Negro Sweeper Remanded to Solitude in Jail Over Night

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

Atlanta Journal
August 5th, 1913

Jim Conley Grilled for Many Hours By Frank’s Attorney Who Fails to “Rattle” Him

Luther Rosser Makes Negro Admit Lies and Terms in Prison, but Sweeper Remains Good Witness for State—Women Excluded From Court Room During Afternoon Session, Numerous Tilts Between Opposing Counsel Marked With Bitterness.

The afternoon session of the Frank trial was marked by many tilts between the solicitor and his assistant with counsel for the defense and toward the end of the session much bitterness was injected into the remarks by various members of opposing counsel. Judge Roan decided with Frank’s counsel after vigorous protests by Solicitor Dorsey on the manner in which Attorney Rosser was questioning the witness, Jim Conley [illegible].

The jury was excused shortly before court adjourned for the day at 5:30 pm and Attorney Arnold, for the defense, asked the court to have Conley [illegible] in solitide where the prosecution could not talk with him. [Illegible] said that the examination of the negro is only half completed and that it would be unfair for the state’s agents to converse with him. To his request the solicitor acquiesced and stated to the court that he hoped the prisoner would be safeguarded from any others reaching him. Judge Roan remanded the prisoner to the custody of Sheriff Mangum and ordered a special guard put over the witness during the night, allowing none to talk with him.

The only important development during the afternoon was the admission by Conley under cross-examination, that he had served seven terms in jail.

During the cross-examination of the negro Jim Conley at the afternoon session, Attorney Rosser, for the defense, asked:

“Oh, the second Saturday, Jim, how much did you draw?”
“I disremember.”
“Did you draw it yourself or did somebody draw it for you?”
“I disremember.”

“The third time you watched for him, how much money did you draw?”
“I couldn’t tell about that.”

“Well, Thanksgiving week, did you draw money before or after Thanksgiving?”

“I’ve got no memory there.”

“What did you do the day after Thanksgiving?”
“I came back to work.”

“How much time did you make?”
“I don’t remember.”
“The day before Thanksgiving, how many hours did you work?”
“I don’t remember.”

“Whom did you see that day?”
“I don’t remember. I saw Mr. Frank though.

The negro did not remember whether or not he saw the two foreladies who worked on the office floor. Mr. Rosser started with Thanksgiving day, and told the negro to go backwards and tell him how much he got for working on Saturdays. The negro said he got $1.25 for watching on Thanksgiving day, .75 cents on the previous Saturday that he watched and .50 cents on the two preceding occasions. The negro said that he did not remember anything about his regular work on those days.

“Where were you living in December, 1912?”

“At 37-B Vine street.”

“When was it you got in prison?”

“How long did you stay?”
“Three or four days.”
The negro said that he couldn’t tell what day he got in or what day he got out of prison. Answering questions, the negro said, his “woman” moved while he was in prison to 172 Rhodes street. He admitted that he was not married to the woman, whose name he gave as Loreno. He said he had been living with her for two and a half years.

“Whom did you live with before?”
“At my mother’s home.”

“Haven’t you had any other woman?”
“Not regular, just sweethearts.”

The negro said that Lorena had two boys and a girl, the oldest being ten years old.


“When were you in jail next time?”

“I don’t remember.”

“Before Christmas or after?”


“What month?”
“I don’t remember.”

“Well, now, Jim, how long were you in this last time?”
“About twenty or twenty-one days.”

“And you don’t know whether it was December, November or October, do you?”

“No, sir.”

“Was it cold or hot weather?”

“I can’t say exactly.”

“You know the first time you were it was September. Can’t you fix it by that?”

“Well, it wasn’t in November or December.”


“Then it must have been October. You’ve been in jail three times since you worked at the pencil factory, have you?”


“How many times in the last five years?”

“Seven or eight times, I think.”
“You can’t remember the first time you were in jail, can you?”

“No, sir.”

Attorney Rosser questioned him in detail about the first, second, third and fourth time he was in jail, and Conley replied that he could not fix the time he had been sent to jail nor the length or his terms.

The fifth time he was in jail, he said was sometime in 1911, but questioning by Attorney Rosser failed to fix the month. The sixth time, he said, was last September. Once after September, he said, and he couldn’t remember the month.


“As a matter of fact, you don’t know how many times you were in jail, do you, Jim?”

“Well, I think it was seven times.”

“Then you don’t mean five or six times?”

“No, sir, I mean seven.”

“Let’s go back a little. The day you said you found the child dead was April 26. You knew there was no work at the factory?”
“Yes, sir, there was signs posted up all around.”

