Grand Jury to Consider Phagan Case This Week

Grand Jury to Consider Phagan Case This WeekAnother in our series of new transcriptions of contemporary articles on the Leo Frank case.

Atlanta Journal

Sunday, May 11th, 1913

Intere[s]ts in the investigation of the mysterious murder two weeks ago of little Mary Phagan centered Saturday in the grand jury.

Two men, Leo M. Frank, superintendent of the pencil factotry [sic], where the tragedy occurred, and Newt Lee, negro night watchman, have been ordered held by a coroner’s jury, but no intimation has been given as to the time when bills against the two men will be presented to that body.

The jury is not due to hold a session until next Friday, but the solicitor general or the foreman can call the body together on a few hours’ notice.

While the solicitor will make no definite statement, it is apparent that he will not present the case to the grand jury until the latter part of this week, Thursday or Friday. However, the grand jury has been especially charged to probe the murder and it is in the power of its members to order the witnesses in the case before it at any time.


Owing to the unusual public interest in the cases it is possible that if the grand jury secures a true bill the trial might be set for the week of May 19, when the criminal division of the superior court, Judge L. S. Roan, presiding, next convenes.

Thomas B. Felder, the well known attorney, who has been retained by citizens in the Bellwood district, where the slain girl lived, returned Saturday morning from a week’s trip to New York and Washington. Mr. Felder made the trip to attend to professional business said to be in connection with the Phagan case.

Mr. Felder denied that he had employed William J. Burns, the famous detective, to come to Atlanta in person in an effort to solve the mystery.

Mr. Burns, who has before worked on cases for Mr. Felder, is now in Europe, according to the latter.

It has been rumored that Mr. Felder is determined to utilize the fee which will be paid him by the Bellwood citizens for assisting in the prosecution of the case, to employ a private detective, said that Mr. Felder will lend his time and energy to the case without compensation.

Mr. Felder declined to discuss this rumor, and would not say whether or not he had employed any eastern detectives to help the Atlanta officers ferret out the mystery.


The activity in the Phagan investigation was transferred Saturday from police headquarters to the office of Solicitor General Dorsey, who was in conference with witnesses and detectives working on the case during the greater part of the day. Among his visitors was Dr. H. F. Harris, of the state board of health, who twice exhumed the body of Mary Phagan.

Later the solicitor is said to have conferred with Dr. J. W. Hurt, the county physician, whose evidence has never been made public.

All of the witnesses seen by The Journal Saturday declare that they are under instructions not to discuss the case, and the utmost secrecy shrouds the work of the solicitor’s force and the city detectives.

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Atlanta Journal, May 11th 1913, “Grand Jury to Consider Phagan Case This Week,” Leo Frank case newspaper article series (Original PDF)