Look for Negro to Break Down

by Archivist on April 28, 2016

Look For Negro to Break DownAnother in our series of new transcriptions of contemporary articles on the Leo Frank case.

Atlanta Georgian

Monday, April 28th, 1913

Newt Lee, the negro-night-watchman arrested in connection with the Phagan murder, practically admitted to Detective John Black this afternoon that he knows something of the circumstances surrounding the death of the little girl. The police are confident that Lee will tell all he knows before 6 o’clock.

Lee’s admission came after he had been “sweated” for two hours by a corps of officers under the direction of Detective John Black, and was wrung from him by a trap which Black set and into which the negro walked. Black said:

“Now, Lee, I know that you are innocent and didn’t murder the girl, but you know all about it and you know who committed the crime.”

Maintained He Told Truth.

Black’s statement was in the form of a question and was shot at the negro after he had sat quiet under the scrutiny of a dozen pairs of eyes. As Black leaned forward after asking the question Lee started nervously and said:

“Yes, that’s the God’s truth, boss!”

Then the negro apparently realized that he had spoken too quickly and tried to catch himself. He stammered and hesitated, finally declaring sullenly that he knew nothing of the affair. He is showing signs of weakening under the grilling of the detectives, and the police are confident that he will tell his story in a few hours.

Certain in their conviction that Lee knows far more about the murder than he has told, the police detectives called in T. V. Brent, a former employer of Lee, to assist in giving the negro the “third degree.”

Brent plied Lee with questions for two hours. The negro was not given a chance to compose himself before a new volley was fired at him.

Negro Near Breakdown.

“Lee, I know you know who committed that crime. You are just seeking to protect someone that has befriended you in the past,” said Brent to the negro finally.

Lee did not reply, but bent his head while his body was shaken with sobs.

“You’d better tell us now,” persisted Brent.

Still Lee was silent. Further endeavors to get him to talk were unsuccessful, but the detectives believe that the black man is weakening and will tell all he knows before the night is over.

Brent is with the real estate firm of W. E. Treadwell & Company, and had Lee in his employ for about four years when he was with the Stevens Planing Mill Company.

* * *

Atlanta Georgian, April 28th 1913, “Look for Negro to Break Down,” Leo Frank case newspaper article series (Original PDF)

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