“Could you read them?”
“No, sir.”

“How did you know what they said?”
“Well, Mr. Campbell and Snowball read them to me.”

“What day was it they read ‘em to you?”

“I don’t remember.”

“You couldn’t read them, could you?”
“I didn’t try.”

“Well, who read the sign to you first?”

“Mr. Campbell.”

“Well, then, how did Snowball come to read it to you?”

“I didn’t ask him to. I was just riding up on the elevator and he read it to me.”

“How did you come to be on the elevator?”
“I had to go down in the basement [several words illegible].


“You and Snowball were close friends, weren’t you?”

“Well, just like any two that works at the factory.”

“You drank with him, didn’t you?”

“Yes, sir.”

“You got drunk with him, in fact, didn’t you?”
“No, sir, we didn’t get drunk.”

“Didn’t you get drunk with him once on the fourth floor?”
“No, sir.”

“How much beer would you drink a day?”
“Abuot 10 cents worth a day.”

“Where would you drink it?”
“In the basement.”

“Now this first Saturday you watched for Frank, was Snowball therer [sic]?”

“No, he wasn’t there.”

“Well, now this Thanksgiving that Frank talked boldly before Enowball [sic]—“


Conley interrupted. “It wasn’t Thanksgiving. It was the day before.”

“Well, he talked to you, didn’t he, before Snowball?”
“Yes, sir.”

“How long had Snowball worked there?”
“I don’t know.”

“He’s quit now, hasn’t he?”
“I don’t know whether he has or not.”

“You only saw him read once, didn’t you?”
“No, I saw him read a funny paper, once, too. To read it to me.”

“No, sir. I only saw Mr. Frank, Mr. Holloway and Mr. Darley on the elevator.”


“You were the elevator man a while and the sweeper a while?”
“Yes, sir, and for a while I lifted boxes around.”

“The only job Snowball ever had was on the elevator and sweeping?”
“I guess so.”

“When you were in prison, who took your jobs?”
“I don’t know.”

“Frank knew you were in prison didn’t he?”

“He did one time, when I was working on the street in front of the factory.”

“Was this the last time you were in jail?”
“I don’t remember.”

“The last time you were in jail you served your full time, either 21 or 30 days, didn’t you?”
“Yes, sir.”

“What were you fined the last time?”
“I didn’t have a fine.”

“Were you find the time before?”
“Yes, sir.”

“And all the other times?”
“Yes, sir.”

“How many other negroes worked in the factory besides you and Snowball?”
The negro made a mental calculation, and replied, “Six.”

“How long has Joe Pride been there?”
“I don’t know.”

“How long has Walter Pride been there?”
“I don’t know.”

“What sort of work does Joe Pride do?”
“He had a job washing some kind of iron things.”

“What sort of work did Walter Pride do?”

“He run some kind of a machine?”
The negro in detail named the other negroes and the nature of their work.

“You and Snowball and the negro fireman were the only negroes who did plain manual labor?”
“Yes, sir, I guess so.”

“Were these negroes all employed there when you went to work at the factory?”
“All but Snowball and the fireman.”

“And you and Snowball and the fireman were new darkies in the factory?”

“Yes, sir.”

“The others had worked longer for Mr. Frank?”
“Yes, sir.”


“When was the first day you ever saw Mr. Frank?”
“I don’t remember.”

“Had you been there a month before Frank spoke to you?”
“I don’t know about that.”

“When was the first time he ever talked to you about things except business?”
“I don’t know, sir.”

“Was it the first Saturday he told you to watch for him?”
“I think so.” But he was always laughing and talking and jollying with me.”

“Tell me one single thing that he ever said to you before that first Saturday, except about business. Tell me the day and time he said it.”

“I don’t know.”

“Did Mr. Darley ever see Frank jollying with you? If so, tell me the day and the time.”

“Yes, sir. I don’t remember the time.”

At this point Attorney Hooper entered an objection to Mr. Mr. [sic] Rosser’s line of questioning, declaring before the witness could answer the question, Mr. Rosser would ask him a second one.

Judge Roan admonished Mr. Rosser to give the witness time to answer. Mr. Rosser replied that he hadn’t asked him but one question at a time; that he wanted to give the negro plenty of time to answer.

Turning to the witness, Mr. Rosser inquired, “Jim, you say Mr. Frank jollied with you. Give me the date he jollied with you prior to the time you watched for him.”


“I don’t remember.”

“You say he and Darley joked you. How long was this before you watched for Mr. Frank?”

“I don’t know, sir. It was soon after Mr. Darley came.”

