Grand Jury to Take Up Phagan Case To-morrow

Grand Jury to Take Up Phagan Case To-morrow

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

Atlanta Georgian

Sunday, May 4th, 1913

The uncertainty that has marked every phase in the case of Mary Phagan probably will be somewhat removed when the new Fulton County Grand Jury for the May term of the Superior Court meets to-morrow. Definite action by that body is anticipated after the Coroner’s jury, which also resumes its sessions to-morrow, has reached a decision.

The action, it is believed, will be the result of the efforts of a small army of private detectives retained by the authority of Solicitor General Dorsey. The number of the detectives could not be determined, but it is the opinion in official circles that the county and the State are ready, if necessary, to spend an unlimited sum to bring the murderer of Mary Phagan to justice.

The State has taken a hand in the investigation, co-equal with the city, and every force at the command of the Solicitor General has been employed to unravel the mystery. It was at the request of Solicitor Dorsey that the investigation of Coroner Donehue [sic] was suspended last Thursday afternoon, when more than 200 witnesses had been subpenaed [sic], that he might make a thorough examination for himself before all the facts in the hands of the police were made public, and before any possible clew got cold.

It was for this reason that a conference was held yesterday, at which were present the Solicitor General, Chief Lanford of the detective force and Coroner Donehoo, after which the party went to the scene of the tragedy for a personal investigation. In the

Phagan Case Enters on Second Week Unsolved

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course of the conference two witnesses examined were Dr. J. W. Hurt, County Physician, and M. B. Darley, general foreman of the pencil factory where Mary Phagan was employed. No details of the conference were revealed, although it was known that two girls who worked at the factory with Mary Phagan also had been summoned.

Girls as Witnesses.

These girls, and probably others, will be witnesses before the Grand Jury after it is convened. Three young women who were intimate with the slain girl at the factory also will be called. Lee is expected to tell more to the Coroner’s jury than has been made public, and Frank probably will be heard.

Besides the private detectives, the powers of the State and county courts have obtained the services of experts in medicine, in handwriting and even in certain forms of insanity, and the most capable detectives of the public force, that the case may be whipped into tangible shape in time for immediate presentation to the Grand Jury upon its organization.

Among the experts whose efforts were solicited is Dr. Claude Smith, city bacteriologist, who has been requested to analyze the blood stains on the shirt found in the yard of Newt Lee, the suspected negro watchman. This analysis was requested that the officials might determine the reasonability of the theory that the shirt was put in the yard of the negro by other persons as a “plant” to convict him.

It is said that an effort will be made to have the County appropriate $1,000 to defray the cost of a private investigation into the case. At any rate, the determination of the State and of the County to probe the matter is certain.

That definite action will be taken by the grand jury and that definite evidence may be in hand for presentation to that body is borne out by the fact that the suspicions of officers are narrowing rapidly. Mullinax and Gantt have been released. It is understood that further investigation will proceed on the theory that the dead girl did not leave the factory after 12 o’clock on the day of her death.

Grand Jury Members.

The grand jury which will probe the case will be sworn in to-morrow morning at 9 o’clock by Superior Judge W. D. Ellis. Its members are:

F. B. Baker, Louis Newell, F. P. H. Akers, Frank Hawkins, R. R. Nash, Charles Heinz, Harry G. Poole, H. G. Hubbard, John D. Wing, R. A. Redding, V. H. Kriegshaber, R. F. Sams, A. D. Adair, Sr., S. C. Glass, J. G. Bell, Cephas M. Brown, George A. Gershon, A. L. Guthman, Walker Dunson, W. L. Percy, C. A. Cowles, F. A. Pittman, Sol Benjamin, B. F. Bell, L. H. Beck, B. F. Bennett, Sr., H. M. Beutell, W. E. Besser, W. A. Albright, Albert Boylston.

Little Developed.

Chief of Detectives Lanford admitted last night that the lengthy conference with Solicitor Dorsey, lasting from noon until almost 5 o’clock yesterday, had developed little new in the hunt for the slayer of Mary Phagan. He said that the Solicitor has asked for all the details in chronological order and that every feature thus far developed had been gone over carefully.

Solicitor Dorsey said at 10 o’clock last night that nothing new had been turned up that could be made public, but added that he was confident that the investigation following its latest leads would have new facts in the case in hand shortly.

He asserted that he had asked the police offcers for all their information and had gotten it.

Aside from Detective John Black, who has been working steadily on the case, with Harry Scott, of the Pinkertons, Detectives Rosser and Starnes were put to work on what is said to be a new lead, the import of which is being kept secret.

Rosser and Starnes worked all day and Chief Lanford is authority for the statement that their work was gratifying and the lead—whatever it may be—had produced more than the old trails traversed by Black and Scott.

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Atlanta Georgian, May 4th 1913, “Grand Jury to Take Up Phagan Case To-morrow,” Leo Frank case newspaper article series (Original PDF)