Another in our series of new transcriptions of contemporary articles on the Leo Frank case.
July 28th, 1913
Wife Helps Prisoner Pick Men to Try Him
All in Readiness for Real Trial to Begin After Short Recess
Events on the opening day of the trial of Leo M. Frank, accused of the slaying of Mary Phagan in the National Pencil Factory, moved with such unexpected swiftness that it was apparent that the trial proper would be under way and the first witnesses called before the close of the first day’s session. The jury had been completed by the time recess was taken at 1:30.
After a few preliminary clashes between the opposing attorneys which presaged a bitter struggle when the fight for Frank’s life actually was begun, the court settled down to the selection of the jury. The whole morning session up to the recess was occupied with the examination of veniremen.
All the force of attorneys at the table for the defense watched with keen eyes every man examined and frequently referred to a voluminous r[e]cord containing the names of all the veniremen and detailed statements of their history and associations so far as these might have a bearing on their desirability as jurors to pass on Leo Frank’s guilt or innocence.
The keenest interest was manifested by those in the crowded little courtroom as the strategies of the brilliant lawyers were revealed during the examination.
State Had Veniremen’s Records.
The thoroughness with which the Solicitor and his assistants had canvassed the history of every venireman and had investigated whether or not he had ever expressed an opinion on the guilt or innocence of the accused was demonstrated when W. W. Hemmett, a salesman for the Kingsbury Shoe Company, was being examined as to his qualifications.
“Have you ever said you thought Frank was guilty?” Mr. Dorsey inquired.
“No, I never have,” replied Hemmett.
Here the Solicitor referred to some notes at hand and proceeded to call to Hemmett’s recollection a certain talk he had with acquaintances at a certain time. Hemmett was forced to admit that he had talked of the case at that time, but declared that he had not expressed a definite opinion.
“I only said I would have to hear some evidence before I would believe Frank was guilty,” he told Judge Roan.
He was rejected for cause.
Defense Equally Alert.
The defense showed that it was exactly as vigilant when the next venireman was examined. As soon as A. L. Bellingrath, of No. 91 Milledge avenue, arose from his seat, Attorney Arnold was on his feet prepared to state the objection of the defense. He pointed out that Bellingrath was the brother of Henry Bellingrath who has been employed in the Solicitor’s office during the Phagan investigation and that he was reported to have expressed an opinion on the guilt of Frank.
A shrewd bit of strategy was used by Solicitor Dorsey and Attorney Hooper in accepting the two negroes whose names were among the veniremen.
By doing this they forced the defense to use up two of their twenty challenges if they did not desire to have negroes on the jury. With Jim Conley, a negro, likely to be indicted for the murder in the event that Frank is cleared, the defense had no intention of allowing them to pass on Frank’s guilt and promptly struck them. The two negroes were Earl Davis and E. E. Hawkins.
Defense Loses First Clash.
The attorneys for Leo M. Frank lost out in their first skirmish with the prosecution, being compelled to read […]
Frank Assists His Attorneys in Eliminating Veniremen
Wife Sits With Dagger-Like Gaze on the Prosecutor of Her Husband
Accused Close Watcher as the Men Who are to Decide Fate are Picked
[…] their list of witnesses against their wishes and their vigorous protests.
They evened up matters by obtaining from Solicitor Dorsey the concession of honoring the subpenas lecus tecum issued by the defense and demanding the production in court of all the affidavits of Jim Conley. After a short passage between Attorney Arnold for Frank and Solicitor Dorsey that the list must be read, the judge ruled, and the list was read by Attorney Stiles Hopkins.
The list included employees of the National Pencil Factory, where the murdered girl worked; members of Frank’s immediate family, and other relatives and associates of the accused man, members of the same fraternal orders, acquaintances who saw Frank on the day of the crime and classmates in college.
The reading of the last names came as a complete surprise. It developed that the defense had scoured the country for persons who had known Frank when he was a student at Cornell. They were subpenaed to bring the character testimony in his behalf up to the time he began his business career.
The picking of the jury proved less difficult than anticipated, twelve men being obtained before 1:30.
List of Jurors.