“What did they say? Tell me one thing they said.”

“I can’t remember.”

Attorney Hooper objected again, saying Mr. Rosser was continuing to ask a second question before the witness could answer one. To this Mr. Rosser replied, “Jim and I are great friends. We’re going along nicely together.”

“Why did he read it? Because you couldn’t read it?”

“I didn’t ask him.”

“What sort of paper was it?”
“I don’t know. Just a funny paper.”

“Where’d he get it?”
“He picked it up.”

“On that time when you watched for Frank in January, was Snowball there?”
“I don’t know.”

“The only time you ever heard Frank say anything before Snowball was on Thanksgiving, was it not?”
“No, sir, one time in January.”

“Frank just came out and talked to you before Snowball?”
“Snowball was up in the rack.”

“Did Frank see him?”
“I don’t know, sir. I don’t suppose he cared. He had talked before him.”

“What did Snowball do around there?”
“He helped sweep up. After Christmas, he went on the elevator.”

“Who rode on the elevator? Did the employes ride on the elevator?”


Attorney Rosser fired innumerable questions at the negro, about various subjects. Once Solicitor Dorsey objected, saying that the questions were wholly immaterial to any issue, and that he thought the court should put a stop to them. Judge Roan said that the questions which Attorney Rosser was asking were admissible on cross-examination, and allowed Mr. Rosser to continue.

Attorney Hooper interrupted Mr. Rosser several times, declaring to the court that the attorney on the other side continually fired second questions at the negro before he had been give the time to answer the previous question. Mr. Rosser said he only put in second questions after the negro said “I don’t remember” to the others. On one occasion Mr. Hooper said: “You’ve asked the last five questions while the negro was talking and trying to answer the ones before them.” Attorney Rosser contended that he was giving the negro plenty of time, and continued his examination.

Conley amused the court by explaining that Frank had joked with him by pinching him, and he said that Mr. Darley and Mr. Schiff both had seen him pinch him. Conley, after having first said that he remembered no specific jokes that Frank had had with him, after some time said that on one occasion, when he had the elevator in the basement, Frank had yelled to him that he’d better hurry the elevator up or he’d make a graveyard down there.

Conley said that Mr. Darley had joked with him by pinching him and kicking him playfully. Attorney Rosser asked the negro many questions about who was working on the fourth floor on specific dates. Usually the negro said he didn’t remember, but in one answer he named three young women who are known to work in the factory.

Attorney Rosser asked specifically about Miss Daisy Hopkins. The negro declared that he had seen her working there from June until about Christmas time. He said that he did not know where she lived. Asked to describe her, he said she was low and chunky and heavy and very pretty. He said he didn’t remember the color of her hair, and paid no attention to her eyes.

“What was her complexion?” asked Mr. Rosser.

“I don’t know what you mean,” said the negro.

“Well, I”m light complected, and you’re dark,” said Mr. Rosser.

“She was light complected then,” said the negro. He said he didn’t know the meaning of the words blonde and brunette, but said that the girl had a very light skin. He had paid no attention to her nose, he said.

“What do her ears look like?” demanded Mr. Rosser.

“Like the ears on folks,” said the negro.

Conley said she was about twenty-three years old. He said that before Christmas Mr. Dalton told him as he was coming out of the basement one Saturday that Miss Daisy was going away. Conley described Dalson as “a little tall and sort of slim,” and said that he had heavy eyebrows. He said that he was about Mr. Rosser’s complexion, and about the height of Attorney Arnold, and that he was about thirty-five years old.

“Did you ever see Dalton in January?”


“Yes, sir, he came out alone into the alley. He and the lady had been down in the basement.”

“How long has it been since you’ve seen Dalton?”
“About a month.”

“Where did you see him?”
“At yolice [sic] station. The detectives brought him to the station, and asked me if I knew him, and I said ‘Yes, that’s the man.’”

“How was Dalton dressed the first time you saw him, Jim?”
“I don’t know.”

“The next time you saw him?”
“I don’t know.”

“Well, the next time then?”
“I don’t know what he had on then.”

Mr. Rosser asked if Dalton had a mustache. Conley didn’t know. Mr. Rosser asked if he had whiskers. Conley said “no.”

“Now on this first Saturday that you watched, did you see Mr. Darley or Mr. Holloway?”
“I saw Mr. Holloway leave about 2 or 2:30.”

“Did you see Mr. Darley?”
“I saw him in the morning.”

