”

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Atlanta Georgian, April 28th 1913, “Girl’s Grandfather Vows Vengeance,” Leo Frank case newspaper article series (Original PDF)