Leo Frank is Again Quizzed by Coroner

by Archivist on May 8, 2016

Leo Frank is Again Quizzed by Coroner

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

Atlanta Georgian

Thursday, May 8th, 1913

Newt Lee Called to Stand for Further Examination—Coroner Will Put Case in Hands of Jury by 7 o’clock, It is Predicted.

Leo M. Frank, superintendent of the National Pencil Factory, and Newt Lee, night watchman, both of whom are being held in connection with inquiry into the death of Mary Phagan, were recalled to the witness stand late Thursday afternoon at the inquest.

Frank was given a more searching examination as to movements on the day of the tragedy than he underwent his first day on the stand and an apparent endeavor was made to show that he was not at home at the times he had stated in his previous testimony.

Frank, however, answered the questions readily and Coroner Donehoo was not able to trip him.

In Frank’s previous testimony he failed to mention several persons who were at his home when he said he was there Saturday night. But when he was questioned in regard to this point Thursday afternoon he gave their names at once.

NEWT LEE PRECEDED FRANK ON THE STAND.

Lee’s testimony was in regard to the private conversation he had with Frank when Lee was first arrested. He declared that Frank had told him that they would “both go to hell” if they were not careful, but the effect of this testimony was largely nullified by Frank’s earlier statement that the remark or a remark to the same effect was suggested by one of the detectives in the hope of getting some information from the night watchman.

The morning session was not prolific. Nothing of consequence was developed.

Miss Hattie Hall and Herbert Schiff, chief clerk in the pencil factory, were the first witnesses at the afternoon session.

Coroner Donehoo called for Lee immediately after Detective John Black had testified, supplementing the important testimony given by Harry Scott, of the Pinkertons.

W. W. (“Boots”) Rogers, former county policeman, and Lemmie Quinn, foreman in the tipping department at the National Pencil Factory, were the principal witnesses this morning. Neither gave testimony that was materially damaging to either Leo M. Frank or Newt Lee, who are being held in connection with the crime.

Rogers was questioned closely of the events of the morning the crime was discovered, and told of taking the officers to the scene in his automobile. Beyond his belief that Frank appeared nervous when he was visited at his home by the detectives, Rogers had no information that appeared to point suspicion in one direction more than another.

He was sure, however, that the time clock tape on which Newt Lee, the night watchman, registered his half-hour rounds of the factory had no “misses” when it was taken from the clock by Frank that morning. Three misses were found on a tape subsequently brought to Police Headquarters.

Quinn’s Story Unchanged.

An effort was made without avail to break down the story of Lemmie Quinn that he was at the factory and talked to Frank between 12:10 and 12:20 the Saturday afternoon of the tragedy. Coroner Donehoo tried to get Quinn to admit that he previously had told officers who interviewed him that he was not at the factory between Friday and the following Sunday.

Quinn steadfastly refused to admit that he had made a statement of the sort. He supported Frank’s testimony of last Monday by insisting that he visited the factory for a few minutes and went into Frank’s office.

Miss Hattie Hall, the stenographer who was at the factory office Saturday until noon, was another of the witnesses called to the stand during the forenoon. She testified as to Frank’s movements while she was there.

Frank Pale, but Calm.

Frank was brought into the Commissioner’s Room in the police station before the inquest began, but later was excused and Rogers called.

The factory superintendent was pale, but calm and collected. He whispered a few words to his counsel, Luther Z. Rosser, and smiled faintly at a remark that was made to him. He appeared to show the strain of the days since he has been in a cell.

Lee was not admitted to the room at the beginning of the hearing, but was detained in a nearby office. The night watchman seemed almost indifferent.

* * *

Night Edition

[The following few paragraphs were added to the above article in the night edition of the Atlanta Georgian—Ed.]

PHAGAN INQUEST IS NEAR END; LIKELY TO GO TO JURY BY 7 P.M.

Witnesses Are Quizzed in Detail, but Nothing Important Brought Out. Officials Say They Are Satisfied With Case as It Is Being Developed.

Leo Mr. Frank was ready to take the witness stand in the Phagan case when the Coroner continued the afternoon session on Thursday.

The morning session was not prolific. Nothing of consequence was developed.

Miss Hattie Hall and Herbert Schiff, chief clerk in the pencil factory, were the first witnesses at the afternoon session.

Newt Lee, the night watchman, was to follow Frank on the stand, and officials asserted that Lee would doubtless begin his concluding testimony by 4 o’clock.

It was expected that not more than six witnesses would be put up, the authorities declared, and that the inquest would be concluded before night.

The case will probably be placed in the hands of the Coroner’s jury for a verdict by 7 o’clock.

Testimony along a new line will be given, it is understood by Miss Nellie Wood, 8 Corput Street; Miss Nellie Pettis, 9 Oliver Street, and Mrs. Lilie Pettis, 9 Oliver Street. All three young women will assert that Frank sought to treat them in a familiar manner.

Another witness, a young woman, whose name the authorities refuse to divulge, will conclude the testimony. She is sick, it is asserted, but will be present with her physician.

Newt Lee, the negro night watchman, took the stand at 4:10 o’ clock.

Coroner Donehoo called for Lee immediately after Detective John Black had testified, supplementing the important testimony given by Harry Scott, of the Pinkertons.

* * *

Atlanta Georgian, May 8th 1913, “Leo Frank is Again Quizzed by Coroner,” Leo Frank case newspaper article series (Original PDF)

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