Attorney Rosser asked Conley whom he had seen on each of the several days when he said he watched. In most instances, Conley said that he did not remember whether he had seen anybody or not, or who he had seen. Hen [sic] mentioned one day, however, when Mr. Holloway was sick. Attorney Rosser questioned him then about Thanksgiving day.

“Was Mr. Holloway sick that day?”
“No, sir; he was there.”

“What time did he leave?”
“About 2 o’clock, I reckon.”


“Now, don’t reckon, Jim. If you’ve got any memory about it, answer it directly.”

“About 2 o’clock.”

“The next time you watched was after Thanksgiving, Jim?”

“Yes, sir. It was in September.”

“I thought you said it was after Thanksgiving?”
“Well, September’s after Thanksgiving.”

“The next time you watched, Jim, was right after Christmas, in January, wasn’t it? Whom did you see that Saturday?”
“I don’t remember.”

“Jim, ain’t it true that every Saturday men come there?”
“yes, men that work there, and sometimes some girls that work there.”

Attorney Rosser questioned him about the people who usually worked in the factory on Saturdays, and Conley didn’t remember whether they had or didn’t know whether they had in some instances. He remembered one instance, and named again the three girls known to work in the factory.

“Now; take the fourth floor, Jim. You can come right down the stairway to the second floor, can’t you?”
“Yes, sir.”

“Anybody could come down those stairs and go all over the second floor, couldn’t they?”

“No, sir. There’s some iron doors going into the metal room.”

“Well, they’re not shut, are they, always?”
“I don’t know.”

“You’ve never looked at the lock on the door, then, have you?”
“No, sir.”

“You’ve worked all over the factory, haven’t you?”
“Well, I never worked in the metal department.”

Conley proceeded, saying that he had swept out other portions of the second floor during the time he had worked there, but never had swept the metal department.


“Then you have never been in there, have you?”

“Oh, yes, sir; I’ve been in there.”

“On the left side of the second floor there’s a long dark room, isn’t there?”
“Yes, sir.”

“You’ve been back where the men’s closets and the women’s closets are, haven’t you?”
“No, sir; I’ve been to Mr. Quinn’s room, though.”

“Well, how far away from the toilet is that?”

“Not far.”

“Where is the plating room?”
“I don’t know.”

“Isn’t it off to the left of the metal room?”
“I don’t know.”

“Well, where is the storage room?”
“I don’t know. I never was in there.”

“And you never were on the left side of the building back from the metal room?”
“No, sir.”

“You never was on the left side?”
“No, sir.”

“Quinn’s office is over there, isn’t it?”
“Yes, sir, but I never was in it. I’ve just been to Quinn’s office.”

“Have you been over there where they washed the lead?”
“No, sir.”

“Well outside the time you went to Quinn’s office and the time you sprinkled the disinfectants, have you ever been on the left hand side of the factory?”
“I’ve never been in the ladies’ toilet.”

“That’s not what I’m asking. You say say’ve [sic] never been in the long dark room on the left hand side?”

“I didn’t say anything about the long dark room.”

“Didn’t you say you never had been in the left side except to disinfect the toilets and poke bills into Quinn’s office?”

“I’ve been where they washed the lead.”

“I thought you said you never saw the place where they washed the lead?”
“No, sir, I didn’t’ say that.” The negro described the vats wher[e] the lead is washed, stating that some had cold water in them and others contained hot water.

“All right, then; so you went over to disinfect and you poked bills into Quinn’s office, and you went and sprinkled where they washed the lead?”
“I didn’t say I sprinkled where they washed the lead. I went there to wash overalls.”

“Outside of these three times, have ever been over on the left hand side of the factory in your life?”

“Yes, sir, I went back where the dark place was.”

“Why you told me a moment ago you hadn’t been back there?”

“You asked me if I went back to get that stuff out.”

“Did you ever go back there for any purpose?”

“I don’t know.”

“When was the last time you went back there?”
“When I went to get a piece of cloth for Mr. Frank.”

“Didn’t you clean up back there?”
“No, sir, I stacked some boxes back there and took out some boxes that the rats had torn up.”

“Well, how many times have you been back there?”
“I don’t know.”

Witness said that he thought that the last time he went back there was before Christmas, but he didn’t remember when. Conley interrupted the cross-examination by asking for a glass of water, which a deputy sheriff furnished to him.


Attorneys Rosser and Arnold left the court at this juncture and went into conference in an anteroom. They returned in about five minutes. By his method of examination, Attorney Rosser made it clear that he had settled down to a long endurance contest. Conley seemed, too, to know that he was a speaking marathon, and was slower and more guarded with his answers.

