Interest in Trial Now Centers in Story of Mincey

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

Atlanta Georgian
August 10th, 1913

Question of Time Considered of Paramount Importance in Defense Theory of Frank Case


As all interest centered in the dramatic story of Jim Conley while the case of the prosecution in the Frank trial was being presented, so the public now is awaiting with the keenest expectancy the tale that W. H. Mincey, pedagogue and insurance solicitor, will relate when he is called this week by the attorneys for Leo M. Frank.

Conley swore as glibly as though he were telling of an inconsequential incident in one of his crap games that Frank had confessed to him the killing of Mary Phagan. Then the negro went on in elaborate detail to tell the horrible story of the disposal of the girl’s body.

Mincey will tell a similar story, except that Conley will be named as the man confessing the crime and there will be none of the grewsome descriptions of carrying the limp body from second floor to basement in a piece of crocus bagging.

The coming week of the trial will have other witnesses galore. Some of them may be of much more importance than Mincey. Some of them may contribute in a much greater degree to the strength of the defense’s case. But the appearance, on the stand of no person is being awaited with higher interest than that of Mincey.

The defense has more than a hundred other witnesses on which it may call during the remainder of the trial. Some of them will be on the stand for only a few minutes and others will be questioned and cross-examined at considerable length. It is regarded that when the end of the week arrives there will be still another week ahead before the case is ended and the verdict returned.

Many of the witnesses who have been summoned are character witnesses. The defense is aware that the State has persons to call in rebuttal. It is regarded as highly likely, however, that Frank’s lawyers will go ahead and introduce acquaintances and relatives of the accused man who will swear as to his good character and morality.

Had Never Seen Flirting.

Miss Grace Hix, a pretty factory girl, living at No. 100 McDonough road, told readily when she was being cross-examined by Luther Rosser that in the five years she had worked at the factory Frank had spoken to her only three times and then only on business. She said she never had seen him trying to flirt with any of the girls.

N. V. Darley, general manager of the factory, denied that he ever had known of any improper conduct on the part of Frank, and E. F. Holloway, day watchman, testified to the same effect.

Other girls will be called during this week. They will be questioned in regard to Frank’s attitude toward them and their observation of his attitude toward any of the other employees. Then they will be turned over for the searching cross-examination of Solicitor Dorsey and his associate, Frank A. Hooper.

The time element, which figures so vitally in the murder mystery, will be emphasized when the alibi witnesses are on the stand. The public will learn then for the first time the true strength of Frank’s defense. It is possible that his case will stand or fall on the testimony of these very witnesses.

Members of his family will tell of the time he left home Saturday morning. He will be carried along almost minute by minute from this time until he reached the factory, did some work there, went to Montag Bros., Nelson and Forsyth streets, and returned to the pencil factory at about 11 o’clock.

Testify of His Movements.

Persons in the factory will testify as to Frank’s movements up until the time they left at or before noon. Mary Phagan was killed shortly after noon. It is during these brief moments that Frank’s actions are not known, except upon his own statements. The same is exactly as true as to Jim Conley, who was on the first floor, near the stairs.

Frank says he does not know anything of what transpired then or after of his own personal knowledge.

Conley admits that he does, but in his admission he accuses Frank of knowing all.

He tells a story of Frank directing him to carry the body to the basement and then to write some notes which later were found by the body. He narrates his story in elaborate detail. The defense is said to maintain it would have taken three-quarters of an hour or more to do all he describes.

This is one of the places where the time element enters. Conley says that it was four minutes before 1 o’clock when he went after the cloth in which he wrapped the girl’s body to carry her downstairs.

Question of Time Paramount.

Frank was at home by 1:30 o’clock, according to one of the State’s witnesses. He was home slightly earlier according to the defense’s, Albert McKnight. He would have had to leave the factory at 1:15 or very close to that time to have walked to the street car and arrived home by 1:30 providing he was able to get a car within another three minutes. Frank and the negro could not have had time to do all Conley described in the nineteen minutes from 12:56 to 1;15, Frank’s lawyers contend, particularly in view of the negro’s statement that he was hidden in a closet in Frank’s room eight minutes of the time.

The statement of Frank’s father-in-law, Emil Selig, the servant, Minola McKnight, and her husband, Albert McKnight, will be taken to establish the time Frank arrived home that afternoon. H. J. Hinchey has told of the time he saw him returning to the factory on a Washington street car. J. C. Loeb will tell of riding to town with him. Harry Denham will testify as to Frank’s arrival at the factory. Newt Lee’s testimony will be taken as to his departures. Members of his family will be witnesses to establish the time of his return home at night, and the fact that he remained there until he was awakened by the officers the next morning.

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Atlanta Georgian, August 10th 1913, “Interest in Trial Now Centers in Story of Mincey,” Leo Frank case newspaper article series (Original PDF)