Mrs. Formby Here for Phagan Trial

by Curator on May 3, 2017

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

The Atlanta Constitution

Thursday, June 19, 1913

Woman Declares She Will Appear in Court and Will Corroborate Sensational Affidavit to Police.

Mima [sic] Formby, the rooming housekeeper of 400 Piedmont avenue, who made the affidavit declaring that Leo Frank had telephoned her on the night of Mary Phagan’s murder in an endeavor to rent a room to which he could bring a girl, has returned to Atlanta after a disappearance of several weeks.

To a reporter for The Constitution she stated yesterday afternoon that she intended remaining in the city until time of the Phagan trial and that she would appear before the court and deliver testimony corroborating the sensational affidavit to which she has attested.

Why She Left City.

Mrs. Formby’s recent disappearance created considerable mystery. The police of several different cities were notified to be on the lookout for her, and while the police and detective bureau of Atlanta scoured the city, widespread efforts were made to locate her by the solicitor general’s office.

She declares that she was persuaded by no one to leave town, and that her departure was of her own accord. She had gone away, she said, to avoid notoriety which was incurred by her affidavit, and to remain out of the city until the sensation subsided. She visited Chattanooga, Bristol and Sulphur Springs, Tenn., while on the trip, she said.

Chief Lanford said Wednesday afternoon that he expected the woman’s return and had felt no fears of her absence at time of trial.

Says Frank Wanted Room.

Mrs. Formby’s affidavit was one of the most sensational obtained by the detectives, excepting, of course, the James Conley statement. She swore that on the night of April 26 Leo Frank had telephoned her frequently between the hours of 6:30 and 10 o’clock in an effort to get a room to which he could bring a girl.

She testified that he even declared it was a matter of life and death, and that he even threatened her life when she refused to rent him an apartment. He telephoned her six times, she stated, and finally she was rid of him only after she had told him she was leaving her home on an automobile ride.

Mrs. Formby has returned to her home at the Piedmont avenue address.

May Change Frank Trial Scene.

Arrangements for staging the Leo M. Frank trial are being rushed to completion. Owing to the poor ventilation of the courtroom in the Thrower building, and the absence of witness rooms, some more desirable place will have to be secured for the trial, it is said.

Judge L. S. Roan, of the superior court, said last night that he did not know of any other place being provided, but in case that the county commissioners should decide that the present quarters are inadequate, that in all probability some more suitable place would be provided.

Before leaving for New York, Solicitor Dorsey is said to have instructed his deputy to discuss with Judge Roan some more suitable place for holding the trial, and it is thought that within the next day or so the county board will be called upon to provide a larger place for the trial.

12 Books of Evidence.

Wednesday morning twelve books of evidence of more than 100 pages each were turned over to the solicitor’s office by tenographers [sic], and assistant Solicitor E. A. Stephens stated that the state could go to trial on forty-eight hours’ notice.

These books of evidence will be used to bring out the salient points in the evidence of each witness and the solicitor will question the witnesses from these books, it is said, carrying each witness over the same ground when their statesments [sic] were made.

Solicitor Dorsey will return from New York Saturday, and by that time the greater number of witnesses will be summoned, and ready for the trial.

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The Atlanta Constitution, June 19th 1913, “Mrs. Formby Here for Phagan Trial,” Leo Frank case newspaper article series (Original PDF)

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