New Theory is Offered in Phagan Mystery

by Archivist on May 13, 2016

Solicitor Dorsey in his office; a snapshot of the Phagan case prosecutor taken by a Georgian photographer.

Solicitor Dorsey in his office; a snapshot of the Phagan case prosecutor taken by a Georgian photographer.

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

Atlanta Georgian

Tuesday, May 13th, 1913

Detectives Not Centering All Their Efforts on Frank and Lee Now.

Detectives in Phagan mystery are not centering all their efforts upon Frank and Lee. New theories have been advanced, new clews examined and every possible theory is being investigated.

It was because of these rumors on the streets to-day that a report was spread that an entirely new lead was being followed by Solicitor Dorsey that might eliminate both Frank and Lee.

Solicitor Dorsey paid very little attention to the reports.

“There are no developments so far,” he said, “which would tend to swerve the prosecution from its present course. The cases of the two men held will be placed before the Grand Jury as soon as the evidence against them can be properly shaped, unless other developments justify a change.”

New Theory Investigated.

The new theory alluded to has been submitted by a private detective employed by the Solicitor’s office. The man, whose identity has not been revealed, has been working along lines entirely at variance to those pursued by the prosecutor. Mr. Dorsey stated that while as yet no evidence has been produced to substantiate the proposed solution, that his investigators have taken the matter up and will go to the bottom of it. Every available means will be used to prove or disprove the detective’s theory.

An important affidavit was added Tuesday to the great mass of evidence already collected by Solicitor Dorsey.

Another affidavit considered of importance was that made by Miss Maggit Wyatt, 44 Pickett Street, who formerly was employed at the pencil factory.

Miss Willie M. Ross, 259 Crew Street; who is said to have heard screams in the pencil factory at 4:30 on the afternoon of the tragedy, appeared at Mr. Dorsey’s office in the morning and made an exhaustive statement which she signed.

Dorsey Will Welcome Burns.

When asked later what she knew of the case, Miss Ross declared she had absolutely no knowledge of it.

Solicitor Dorsey, when asked about the report that Detective Burns was coming to Atlanta to take charge of the investigation, declared that he would welcome Mr. Burns.

Colonel Felder, whose correspondence with the great detective gave rise to the report that he would enter the investigation, stated Tuesday morning that he would know positively by Wednesday whether Burns would comply with his request. Mr. Burns is due to arrive in New York from Europe some time Tuesday.

The Grand Jury probably will hold an extra session this week to “clean up” the routine docket in order that there will be nothing to interfere with the Phagan case when it is presented by Solicitor General Hugh M. Dorsey.

Consider Extra Session.

The Solicitor and his assistant, F. A. Stephens, discussed Monday the advisability of an extra session for one day before Friday, the regular meeting day, and may issue a call to the jurors to assemble Wednesday.

The Solicitor explained, however, that it probably would take the two sessions this week to dispose of the routine, and the Phagan case might not reach the jury until Friday of next week, or an extra session to be called the first part of the week.

Mrs. Rudolph Frank, mother of Leo Frank, was seen for the first time at her home in Brooklyn Monday by the newspaper reporters. She de-

Burns, Called in Phagan Case, is Nearing U.S.

New Arrest is Expected Tuesday in the Baffling Factory Crime Mystery.

Continued From Page 1.

clared her belief in her son’s entire innocence. She has been greatly affected by the shadow which is hovering over her son’s life, but had said nothing of his plight to her neighbors until Monday, as she had been hoping against hope that he would be liberated by the Coroner’s jury.

Mother Thinks He Is Innocent.

“My son is entirely innocent,” she is quoted as saying. “But it is a terrible thing that even the suspicion should fall on him. I have every confidence that he will be proved guiltless of the terrible crime.

“He is suspected merely because he was the last one who is known to have seen her on the day she was killed. I know it will be shown that he had no knowledge of who put the girl to death.”

Mrs. Frank has not seen her son since nearly three years ago, when she and her husband came to Atlanta to attend the marriage of young Frank to the daughter of Emil Selig. It is understood that she is planning to return to Atlanta to be with Frank in the event that he is indicted by the Grand Jury.

She always has been proud of her son and happy at his rapid rise in the business world. Although only 29 years old, he has been the superintendent in charge of the National Pencil Company’s plant for several years. Before coming to Atlanta about five years ago, he was with the National Meter Company, of Brooklyn. He is a Cornell graduate.

Burns Leaves New York.

The arrival of William J. Burns is expected in New York Tuesday afternoon. As announced in The Georgian Monday the great detective has been engaged to work personally upon the Phagan mystery. He is expected to come here at the solicitation of Colonel Thomas B. Felder, who is representing the friends and relatives of the slain girl.

Colonel Felder interviewed Raymond Burns, son of the famous detective, in New York, and a cable was at once dispatched to England, where Burns had been looking for J. Wilberforce Martin, the wealthy Memphian whose mysterious disappearance stirred two continents. Burns quickly found that Martin was safe and unharmed and withdrew from the case. The detective will be in Atlanta Thursday on his way to Macon, where he has been invited to speak before the Georgia State Bankers’ Association.

Chief of Detectives Lanford just smiles when Solicitor Dorsey’s “mysterious sleuth” is mentioned. Mr. Dorsey announced several days ago that he had the best detective in the world on the job.

Who Is “Mysterious Sleuth?”

“The sleuth is either Detective John Starnes or Patrick Campbell,” said Chief Lanford. “Both of these men are attached to the local staff and are working under the solicitor.”

The solicitor continued to deny that the man was a local detective.

“I intend to withhold his name until the proper time,” he said. “He is out of the city at present working on several new phases of the Phagan case. Upon his return I may be able to give out some startling information.”

* * *

Atlanta Georgian, May 13th 1913, “New Theory is Offered in Phagan Mystery,” Leo Frank case newspaper article series (Original PDF)

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