Leo M. Frank is Indicted by Grand Jury for Mary Phagan’s Death; Negro, Newt Lee Held

Solemn Frank

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

Atlanta Journal

Saturday, May 24th, 1913

True Bills Against Pencil Factory Superintendent Returned Less Than Ten Minutes After Evidence Was Closed, at Noon, Saturday — Authority Quoted That He Will Be Tried During Third Week in June—Negro to Stay in Jail


Grand Jury’s Session Began Friday Morning — Many Witnesses Examined, but Not All That Solicitor Has Were Introduced Into Grand Jury Room—Charge Is That Frank Killed Mary Phagan by Choking Her With a Cord That He Tied

Leo M. Frank [pictured], superintendent of the National Pencil factory in the basement of which the slain body of Mary Phagan was found in the early morning of Sunday, April 27, stands formally charged with her death.

A grand jury indictment, a true bill charging that he killed Mary Phagan, was returned by the Fulton county grand jurors at 12:23 Saturday afternoon.

Less than ten minutes earlier, the jury had gone into executive session and Solicitor Dorsey, who had been conducting the examination of witnesses, had left the room. In the interval, the jury reached its verdict, and each of the jurors signed his name to the formal document upon which Frank will be arraigned on the charge of murder.


No action was taken with regard to the negro night watchman, Newt Lee, held by the coroner on a “suspicion” warrant for the grand jury.

Mr. Dorsey stated afterward that he had not asked the grand jury to take action with regard to Lee. It is probable, seemingly, that the grand jury will not return a “true” or “no” bill in Lee’s case until after the trial of Superintendent Frank.

Lee, therefore, will remain in jail meanwhile, with the charge holding him there as a suspect.

It is assumed with the best of authority that the indicted man, Leo M. Frank, will be put on trial during the third week in June, less than a month hence.

It is known that several witnesses whom the state has secured to substantiate its charge, were not introduced before the grand jury by Solicitor Dorsey.

The jury’s true bill charges formally, in legal phrase, that “Leo M. Frank did murder, in that in the county aforesaid (Fulton), state of Georgia, on the 26th day of April, in the year of our Lord 1913, with force of arms he did unlawfully and with malice aforethought, kill and murder one Mary Phagan by then and there choking her, said Mary Phagan, with a cord that he placed around her neck.”


Neither the negro nor Frank appeared before the grand jury. Both remained in the Tower, where they have been confined since the coroner’s inquest ordered them to be held.


The Fulton county grand jury began its second day’s probe of the murder of Mary Phagan at 10 o’clock Saturday morning, taking up the cases of Leo M. Frank and Newt Lee, held at the instigation of the coroner’s jury.

Indications were that the case would be concluded during the day.

Each of the twenty-one grand jurors who were present Friday was on hand when the probe was resumed and in addition George A. Gershon, who had returned from New York, Victor H. Kriegshaber, was excused temporarily.

The first witness was Miss Grace Hix, who worked side by side with Mary Phagan at the pencil factory. Miss Hix told of going to the undertaker’s establishment and identifying the girl’s body. She remained in the jury room only a few minutes.

Miss Hix was followed by E. F. Holloway, the day watchman at the pencil factory who is said to have left the factory about 11:45 o’clock on the Saturday of the tragedy.

Holloway was questioned relative to the position of the elevator when he left the building. It stood at the second floor, he said. The witness and he thinks that, as had been custom, he locked the box covering the switches that control the elevator and put the keys in their customary place, which was known to probably all in the office.

On his return Monday the elevator, as nearly as he could remember, was in the same place he had left it Saturday, the witness said.


He was followed by M. B. Darley, who in turn was followed by Judge Barry, the official court stenographer, who took the testimony at the inquest.

Miss Monteen Stover was then called to the stand. She testified that she went to the factory at about 12:10 o’clock on the Saturday of the tragedy to get her pay. She waited until about 12:20, she said. No one came into the office and she left, returning the following Saturday.

Harry Scott, of the Pinkerton detective agency, was called to the stand to repeat the testimony given by him at the inquest.

He was followed by B. B. Hazlett, a city detective, and J. M. Gantt, both of whom testified to the demeanor of Frank, the first on the day of his arrest and the second on the day of the crime.

W. H. Gheesland, an embalmer employed by P. J. Bloomfield, the undertaker, was the last witness. Immediately after he left the jury room, Solicitor Dorsey followed him out and the jury took up its verdict.

The grand jury began its investigation of the Phagan case, Friday morning at 10 o’clock, only two sessions being held before an indictment was returned.

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Atlanta Journal, May 24th 1913, “Leo M. Frank is Indicted by Grand Jury for Mary Phagan’s Death; Negro, Newt Lee Held,” Leo Frank case newspaper article series (Original PDF)