Newt Lee Tells of the Talk He Had in the Popice [sic] Station

by Archivist on May 9, 2016

Newt Lee Tells of the Talk He Had in the Police Station

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

Atlanta Journal

Friday, May 9th, 1913

Newt Lee, the negro night watchman, was recalled and asked to tell about any conversation he had with Mr. Frank at the jail or the police station. Lee said he has not talked to Mr. Frank at the jail, but that he had talked with him at the police station.

Mr. Frank came into the room, where he was, Lee said, and asked, “How are you feeling, Newt?”

“Not so good, Mr. Frank?” Lee said was his answer.

Lee said that he then told Mr. Frank that it was mighty hard on him “an innocent man” to be handcuffed there in the chair, and that Mr. Frank told him he knew he (Lee) was innocent, but he believed he knew something about the murder.

Lee said that he then told Mr. Frank that the officers had said the girl was killed on the second floor; that he said in his rounds of the building he had to pass through the second floor room, which had been indicated, every half hour and that he would have known it if the murder had been committed there.

Lee said that Mr. Frank then said: “Let’s don’t talk about that. Let that go.”

Lee said that the furnace had been fired on Friday, but that it had not been fired on Saturday. He went to work shortly before 4 o’clock, Saturday afternoon and called to Mr. Frank, as usual, “All right, Mr. Frank.”

He said that Mr. Frank came out of his office, rubbing his hands, and told him he was sorry he had been forced to come to work so early; that he could have slept two hours longer.

Lee said that he told Mr. Frank that he needed some sleep and that Mr. Frank told him to go out and have a good time and come back at 6 o’clock.

Lee said that he didn’t remember Mr. Frank having come out of his office to talk to him before; that he always called him into the office in case he wanted to talk to him.

Lee said that the street door was unlocked when he came to work at 4 o’clock, but that the double doors inside were locked. These double doors were usually unlocked, he said. Lee said that he got in by using his pass key.

The witness said that he didn’t remember whether the trap door to the basement was open or closed when he came to work. The fireman always went to the basement through this door, he said.

Lee said that he didn’t notice any bloodstains on the second floor. It was dark, he said, and his only light was his lantern.

Lee said that when he returned to work at 6 o’clock Mr. Frank told him to wait until he put on a new tape before he punched the clock; that he didn’t use a key to unlock the clock.

Lee explained the pencil found in the clock by saying that he always stuck a pencil there to check himself, and to remember where he had punched last. He was positive, he said, that he had punched the clock every half hour between the hours of 6 p. m. and 3 a. m. the Saturday night of the tragedy.

Lee was asked if the bloody shirt found at his residence belonged to him. He said that he didn’t know—it was found at his house, he said, so it must be his. Lee said that a “white lady” had made four shirts for him and this might be one of them. If it was a “store bought” shirt, it did not belong to him, he said.

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Atlanta Journal, May 9th 1913, “Newt Lee Tells of the Talk He Had in the Popice [sic] Station,” Leo Frank case newspaper article series (Original PDF)

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