Mr. Rosser continued questioning the negro on every subject. He tried to get a description from the negro of Frank’s private office and the outer office, but elicited little from Conley. The negro, said, however, that there were two desks in the private office, one of which was used by Frank and the other usually by Herbert Schiff. The negro didn’t know whether the big safe, when its door was open, shut out the view from Frank’s private office.

The negro said that when any one came up the steps and went by the clock they could be seen from Frank’s private office, and any one standing at the head of the stairs could see inside. Attorney Rosser exhibited a blueprint of the factory, and had Conley point out on it the point where he swears he was standing when he claims Frank first asked him to act as a lookout.


For the first time since the trial commenced, Frank and Mrs. Frank did not appear to be taking a very keen interest in the proceedings, but laughed and talked together quite a bit.

The negro admitted, under questions, that a Miss Willis, who was a forelady on the fourth floor, could have seen Frank talking with him from her desk. The attorney questioned him minutely about the arrangement of the fourth floor.

Conley gave evidence of getting nervous, and continually licked his lips.

On the afternoon when Frank first talked to him about watching, he remembered going by the clocks, because one of them was ten minutes fast, and he called Mr. Holloway’s attention to them. The negro had at first said that he punched the clock that afternoon, but later said he was not sure about the punching, though he remembered perfectly talking to Holloway about the time.

“How much did you drink on Friday?”
“I don’t remember. I had a few beers in the evening.”

“Do you know Harry Scott? He goes around with Black.”

“Yes, sir, I know him.”


“Now at the station house, just after you were arrested, you told them you got up at 9 o’clock Saturday, didn’t you? That wasn’t true, was it?”
“No, sir.”

“What time did you eat breakfast, Saturday morning?”

“I ate about 7:30.”

“Well, you didn’t tell Scott that did you, first time?”

“No, sir.”

“You told him you left home that morning about 10 o’clock. That wasn’t true, was it?”
“No, sir.”

“You told them you went to Peters that the defense has been expecting us to enter an objection here,” said he.

“I didn’t think you’ve have the gall to do it,” said Mr. Rosser.

Attorney Hooper stated his objection, arguing that if the defense wanted to impeach Conley’s testimony they were required to let him read or read to him these affidavits.

Attorney Arnold answered the argument. “Your honor, you can see that a witness like this, who has been canned, coaxed and kept by a chosen few, has to be questioned with some elasticity if he is to be impeached.” In the course of his argument he said: “I don’t doubt that he made four or five laying narratives about this murder with just as straight a face as he is now telling it to the jury.”

Solicitor Dorsey said that Attorney Arnold had made a statement which there was no evidence to support, and that the statement ought not to be allowed in the record. He then cited an authority to prove that any writing by which it is intended to impeach the witness must be shown to the witness before he is questioned on it, or must be read to him. He said that the remarks made by Mr. Arnold were prejudicial and improper, and he wanted the court to instruct the jury to that effect.

Attorney Arnold arose. He remarked that Solicitor Dorsey, in his usual street. Is that true?”

“Yes, sir.”

“How long did you stay on Peters street?”
“I don’t know. It wasn’t very long though.”

“You bought a pint of whisky there, didn’t you?”
“No, sir; I bought a half pint.”

“The truth about this matter is, Jim, that you’ve told so many stories about this thing that you can’t tell what you did tell, can you?”


“No, sir; I can’t tell whether it’s true or not.”

“Isn’t it the truth, Jim, that you made one verbal statement at the police station and after that made three affidavits, and none of them was true?”

“No, sir; some is true,” said the negro.

“Is the last one true?”
“Most of it.”

“What part of it?”
Attorney Hooper objected. “I guess “fussy, snarling way,” had interposed an objection. In his argument he said that the defense intended to show that each of the four “lying versions” of the murder given by Conley was preceded by pumping by the detectives. “We expect to show he was pumped for more than two weeks before he ever made any statement, and we purpose showing that he lied and said he didn’t know anything about the crime, until confronted by his handwriting.”

Judge Roan asked what the question was.

Attorney Rosser proceeded.


“At the time of the conversation on May 18, 1913, between you and Detectives Black and Scott, how long had you been in jail?”
“Eighteen days I reckon. I was arrested the first of May.”

“On that day, how long did they talk to you before you admitted knowing anything?”

“Not long. I sent for Mr. Black that day.”

“On that day you were just talking to Scott and Black?”
“Yes, sir.”

“You didn’t make an affidavit?”
“I think so.”

“It was just a statement you made?”
“It was some kind of something.”

“The first time you talked of your movements on that Saturday, you didn’t send for Black, did you?”

