Horrible Mistake, Pleads Mullinax, Denying Crime


This youth, formerly a street car conductor, is held in connection with the investigation of the slaying of Mary Phagan in the basement of the National Pencil Factory in South Forsyth Street. He stoutly denies any connection with the crime, and declares his arrest as a “horrible mistake.” He has accounted for himself, and likely will be released.

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

Atlanta Georgian

Monday, April 28th, 1913

Arthur Mullinax, identified as the man who was with Mary Phagan at midnight Saturday, a few short hours before her dead body was found, and now a prisoner in solitary confinement at police headquarters, declared to a Georgian reporter that his arrest was a terrible mistake.

He declared that he had never seen the girl except as “the sleeping beauty” in a church entertainment in which both took part last Christmas. Here is his complete story:

“I had absolutely no connection with this affair and have been wrongfully accused. Sentell is horribly mistaken when he says he saw me in company with Mary Phagan shortly after midnight Sunday morning in Forsyth Street. I did not even know the girl—that is, never had been introduced to her—and had never been anywhere with her in my life.

“Sleeping Beauty.”

“I had seen her one time. That was last Christmas at an entertainment given in the Western Heights Baptist Church. We both took part in that entertainment. She played the part of ‘ the sleeping beauty,’ and I did a black face act and also sang in a quartet.

“But I was not even introduced to the girl. During the entertainment the girl remarked to me that I was a good black face artist, but this was all that passed between us. I have never been with her at any time since then, much less at midnight.

“As to my movements Saturday night, I can easily explain them. After supper, I called on a girl friend, Miss Pearl Robinson, who lives in Bellwood Avenue, and we came down town on the English Avenue car. We got off the car at Marietta and Forsyth Streets and walked directly across to the Bijou Theater. We saw part of the first show and part of the second, leaving before the performance had concluded. We then boarded a car, and I took Miss Robinson directly to her home.

Slept Soundly.

“I talked with her there about fifteen minutes, I should judge, and, bidding her goodnight, returned to my boarding house at 60 Poplar Street, in Bellwood. On arrival there, I gave Mrs. Emma Rutherford, my landlady, a dollar, for some work done on my clothes.

“Mrs. Rutherford slipped the bill under her pillow, and I went on to my room and went to bed. And I slept soundly until late Sunday morning.

“The only time I was on Forsyth Street Saturday night was when Miss Robinson and I left the car at Forsyth and Marietta Streets and walked across to the Bijou.

“Horrible Mistake.”

“This is absolutely all I know of this affair. I had nothing to do with it, knew nothing of it, and, being a stranger to this dead girl, certainly had no motive for wishing to her out of the way. It’s all a horrible mistake. I’ll have no trouble proving an alibi and showing myself innocent.”

When Mullinax was locked in a cell at 10 o’clock last night, instructions were given that he not be allowed to communicate with anyone.

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Atlanta Georgian, April 28th 1913, “Horrible Mistake, Pleads Mullinax, Denying Crime,” Leo Frank case newspaper article series (Original PDF)