Here are the jurors chosen:
A. H. Henslee, No. 74 Oak street, a traveling salesman for the Franklin Buggy Company; F. V. L. Smith, No. 481 Cherokee avenue, manufacturer’s agent, with offices in the Empire Building; J. F. Higdon, a contractor, No. 108 Ormewood avenue; F. E. Winburn, No. 213 Lucile avenue, claim agent Atlanta and West Point Railroad; A. L. Wisby, No. 31 Hood street, cashier of the Buckeye Oil Company; W. M. Jeffries, a real estate man, with offices at 313 Empire Building; Marcellus Johemming, No. 161 James street, a machine shop foreman, with offices at No. 281 Marietta street; M. L. Woodward, cashier King Hardware Comparny, No. 182 Park avenue; J. T. Orburn, an optician for Hawkes, was chosen from the fifth panel to be the ninth juror; D. Townsend, No. 84 Whitehall terrace, cashier Central Bank and Trust Corporation.
W. S. Medcalf, No. 136 Kirkwood avenue, circulation department of The Atlanta Journal.
C. J. Bosshardt, No. 216 Bryan street, pressman Foote & Davies.
Bosshardt, the twelfth juror chosen, was the last venireman in the last panel that had been called before the court at the opening of court in the morning. He was picked at exactly 1:25 o’clock and at 1:30 the recess was taken until 3 o’clock.
Attorney Rosser took very little part in the selection of the jury, except to interject a suggestion now and then. He evidently was reserving his strength for the real struggle to come.
Shortly before 2 o’clock Leo Frank was taken into a room adjoining the juryroom, where he was served with a special dinner provided for him by his relatives. Frank’s mother and wife were allowed to converse with him while he ate the dinner. He will remain in this room until the court reconvenes at 3 o’clock.
Wife and Mother With Frank.
Frank, accompanied by his wife and his mother, was brought into the courtroom at 10:30 o’clock. The striking of the jury was begun at once.
A half dozen of Frank’s friends interrupted the order of the court for several minutes by clustering about him and shaking hands with him.
If there was any fear in the heart of the young prisoner it did not show in his calm features. He seemed perfectly assured and self-possessed. He nodded pleasantly to the judge and greeted his friends with a smilee [sic].
After the stir had subsided, covering the entrance of Frank, his wife and mother, the trio took seats in a semi-circle just below the bench.
Frank and his mother took a good look at the jurors in the first panel that was brought in. The prisoner scrutinized each one closely as he was quizzed by the prosecutor to determine his qualifications.
Wife Fixes Gaze on Dorsey.
Mrs. Frank displayed no sign of emotion until she suddenly found that she was facing Solicitor Dorsey. Then anger appeared to blaze from her eyes and seeming scorn curled her lips. She seldom removed her gaze from the Solicitor’s face during the forenoon. If Dorsey was aware of the young woman’s scrutiny, he made no sign and proceeded with the case in rapid fashion.
Occasionally Mrs. Frank would turn to her husband and nod toward the Solicitor as though she was ridiculing the efforts to convict Frank. Mrs. Frank was attired in a becoming suit of black and wore a black hat trimmed with black chiffon; also a black veil was drawn up over her hat. A black and white ribbon led to her watch in the pocket of her white silk waist. Two brilliant diamonds shone on the engagement finger of her left hand.
Frank occupied a seat between his wife and mother. He conversed with them alternatively, at no time appearing nervous or the least apprehensive. His attitude was noticeably even more calm than at the time when he appeared before the Coroner’s jury.
Frank Aids Attorneys.
Frank spoke frequently to his attorneys, whom he was near, and made suggestions while the jurors were being qualified. When each new panel was brought in he looked intently into the face of each man; beginning at the upper row and shifting his gaze from man to man until he had scrutinized them all.
Not infrequently, when the Solicitor had closed his examination and had said, “Juror, look on prisoner; prisoner, look on juror,” Frank would turn to Attorney Arnold and an instant later the announcement would be made, “Storuck by the defense.” Frank evidently was playing a large part in the striking of jurors by the defense.
The dagger-like gaze of Mrs. Frank seldom was removed from the Solicitor’s face. Frequently she embraced all those at Dorsey’s table in her scornful glance.
Wife Caresses Prisoner.
Chief of Detectives Newport A. Lanford, whose department unearthed much of the evidence, happened to be sitting at her right. She turned to him while he was glancing over papers as if she were about to speak her mind to him, but thought better of it.
Once in a while she took her eyes from the Solicitor’s table to lay her hand affectionately upon her husband’s shoulder and draw him toward her to whisper in his ear. Once when she discovered the reporters eyeing her, she smiled mischievously and immediately whispered the information to Frank.