“The first time I sent for Mr. Black was when I began telling.”

“Didn’t you talk before that about when you got up, went to Peters street, got some liquor?”
“Yes, sir.”

“You didn’t send for anybody then?”
“It seems to me like I sent for Mr. Black.”

“You may be mistaken?”
“Yes, sir.”

“Where were you when you made this statement to Black and Scott?”
“Upstairs in the detective rooms.”

“Who else was there?”

“How long did they talk to you before you made that statement? Three or four hours?”
“No, sir, not that long.”


“Hadn’t you told them before that time that you could write?”
“I had done some writing in the chief’s office that Sunday.”
“What Sunday?”
“I don’t know.”

“Before you made any statement?”
“Yes, sir, about two days.”

“Didn’t you tell Black and Scott that you bought half a pint of whisky on Peters street at 10 o’clock?”
“No, sir, I told Mr. Black about 10:30.”

“Well, that was not so, was it?”
“No, sir.”

“Didn’t you tell him you left Rhodes street at 10:30?”
“I don’t remember—that was three months ago. I can’t keep everything in my mind.”

“And can’t you remember three months ago?”
“Not everything.”

“How much did you tell them you paid for the liquor?”
“Forty cents. That’s what I always pay for a half pint.”

“Where did you tell them you went?”
Before Mr. Rosser could conclude his question. Mr. Hooper arose and said:


“Your honor, we have no objection to all the evidence, statements, affidavits, and everything going before the jury. This line of questioning here can only be for the purpose of impeachment. This being true, he should not ask a question about ‘Did you not tell son [sic] and so at such and such a time?’ That’s not a proper question. The law prescribes a way for the cross-examination of a witness on a point like this, and the witness has a right to be examined as the law directs. He may ask the witness ‘Did you not on such an occasion make such a statement?’ But I submit that he cannot ask the witness what the witness said to somebody else on such and such an occasion. The law is as plain as the nose on your face.”

Attorney Rosser inquired of the court: “Is it to be said that I can’t ask this witness what he told a man at a given time?”
Attorney Hooper then read the code to show how a witness could be impeached. “The foundation must first be laid,” read Mr. Hooper, “then the question must be put as to whether or not the witness made such a statement at such a time and place.”

Judge Roan ruled that the witness was the state’s witness, and that the defense had the right on cross-examination to test his memory.

“That’s all true, your honor,” said Mr. Hooper, “but the law prescribes how a witness’ memory may be tested, and I would like my friend Rosser to inform me from what paper he is reading.”


“I’m not going to enlighten him or the witness, either!” snapped Mr. Rosser.

Judge Roan ruled that the defense had a right to ask those questions, not for the purpose of impeachment, but to test the witness’ memory.

“Does your honor hold that this examination is not for the purpose of impeachment?” asked Mr. Hooper.

“I don’t know what it will result in,” replied the court, “but I am going to permit the defense to test the memory of the witness.”

have made to Scott and Black on May 18. Mr. Rosser termed this “his first statement.”

“Didn’t you say that after you bought some liquor at 11 o’clock you went to some other saloon?”
“I don’t remember saying anything about 11 o’clock, but I told them I went to Early’s saloon.”

“Well, didn’t you tell them you went to the Butt-In saloon after that?”
“I can’t remember what I told, but I went to the Butt-In saloon before I bought the liquor.”

“Then you told some things that were not true, did you?”
“Yes, sir.”


“Well, how do you let anybody know, Jim, when you’re lying and when you’re telling the truth?”

“Well, sometimes I hang my head. I know I didn’t tell all the truth then,” said the negro, turning toward the jury. “I just didn’t want to give the man away. I thought he’d look out for me.”

“What did you tell them you did in the Butt-In saloon?”
“I don’t know what I told ‘em I did there, but I won 90 cents shooting dice. And then I wen to another saloon and bought some beer.”

“Now, Jim, didn’t you tell them you bought the beer there?”
“I don’t remember.”

“Did you look ‘em in the eyes?”
“I don’t remember.”

“D[i]d you tell ‘em about buying wine?”
“I don’t remember.”

“From Peters street, did you go straight hom[e]?”

“I disremember.”

“What time was it that you sent the little girl for the pan sauce?”

“Then you started after some beer at 3 o’clock, didn’t you? And it was after that that you sent the girl for sauce?”
“It was after I had come back,” answered the witness.

“How much money did you tell them that you had?”
“I don’t remember, but I think about $3.50.”

“Didn’t you deny to them that you were at the factory at all that day, and try to show them where you were?”
“Yes, sir.”

“D[i]d you hang your head?”


