Mullinax Blundered in Statement, Say Police

Mullinax Blundered in Statement, Say Police

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

Atlanta Georgian

Monday, April 28th, 1913

Mullinax was arrested by detectives late in the afternoon in Bellwood Avenue, near the viaduct, as he was on his way to his boarding house.

His positive identification by E. L. Sentell, of 82 Davis Street, a clerk for the Kemper Grocery Company, as the man he saw with the little Phagan girl in Forsyth Street about 12:20 o’clock yesterday morning, and alleged discrepancies in the statement of the prisoner led Chief Beavers and Chief of Detectives Lanford to order him locked in a cell and held on suspicion.

Sentell, who knew the dead girl well and who said he spoke to her when he passed her and her companion at Forsyth and Hunter Streets, accused Mullinax as the young suspect sat in the presence of Chief Beavers, Chief Lanford, Police Captain Mayo and Detectives Black, Starnes, Rosser and Haslett, who had worked all day on the mystery.

Sentell Positive.

“That’s the man who was with the girl last night. There’s not a doubt about it—I’m positive,” said Sentell as he pointed an accusing finger at Mullinax.

Mullinax vehemently declared the accusation false.

“It’s untrue—it’s all false—I was at home asleep,” cried the accused man.

Sentell remained positive and never once varied his identification.

Detectives said Mullinax made a serious blunder in his statement when he told them that he arrived at his boarding house, 60 Poplar Street before midnight, and that he paid Mrs. Emma Rutherford, his landlady, a dollar for some work done on his clothes. Mrs. Rutherford was questioned by Detectives Rosser and Haslett, and told them, they said, that this statement was false.

Sticks to Denial.

According to the officers, Mrs. Rutherford said she did not see Mullinax last night at all; that he paid her the dollar Saturday at noon, and that she did not see him until 7 o’clock Sunday morning.

Detectives regard this as a strong circumstance against the prisoner.

Mullinax became agitated two or three times during his examination by detectives, but stuck to his denial throughout the rapid-fire grilling.

When seen by a Georgian reporter, Mullinax talked freely, reiterating his sweeping denial of any knowledge whatever of the tragedy. He denied he was personally acquainted with the dead girl, but said he had seen her one time, when both he and the girl took part in a Christmas entertainment in the Western Heights Baptist Church.

Girl Supports Prisoner.

Guy Kennedy, a conductor of the English Avenue trolley line, on whose car the Phagan girl had ridden many times to and from her Bellwood home, was reported to have also seen Mullinax and the girl together on Forsyth Street.

Investigation, however, developed the information that the girl Kennedy had seen with Mullinax was not Mary Phagan. Kennedy saw the couple early in the night on his car coming to town.

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Atlanta Georgian, April 28th 1913, “Mullinax Blundered in Statement Say Police,” Leo Frank case newspaper article series (Original PDF)