Newt Lee on Stand at Inquest Tells His Side of Phagan Case

Newt Lee on Stand at Inquest Tells His Side of Phagan Case

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

Atlanta Georgian

Wednesday, April 30th, 1913

Describes finding of body of slain girl and events at Pencil Factory before and at time of discovery of crime

Newt Lee, watchman at the National Pencil Company’s factory, who notified the police of the discovery of Mary Phagan’s body, told his complete story on the stand at the coroner’s inquest to-day.

Lee was on the stand for more than an hour and was plied with questions intended to throw light on the tragedy. He replied to questions in a straightforward way, and in detail his story is substantially the same as he has made to the reporters ever since his arrest.

His most significant answers concerned his employer, Leo M. Frank, superintendent of the factory. Lee said that when he reported at 4 o’clock for work, Frank told him to go home until 6. He declared that Frank seemed excited, but added that he attributed that excitement to the fact that Frank had just discharged John Gantt, and might have feared trouble. He said he reported back for work at 6 o’clock and that a few hours later Frank called him up by phone from his home to ask him if things were all right. The witness testified that his employer had never done this before.

Chief of Police Beavers said that Leo M. Frank, superintendent of the National Pencil Company, would go on the stand before the coroner’s jury probably late this afternoon.

The Chief said he could not force him to testify as he was in the nature of a defendant, but Attorney Rosser said there would be no objection.

E. L. Sentell, on the stand this afternoon, reiterated that he had seen Mary Phagan with Arthur Mullinax at midnight Saturday night. His testimony and that of other witnesses is printed on page 4.

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Atlanta Georgian, April 30th, 1913, “Newt Lee on Stand at Inquest Tells His Side of Phagan Case,” Leo Frank case newspaper article series (Original PDF)