Grand Jury Calls for Thos. Felder and Police Heads


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

Atlanta Constitution

Tuesday, June 3rd, 1913

Subpoenas Served Monday Night on the Principals in Dictagraph Case and in Charges of Corruption.


Mayor Woodward, Col. Felder, Chief Beavers, Chief Lanford, Carl Hutcheson and Jno. Black Subpoenaed

That the Fulton county grand jury will undertake today an investigation of both sides of the Beavers-Felder controversy was made apparent by the formal summons issued last night to all the principals in the affair.

An added element of mystery to the investigation comes in the attempt made to summon Mrs. Mima [sic] Formby, the woman who made affidavit that Leo M. Frank, now indicted for the murder of Mary Phagan, attempted to rent a room from her for himself and a girl on the night of the murder.

Many Subpoenas Issued.

Mayor Woodward, Chief Beavers, Colonel Felder, Chief Lanford, Charlie Jones, proprietor of the “Rex” saloon; Attorney Carl Hutcheson, City Detective, John Black and Mrs. Formby were the principals upon whom Foreman Beck ordered subpoenas served Monday night.

Charlie Jones was served in person with a summons to attend the grand jury this morning in the case of “The State versus John Doe,” the orders, with the exception of Mrs. Formby, who is said to have left the city, were notified by telephone that their presence was required Tuesday morning before the grand jury.

The charges made by Chief Lanford and other detectives in his force that Colonel Felder had offered a bribe of $1,000 for an affidavit made by Mr. and Mrs. J. W. Coleman, parents of the murdered Phagan girl, and also for other affidavits in the case, and the ensuing charges hurled at the police department by Col. Felder and Attorney Hutcheson, in which the department was charged with graft and corruption stirred Atlanta.

Beavers Asks Probe.

Chief Beavers immediately asked that the grand jury take the matter up and go to the bottom of the charges against himself and the men under him, and Colonel Felder declared that he was ready at any time for the charges against him to be investigated.

That the grand jury would take up the matter at an early date and probe, it has been the general belief of Atlantans who read of the various charges, and when it was announced last week by Solicitor Dorsey that the grand jury would meet on Tuesday morning it immediately became the general belief that the special session would be for this purpose.

This was denied in statements by both the solicitor and the foreman, who declared that the purpose of the meeting was to appoint the committees for routine work, as is done by each grand jury, and which had been delayed by this jury on account of its investigation and indictment of Leo Frank.

Secrecy Shrouds Summons.

Every effort on the part of the officials to keep quiet the real intentions of the meeting was made, and not until late Monday evening did it become known that the formal summons to the characters in the recent sensation had been ordered.

The fact that A. S. Colyar and G. C. Febuary, who, working for the detectives, arranged the meetings through which the dictagraph records were made, and that George Gentry, the young stenographer, who took the evidence in shorthand, have not been summoned appears to indicate that the grand jury will go into the matter from the statements of the men principally involved in it.

Detective Black has hitherto not appeared in the dictagraph case, either against Mayor Woodward or Attorney Felder, but his name was included among those for whom summons were issued.

Mrs. Formby Wanted.

Mrs. Formby, of whose whereabouts city detectives deny knowledge, is wanted by the grand jury, but for what purpose has not been disclosed.

What will be the action of the grand jury in the case is problematical. It is believed from the fact that summons have been issued to principals on both sides of the case that the intention is to investigate with a view to determining if a formal investigation of the charges hurled by each side is worth the time of the body.

Several of the men upon whom summons were served Monday night admitted, when faced with the direct question, that they had been ordered to appear. Among them were Chief Lanford, Jones and Attorney Hutcheson. Others refused to talk.

When questioned in regard to the matter Monday night, Solicitor Dorsey issued the following statement:

“I know nothing at all of the summons; as far as I am aware, the grand jury has been called to meet Tuesday by Mr. Beck, the foreman, for the purpose of undertaking the routine business of appointing the usual committees. If they are to take up any other business, I do not know of it.

“However,” he added, “they are at liberty to take up anything they see fit, and that without advising me until they actually need my services.”

Purpose of Meeting.

“I will tell you, as I have told every other reporter in the city, that the meeting Tuesday is for the purpose of appointi[n]g the committees which the press of criminal business has delayed,” said Foreman Beck, when questioned as to the summons.

“I’m ready at any time they want to take the matter up,” commented Attorney Felder, “and if they want me they can get me and they are well aware of that.”

“Solicitor Dorsey told me last week that he would take the matter up some time this week,” stated Chief Beavers when asked in regard to the business to be taken up today, “Whether or not they are really going to take it up, I can’t say.”

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Atlanta Constitution, June 3rd 1913, “Grand Jury Calls for Thos. Felder and Police Heads,” Leo Frank case newspaper article series (Original PDF)