Frank’s mother sat quietly through the routine of examining the veniremen. She spoke to her son frequently, directing her glance at the prospective jurors as though commenting on their fitness.
State Names Its Witnesses.
At 9:58 o’clock, Solicitor Dorsey announced that he was ready to open the case of the State against Leo M. Frank, charged with having killed Mary Phagan by strangulation. This was followed by the request of the defense that the State’s witnesses be called, sworn and put under the rule.
The prosecution opened by announcing its readiness to go on with the trial and called the list of witnesses. Bailiffs brought them down from the second floor. In regular order called, their names were: Mrs. J. W. Coleman, mother of Mary Phagan; J. W. Coleman, the girl’s stepfather; George Epps, newsboy; L. S. Dobbs, policeman; W. W. Rogers, bailiff for constable; L. S. Starnes, detective and also prosecutor on the indictment; Pat Campbell, detective; Grace Hicks, girl who identified Mary Phagan’s body; J. M. Gantt, once held for inquiry, now supposed to be a star witness for the prosecution; Harry Scott, the Pinkerton detective; R. P. Barrett, pencil factory employee; B. P. Haslett, policeman; M. V. Darley, factory employee; W. A. Gheesling, undertaker that cared for girl’s body; Dr. Claude Smith, City Bacteriologist; Dr. H. F. Harris, member of the State Board of Health; Dr. J. W. Hurt, Coroner’s physician; E. L. Parry, court stenographer; E. S. Smith, Monteen Stover, girl employee at pencil factory; Minola McKnight, cook at Frank’s home; Albert McKnight, Minola’s husband (McKnight did not appear in court); Helen Ferguson, Mrs. Arthur White, wife of factory employee, and L. Stanford.
Attorney Reuben Arnold asked concerning the duces tecum that he had served on the State’s attorneys for the affidavits of Jim Conley and others. On the promise of Solicitor Dorsey that he would produce the affidavits whenever needed the duces tecum was waived.
Solicitor Dorsey said he did not concede the right of the defense to force a production of the affidavit. He, however, at the request of Mr. Arnold, dictated a statement giving the dates of each of the affidavits signed by Conley, saying they were all of the affidavits Conley had made and that he would produce them whenever necessary.
The Solicitor asked then that the defense’s witnesses be called and sworn. This was met by strenuous objection on the part of Attorneys Rosser and Arnold, who claimed their list was fragmentary.
Solicitor Dorsey protested vehemently, declaring that it would be extremely unfair to the State not to swear the defense’s witnesses at this time. Attorney Rosser said it would delay the trial to complete their list at this time.
Judge Roan ruled that he would give the defense time to get up the list. The defense capitulated and it took but five minutes for the list to be made up.
Witnesses for Defense.
Attorney Stiles Hopkins, at the table for the defense, called the names of the witnesses by whom they expect to clear Frank. They were Mary Burke, Dora Small, Ella Thomas, C. P. Gilbert, F. Payne, Eula Flowers, Josephine Steiker, Mattie Thompson, Mrs. L. J. Cohen, J. C. Lowe, M. H. Liebman, Miss Bessie White, Joe Williams, Fred Howell, Wade Campbell, J. A. Price, J. E. Lyon, Cora Lavender, M. O. Nix, J. C. Matthews, F. Jenkins, Mrs. Josephine Selig, E. Selig, J. H. Haas, W. H. Mincey, J. B. Spier, E. L. Skipper, E. L. Sentell, May Barrett, Rebecca Carson, C. H. Carson, Harry Denham, Corinthia Hall, Mattie Hall, J. L. Holloway, Mrs. George Jefferson, Jerome Michael, George W. Parrott, M. W. Morrow, Mrs. M. W. Morrow, Rabi David Marx, A. E. Mayo, Fred Weller, A. E. Marcus, Ed Montag, I. H. Haas, W. B. Owens, T. Y. Brent and Ossie Shields.
These were all of the witnesses whose names were called, but at least 100 more, who will be used mostly as character witnesses, were in the room on the second floor waiting to be called.
First Talesman Too Old.
After the venire had been sifted and many excused, W. S. Copeland was the first talesman examined. He was excused when he said that he had passed the 60-year mark. Solicitor Dorsey put the questions, using the formal ones ask in murder trials.
Being conscientiously opposed to capital punishment or conviction by circumstantial evidence was held not to disqualify a juror by Judge Roan. This was in connection with O. T. Camp, the second talesman.
