J. L. Watkins Says He Did Not See Phagan Child on Day of Tragedy

J. L. Watkins

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

Atlanta Journal

Thursday, May 8th, 1913

J. L. Watkins, called to the stand after Miss Hall, the stenographer, was excused, clarified his former testimony that he had seen Mary Phagan on the street near her home on Saturday afternoon, April 26, by declaring that he is convinced now he was mistaken about it.

“Mr. White [sic], on last Thursday did you not swear before this inquest that between 4 and 5 o’clock on the afternoon of Saturday, April 26, you saw Mary Phagan walking along Bellwood avenue toward her home?” asked the coroner.

“Yes, that’s so,” answered the witness. “I was honestly mistaken.”

He was asked how he had found out that he was mistaken. He replied that Detectives Starnes and Campbell had found the young woman whom he mistook for Mary Phagan. He is absolutely certain now that he was mistaken, said he. They had brought the girl before him, dressed in the same clothes that she wore that afternoon, and had caused her to cross a vacant field just as she crossed it that afternoon.

The girl whom he mistook for Mary Phagan, said he, he knew now to be Daisy Jones. He pointed her out among those in the room.

He was excused from the stand.

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Atlanta Journal, May 8th 1913, “J. L. Watkins Says He Did Not See Phagan Child on Day of Tragedy,” Leo Frank case newspaper article series (Original PDF)