Another in our series of new transcriptions of contemporary articles on the Leo Frank case.
The Atlanta Journal
Saturday, July 12, 1913
Frank’s Attorneys Said to Have Corroborating Evidence, Newt Lee Denied Freedom
Joseph H. Leavitt, an attorney, with offices at 422 Grant building, the man who secured the affidavit of W.H. Mincey, who alleges that James Conley confessed to the killing of a girl on April 26, the day Mary Phagan was murdered, declares that a number of affidavits fully corroborating every word that Mincey has said, are in the hands of counsel for the defense of Leo M. Frank.
Mr. Leavitt states that the Mincey affidavit is really much stronger than the published reports, which have purported to give its substance.
The reports are correct as far as they go, Mr. Leavitt admitted to a Journal reporter, but the affidavit dictated and signed by Mincey contains still more testimony, damaging to Conley.
“Mincey is a good citizen,” Mr. Leavitt told a Journal reporter, “a man of education and of character. However, every assertion which he made in the affidavit has been corroborated.”
“Then you must mean that some one else heard the confession Mincey claims that Conley made?” the reporter asked.
“Yes, others head [sic] it,” was the answer of Attorney Leavitt.
While he states that he doesn’t know his address, Mr. Leavitt says that he is confidence [sic] that Mincey will be here when Leo M. Frank faces a jury on the charge of murdering Mary Phagan.
Mincey in his affidavit claims that he went to see Conley on the afternoon of April 26, the day Mary Phagan was murdered to solicit insurance from him, and that Conley became angered and told him that he had killed a little girl that day and did not want to have to kill another person.
The police make light of the Mincey affidavit, and say that Mincey once came to headquarters to identify a man he had seen drunk in the negro quarter. He saw Conley, they say, and then admitted that he had never seen the engro [sic] before.
Attorney Leavitt says that the affidavit will give a good reason for Mincey’s failure to make known at once the information, which he claims to have on the sensational murder case.
Solicitor General Dorsey and Attorney Frank A. Hooper, who will assist him in the prosecution of Frank, grilled James Conley at headquarters for more than an hour Friday afternoon. While Mr. Dorsey would not discuss the matter, it is understood that he questioned Conley closely about the statements alleged to have been to Mincey, and the negro claims that he never saw [the] insurance agent except at police headquarters.
LEE DENIED FREEDOM.
The only result of the hearing of the habeas corpus writ for the release of Newt Lee Saturday morning was the announcement of the sheriff that the negro would be given increased opportunities for taking exercise.
The negro himself stated to the court that he was perfectly willing to remain in jail until the Mary Phagan murder case has been disposed of. He said that he was well treated and well fed, and that his only complaint was that he was stiff from a want of exercise. Sheriff Mangum then told the court this was the first he had heard of the negro’s want of exercise, and that he would see that he had plenty in future.
Attorneys Graham and Chappell, counsel for Lee, made two points in their petition for a habeas corpus. First, that the negro night watchman had been bound over by the coroner’s jury, and that the two grand juries had failed to act on his case; and, second, that Lee was not a material witness.
The attorney admitted, however, in his petition that the negro did find Mary Phagan’s body.
Solicitor Dorsey declared that Lee was one of the most material witnesses of the state, and that he could testify[…]
(Continued on Page 5, Col. 2.)
MORE AFFIDAVITS TO SUPPORT MINCEY CLAIMED
(Continued From Page 1.)
[…]to several points that no one else could.
The hearing then developed into whether or not Lee should be placed under bond as a material witness or whether he should be held in jail as a witness.
COULDN’T MAKE BOND.
The negro said that he couldn’t make bond, and an order remanding him back to the custody of Sheriff Mangum was issued by Judge W.D. Ellis, who was presiding.
Attorney Chappell, who wanted to go into the issues of the case, presented a petition to have Leo M. Frank, who is charged with the Phagan murder, and James Conley, self-confessed accomplice, brought into court.
The solicitor general stated that he would admit the seevral [sic] things which Attorney hCappell [sic] set out in his petition, and that phase of the case was disposed of.
Attorneys Reuben R. Arnold and Luther Z. Rosser, counsel for Frank, were in court to fight any effort to bring Frank to the court, if a fight had been necessary. Mr. Arnold stated that a complete and exhaustive examination of Frank had been made at the inquest and he was ready to produce the record of Frank’s statement if it was needed.
Solicitor General Dorsey told the court that he would submit the warrant binding over Lee to the grand jury to that body, but could not conscientiously ask that Lee be indicted for murder, as there is no evidence against him.
* * *