“I am conscientiously opposed to capital punishments on certain grounds,” said Camp.
“What are those grounds,” asked Solicitor Dorsey.
“Circumstantial evidence,” he replied.
Judge Sustains Defense.
“That disqualifies him, then,” said Solicitor Dorsey.
Attorney Rosser objected, saying that such belief did not disqualify the juror. Judge Roan sustained the defense, but Solicitor Dorsey struck him.
A. W. Brewerton was disqualified because he was opposed to capital punishment.
W. H. Winn was struck, Solicitor Dorsey taking this action after looking over his record.
R. G. Elliott was struck by the defense.
L. A. Smith was struck for cause.
C. T. Hopkins, Jr., struck by State.
Not One Is Obtained.
W. E. Cates, disqualified because opposed to capital punishment.
T. G. Young, struck by defense.
D. D. Hewey, struck because he did not believe in capital punishment.
That ended the first panel of talesmen and not a single juror was obtained. The State struck three and the defense two. Seven were disqualified for cause.
Four Jurymen Obtained.
Four jurors were obtained from the second panel. They are:
A. H. Henslee, No. 74 Oak street, a salesman.
F. V. L. Smith, No. 481 Cherokee avenue, a manufacturers agent.
J. F. Higdon, 108 Ormewood avenue, a contractor.
F. E. Winburn, No. 21 Lucile avenue, a claim agent.
On the second panel the following men were struck:
Howard Oliver, by the defense.
H. E. Luckey, for cause.
O. L. Spurlin, No. 156 Lawton street, struck by defense.
H. A. Shide, for cause.
E. E. Hawkins, No. 369 Edgewood avenue, a negro, who was accepted by the prosecution, but struck by the defense.
L. F. Davis, for cause.
David Woodward, for cause.
M. J. Sewell, for cause.
Imposing Array of Counsel.
Third and Fourth Panels Go.
The following men were struck on the third panel: Charles Witherspoon, by defense; H. J. Kuglar, for cause; C. J. Hale, for cause; J. B. Hays, by defense; E. L. Winn, for cause; W. H. Abbott, for cause; K. P. Mayson, for cause; Boyd Perry, for cause.
The entire fourth panel was struck: Samuel Schoen, by the State; W. S. Singleton, by defense; Earle Davis, a negro, was accepted by the State, but struck by the defense; C. S. Cantrell, for cause; John W. Collier, for cause; W. W. Hammett, by the State; A. F. Bellingrath, by defense on ground that he was a brother to an employee of Solicitor Dorsey’s office and that he had expressed the opinion that Frank was guilty.
“I said it looked like he was guilty from what the newspapers said,” declared Mr. Bellingrath. Solicitor Dorsey urged that the talesman was not disqualified by this. However, Judge Roan disqualified him for cause.
“I think he should be set aside for his own sake,” ruled the judge.
- Berger, for cause.
Two More Panels Struck.
The following men were struck from the fifth panel: W. C. Willis,, for cause; H. C. Hasty, prejudice; C. H. Cook, by defense; C. H. Candler, in answer to a question from Solicitor Dorsey if he was impartial, said “No;” George R. Low, by the State; S. E. Owens, for cause; J. C. Henderson, for cause; C. M. Brown, opposed to capital punishment; C. A. Vaughn, prejudice.
The following men, comprising the entire sixth panel, were struck; Ben F. Willis, by defense; C. M. Petton, prejudice; W. H. Hudson, not impartial; G. R. Milner, by defense; John Head, age; Robert Smidt, opposed to capital punishment; V. N. Carroll, not impartial; C. H. Allen, opposed to capital punishment; P. F. Barber, opposed to capital punishment; O. Wingate, for cause; T. E. Winsow, by State; A. W. Wofford, by defense.
Every man on the seventh panel was struck, including H. H. Kelly, prejudice; N. A. Long, biased; C. W. Gittens, by defense; H. D. Ferguson, opposed to capital punishment; W. L. Merk, by defense; F. E. Walker, prejudice; P. B. Sale, prejudice; W. S. Gaston, biased; C. L. Asbury, biased; J. W. Chatham, prejudice; C. W. Seagroves, prejudice; Carl Weinmeister, opposed to capital punishment.
