Grand Jury May Drop Vice Probe

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

Atlanta Constitution

Friday, June 6th, 1913

Foreman Beck De[c]lines to Talk of Probable Action of Jury—Felder to Issue a Public Statement.

“The grand jury has finished its questioning of witnesses with its adjournment, and unless members of the jury should desire that those of the several witnesses summoned, who have not been heard, should be brought before them, there is nothing more to do.” This was the statement made yesterday by L. H. Beck, foreman of the grand jury, which adjourned at 2 o’clock after a three-day probe in vice conditions in Atlanta.

Foreman Beck stated that the body would meet again Tuesday, but at the instance of the solicitor, and to take up the criminal business which the present probe and the lengthy examination preceding the indictment of Leo M. Frank had greatly delayed.

Asked as to the nature of the action that the grand jury would take in regard to the results of its vice probe, the foreman replied that he was not in a position to state this.

“We have tried to follow the words of Judge W. D. Ellis, who requested this jury to look into alleged vice conditions here,” he replied, “and whether we make definite indictments against offenders, or take action by giving a general report to a judge of the superior court, is something that has not been determined.”

Lanford Makes Statement.

Newport Lanford, chief of detectives, was the first witness to be called Thursday morning. According to his statement the grand jury members questioned him about conditions here principally, although they also asked him in regard to the pictograph affair, and also asked why there was a bitterness between him and Colonel Thomas B. Felder.

A. L. Collar, Jr., who sprung into prominence as a result of the recent dictagraph row, and who is now under arrest on forgery charges in Knoxville, was next called before the grand jury. With Collar and G. C. February, secretary to Chief James L. Beavers, the grand jury closed its examination and hearing of testimony.

It is stated that the grand jury went into great detail with Chief Lanford in regard to the preparation of a pictograph trap for Colonel Felder, and also the attempts to prove that he had offered bribes for affidavits in the Phagan case.

Whether this indicates or not the taking up and examining the charges buried between Colonel Felder and the police department in which charges of crookedness were freely used on both sides, is a question that the members of the grand jury will not discuss.

Foreman Beck merely stated that that matter had not as yet been taken up, when he was asked in regard to it. Whether his answer might indicate that the case would be taken up or not, was a point upon which he refused to throw more light.

Whisky Shipments Not Probed.

The expected taking up of the shipment of liquor into vicious resorts has not yet appeared and J. E. Skaggs, agent for the Southern Express company, who appeared before the grand jury on Wednesday, declares that no question of this nature was asked him. He stated that his appearance was due to the desire of the grand jury to get certain facts from him in connection with one of the other phases of the vice probe.

Among the witnesses summoned to the Thursday session was Eva Clark, the woman whom Chief Beavers states that Mayor Woodward requested be allowed to return to her old home at 95 Jenkins street. Instead of answering the summons the woman sent a certificate from her physician to the effect that she was too ill to be present.

Felder to Issue Statement.

At the conclusion of his testimony before the body Colonel Felder announced that he would furnish for the Sunday papers and for the Associated Press a statement of the entire events leading up to the pictograph plot laid for him and would also show how much had been added to what he really said in the conversation with E. O. Miles, G. C. February and Collar.

“I have got all the facts and can show the whole truth about that miserable affair,” he stated, “and I intend to put the people of Atlanta in Possession of facts that will startle them more than anything else has ever done that has been said in the whole case.”

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Atlanta Constitution, June 6th 1913, “Grand Jury May Drop Vice Probe,” Leo Frank case newspaper article series (Original PDF)