Another in our series of new transcriptions of contemporary articles on the Leo Frank case.
August 4th, 1913
Negro Swore Previously That He Never Saw Mary Phagan Enter Factory—Many Other Changes in Story—Fourth Time He’s Changed Narrative
James Conley’s story as he told it on the witness stand Monday morning differs in many important details from the story he told to the detectives in his famous affidavit of confession.
In that affidavit he said that by appointment he met Frank at the corner of Forsyth and Nelson streets the day of the murder, and that he first went to the factory on that day when he followed Frank back there.
He now says that he went to the factory early Saturday morning, April 26, and after remaining there for some time in hiding he went away, meeting Frank at Forsyth and Nelson streets at about 10:30 and later following him back to the factory.
This change in the negro’s recital has evidently been made since he learned that – some of the incidents he described in his affidavit occurred during the early morning and before he said he came to the factory from Nelson and Forsyth streets.
In his affidavit Conley swore that he never saw Mary Phagan enter the factory, that he was drinking and must have been dozing and that the first time he saw her was when he went back into the metal room under directions from Frank.
Now he says he did see her go upstairs and that a short time later he heard a scream in the metal room.
In his affidavit he said that when Frank called him upstairs he told him that he (Frank) had picked up a girl back in the metal room, had let her fall and that her head had struck something.
Now he says Frank admitted having struck the girl, because she resisted his attentions.
Many other more or les[s] important discrepancies can be noted in Conley’s two stories.
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Atlanta Journal, August 4th 1913, “Many Discrepancies Between Conley’s Testimony and His Testimony Given to Detectives,” Leo Frank case newspaper article series (PDF)