The last panel, from which the last juror was secured, was Panel No. 9. The following men were struck: S. L. Miller, by defense; H. L. Solomonson, biased; L. O. Hendon, by defense; H. C. Ashford, for cause; E. E. Wochendorff, prejudice; Nicholas Ittner, age; Bud Waites, prejudice; W. W. Sorrell, by defense; Soloman Benjamin, member of Grand Jury.
The buzz of conversation in the little courtroom instantly was hushed when Judge Roan appeared and Deputy Sheriff Plennie Miner called the court to order. The impaneling of jurors was begun at once.
Luther Z. Rosser, chief of counsel for Frank, pressed his way to the defense’s table just as Deputy Miner rapped for order. Solicitor Dorsey and his associates were at their table busily arranging papers and documents several minutes before the swearing of the veniremen began.
An imposing array of legal talent was presented when the case was called. Heading counsel for Frank were Rosser and Reuben R. Arnold, two of the foremost lawyers of the South. At their table were Herbert J. Haas, a civil attorney, who has been engaged in looking up character witnesses in behalf of Frank; Styles Hopkins, of the Rosser & Brandon law firm; Oscar Simmons and Paul Goss, engaged especially to assist in picking the jury; George Cox, of Arnold & Arnold law firm, and Luther Z. Rosser, Jr.
Wife at Frank’s Side.
With Solicitor Dorsey were Frank A. Hooper, the brilliant attorney who made his reputation as a prosecutor in criminal cases; E. A. Stephens, Assistant Solicitor, and detectives who have been working on the case. Jim Conley’s attorney, W. M. Smith, also was in court.
A stir was created when Mrs. Frank, wife of the accused, made her way into the courtroom and hurried past the rows of spectators into the anteroom where her husband was confined. She bore herself bravely, and when she reached Frank, was seen to converge cheerfully with him.
The loyal woman, who insisted on being by the side of her husband until he was called into the courtroom with his attorneys, drew the attention away from the routine proceedings several minutes.
Judge Roan in Good Humor.
Judge Roan appeared in unusually radiant humor and enlivened the dull routine of the early proceedings with facetious remarks directed at the jurors who sought to evade duty on various pretexts.
To one who claimed deafness, Judge Roan said that he had heard his own name readily enough when it was called.
Another juror, Dr. E. L. Connally, well known capitalist, and gray haired veteran of the war, remarked, smiling rather slyly, that he thought he was over age.
“How do you know that?” inquired the judge.
“My mother says I am,” was Dr. Connally’s reply.
“Do you claim exemption on that account?” asked the court.
“I guess I do, judge,” admitted the capitalist.
“Well, then, I guess I will excuse you,” said the judge, amid a general laugh from the courtroom.
Dr. Connally left his place with a vigor that belied his years.
Old Dr. Stork was responsible for the excusing of several of the jurors.
By the time the eighth panel of men had taken the oath three men had told of new arrivals at their homes and had been excused.
Defense Not to Ask Delay.
Luther Z. Rosser, of counsel for the defense, stated to a Georgian reporter as he left his office for the scene of the trial that [t]he defense would make no move for delay.
“We will not seek a change of venue or make any move of any kind to delay justice for our client,” he said, “We are entirely confident that justice and truth will prevail, as it always must.”
Reuben R. Arnold, of the defense, made the same kind of a statement.
“We will announce ready as soon as the case is called,” he said.
One important witness for the defense was reported to be missing. He is a traveling salesman, and the defense was said to be confident of locating him.
A great crowd gathered in front of the courthouse as the hour of the trial drew near, and when 9 o’clock arrived, Pryor street at Hunter was almost impassable. The corridors of the courthouse were a mass of humanity, through which a lane had to be cut by deputies to allow the passage of witnesses and lawyers and newspaper men.
The crowd was tense with curiosity, but to all appearances inclined to be orderly and apparently was moved only by the commonest of human motives—curiosity.
Judge Andrew Calhoun entered the courtroom when the court was about midway in its forenoon session and took a seat by Judge Roan. In the intervals when the proceedings were interrupted by conferences of the attorneys, he conversed with Judge Roan.
Newt Lee, who found Mary Phagan’s body, was brought from the Tower in the middle of the forenoon in the custody of a deputy sheriff. He was placed in an anteroom adjoining the courtroom. It was expected that he would be one of the early witnesses, if not the first, to be called by the State. Lee testified before the Coroner’s inquest that he found the body of the slain factory girl in the […the end of the article appears to have not been printed]