“I disremember—but I didn’t look ‘em straight in the eye like I’m looking you.”

“Yes, Jom [sic]. I know you’re looking me in the eye. What detective told you to?”
“Nory detective. I’m telling the truth.”

“Jim, what are some of your other lying habits?”
“Well, when I was talking to them, sometimes I played with my [fi]ngers.”

“Wouldn’t one detective cuss you out and call you a rascal, and say he thought you were guilty and the other say ‘I don’t believe he did it?’”

“No, sir, they never cussed me out.”

“Well, wasn’t Black your friend, and didn’t Scott pretend to think you was guilty?”
“No, sir.”

“Well, what did they have you in the detectives office for all those times, three and four hours at a stretch, if they weren’t pumping you?”

“They tried to get me to tell it all at once.”

“Didn’t they have another negro in the cell with you down at police station?”
“There was one in there once, for two days.”

“Didn’t you tell him the detectives were mad at you?”
“No, sir, he never asked me anything. He didn’t even know what I was in there for.”

“Well, you knew why he was in there, didn’t you?”
In an aside to Mr. Hooper and Solicitor Dorsey Mr. Rosser said: “Of course, I can go for him with both feet. You’ve had your enlightening day. Now I’m going to have mine.

“No, sir, he cried most of the time.”


“Tell why it was you sent for Black on May 24?”
“Well, I wanted to tell something. I hadn’t heard from Mr. F—“

Mr. Rosser shot another question at him. Solicitor Dorsey objected to the interruption. “I submit your honor, the witness has a right to explain his answers. He said he had heard nothing from Frank, and he was waiting for some word in accordance with Frank’s promise.”

The attorneys argued. The argument simmered down to nothing without a ruling from the judge.

Conley went on and told that after he had sent word to Black that he wanted to tell something, Black said, ‘Wait a minute. I’ll be back down in a minute.” He said that Black went upstairs and returned in about fifteen minutes with Scott, and that the two detectives then took him upstairs. On the way up, said Conley, he told the detectives that he was ready to tell some of it, but that he would hold back the rest.

“Did they read you what you said?”

Solicitor Dorsey objected. Mr. Rosser withdrew the question, adding, “I’ll bring it in later. I don’t blame my friend for snickering. A man who got all this ought to snicker.”

“You told Black you were going to tell part of the truth and hold back part of the truth?”
“Yes, sir.”

“Was Scott there when you told this to Black?”
“I didn’t see him. I told Mr. Black wwhen [sic] he was taking me out of the cell to take me upstairs.”

“When they were writing down your statement, did you tell them that you were going to tell part of the truth and hold back part of it?”
“They didn’t ask me, and I didn’t tell them anything about it.”

“Did you tell them you were going to lie about it?”
“No, sir.”

“This second time, didn’t you tell the detectives that about four minutes to 1 Mr. Frank came up the aisle and asked you to come to the office?”
“Yes, sir, I told them that.”

“Then what?”


“I told them I went into the office and Mr. Frank asked me if I could write some. I said I could write a little. Then I said he handed me a tab and told me write. He said he had some people in Brooklyn, and he would sent it up to them and tell them I was a good negro.”

“What kind of a tab did you tell the detectives that was?”

“I told them it was white single-ruled paper.”

“What else?”
“I don’t remember.”

“Jom [sic], you’ve got a poor memory haven’t you?”
“Yes, sir.”

“You don’t remember well?”
“No, sir.”

“Did you tell them anything else?”

“Yes, but I don’t remember what it was.”

“Is that all you remember?”
“Yes, but if you’ll call out something, I’ll tell you whether I said it or not.”

“Didn’t you tell them what you put in the notes?”
“Yes, sir, I told them. I wrote, ‘Mother, that that long tall black negro did this.”

“You said this morning you didn’t remember what was in the notes.”

“I didn’t remember it then.”

“Yet, you wrote them?”
“Yes, sir.”

“And you know you wrote them?”
“Yes, sir.”

“What was it you told them about those notes?”
“I told them I wrote, ‘Mother, that long tall black negro did this by his self.”

“And you said this morning you didn’t remember what was in the notes.”

“Yes, but I remember now what I put there.”

“How did your memory happen to get so good all of a sudden?”
“Because you’ve been calling it out to me.”

“I didn’t call it out to you at all. Why didn’t you tell the solicitor this morning what you wrote in those notes?”
“I didn’t remember.”

“Well, is that all you wrote in the notes?”
“I put some more, but I don’t remember what it was. I know I put that on there.”

Mr. Rosser continued questioning Conley about statements to the detectives, and the negro’s memory continues poor.

“In that second statement you told nothing about totting the little girl, did you?”
“Yes, sir,” said the negro, “I think I told something about it.”

“Then, Jim, everything you’ve said is just as true as that statement that told in that second statement about totting the little girl?”

Solicitor Dorsey interrupted. He declared that the statements themselves were the best evidence, that they were in court because counsel for the defense had asked for them in open court, and that they should now be produced.

“But Mr. Dorsey that’s the same argument that I ruled on a while ago,” said Judge Roan.


“Your Honor, he is interrogating this witness about those very same statements that he has made us produce in court. The dates are the same, your honor. Why your honor, should all rules of law be set aside with reference to this man? How can you shut your eyes to the fact that these papers are here, and that he is asking about these papers?”
“I ruled before,” said Judge Roan, “that they can use these affidavits in an effort to contradict the witness, and then they must follow the course that you outlined. But they deny that they are using these statements.”

“Well, doesn’t this court know what’s going on?” asked Solicitor Dorsey.

“They have the right to ask what he told these men and what was embodied afterward in the form of an afidacit [sic],” said Judge Roan.

“I contend they have not,” said the solicitor.


“I rule that they have,” said Judge Roan.

Mr. Dorsey started to read an authority, but looked at the judge angrily, and sat down.

The solicitor remarked to Attorney Hooper as he sat down that the judge was talking with a visitor and not heeding him.

Judge Roan explained his ruling. “Before an effort is made to impeach a witness,” he said, “the usual law relative to affidavits or any statements in writing must be followed. But I hold that the witness can be questioned about statements which he made to the detectives, which may or may not later have been put into the form of affidavits.”

Mr. Rosser continued.

“Jim, don’t you know you didn’t say a word about that little dead girl at that time?”
“I didn’t say I did say anything about her. I said I thought I did.”

“Did you tell anything about going down into the basement with the little girl that time?”
“I don’t remember.”

“What did you mean by saying you were going to keep back part of it?”
“I said I was going to keep back the best of it.”

Judge Roan turned to the sheriff a moment later, and said, “Mr. Sheriff, I wish you’d take the jury out.” The jury went out.

Attorney Arnold addressed the court.


“Your honor, we want to move that the court take pos[s]ession of this man and order the sheriff to take him and let no one talk to him. Your honor sees the situation. The examination is only half over. We object to him being turned over to the prosecution. We ask your honor to do the fair and square thing. Don’t let even the sheriff talk with him until he gets back on the stand. He is now in the custody of the court.”

Attorney Hooper, after a consultation with Solicitor Dorsey, made this statement:

“So far as the state is concerned, we have no objection to the request of Mr. Arnold. We want to stress one point, however, and that is that this witness is not to be talked to by anyone.”

Judge Roan addressed the sheriff.

“Mr. Sheriff, this man’s examination is not over. It is not fair for him to be talked to by anyone—not even yourself.”

Attorney W. M. Smith, counsel for Conley, who had moved to one of the vacant seats in the jury box, the jury being out, arose and addressed the court.

“Your honor, I represent this man. My efforts have been directed toward protecting the interests of this negro. I have gone from his cell to the courtroom with him, and from the courtroom back to his cell with him. I have faith and confidence in Brother Mangum, but I know the conditions at the jail, and unless one man is appointed to guard him I fear it will be impossible to keep him from being talked to. This man, as your honor knows, has gone through a most severe ordeal.”

Attorney Arnold objected to the last remark of Attorney Smith, declaring that Mr. Smith had nothing to do with this trial.

Sheriff Mangum spoke up.

“I will see that he has as good fare as is served to any white man in the jail.”

Attorney Smith: “Isn’t it true that Mr. Frank has additional food served to him?”
“You send him something extra, if you want him to have it!” shouted Mr. Rosser.

“That’s what I want to do,” replied Mr. Smith.

Judge Roan then ordered the sheriff to take the witness, guard him carefully, and see that he is back in court at 9 o’clock Tuesday morning.

Sheriff Mangum walked out with Frank, and Deputy Sheriff Penny [sic] Minor with Conley.

Frank was taken to jail in the sheriff’s automobile, and Conley followed in Chief Beavers’ automobile.

“I ain’t going to worry,” the negro was heard to say as he was being led out of the building, evidently in response to some assurance spoken to him.

Court adjourned at 4:30 o’clock.

* * *

Atlanta Journal, August 5th 1913, “Negro Sweeper Remanded to Solitude in Jail Over Night,” Leo Frank case newspaper article series (Original PDF)