No Phagan Trial Before Last of June Declares Solicitor

No Phagan Trial Before Last of June

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

Atlanta Journal

Thursday, May 15th, 1913

If Indictments Are Returned by Grand Jury When Bills Are Presented There Will Be No Immediate Trial


He Calls Upon the Public to Subscribe a Fund to Pay the Expense of Bringing Great Detective to Atlanta

Should the Fulton county grand jury, when it meets next Thursday or Friday, return a true bill against either one or both of the men held by the coroner’s jury in the Mary Phagan murder investigation, the state will not attempt to bring them to trial before the latter part of June.

The rumors to the effect that the state would rush the trial at a special court session if Leo M. Frank or Newt Lee is indicted for the killing by the grand jury were set at rest Thursday by this statement from Solicitor General Hugh M. Dorsey.

The examination of witnesses by the solicitor continued on Thursday, and a number of witnesses in the case appeared at the solicitor’s office to make statements, of which a stenographic record is kept.

In working out new theories of the crime the detectives have found no tangible evidence which has yet served to turn the authorities from the theory to which they have held practically since the beginning of the Phagan murder investigation, and it now appears that when the grand jury meets to consider the case the authorities will present no names as suspects except those of the two men who were ordered held by the coroner’s jury after its exhaustive inquest.


Wednesday the solicitor general ordered before him a reporter for a morning paper, who has had in his possession several specimens of the dead girl’s handwriting. One of these specimens was a slip of paper on which Mary Phagan had written her name and address and the date, April 20, 1913. The slip was in the purse she usually carried, and presumably was made out by the girl for use in event it should become necessary to identify her body.

The identification slip is simply another point in the perplexing mystery, and no circumstances developed which have as yet made it appear that the slip of paper may help to solve the mystery.

While the handwriting seems to be playing an important part in the probe of the mystery nothing has yet developed in the handwriting investigation which throws much light on the tragedy.

Attorney Thomas B. Felder is authority for the definite statement that William J. Burns, the famous detective, will in person take up the Phagan murder investigation. While Mr. Burns will not arrive in person for several weeks, Mr. Felder states that a special investigator from the famous sleuth’s New York office will be on the ground within a few days to take up the case, and Mr. Burns will come on later.

Mr. Felder has not yet raised the funds necessary to pay for the investigation by Mr. Burns, but hopes to do so by public subscription. Regarding the employment of Mr. Burns, Mr. Felder has made the following written statement:


“The time is at hand when I deem it not only proper, but necessary, that I take the public into my confidence relative to the further proposed investigation of the Phagan murder case.

“My firm was employed by neighbors and friends of the deceased shortly after the crime was committed to aid in the preparation of the case and the prosecution thereof.

“Without intending to reflect in the slightest degree upon the vigilant detectives engaged upon the case, who seem to be doing their utmost to ferret otu [sic] the mystery, it occurred to me that the magnitude of the crime justified an effort to secure the services of William J. Burns, a man with a record of successes covering a period of thirty years or more—and without a single failure charged against him.

“A committee of prominent ladies of the city, distinguished for their philanthropic work, called upon me, assuring me that funds sufficient to cover the expenses of Burns’ investigation could be raised by public subscription. I assured these good women of my willingness to contribute our fee, and some additional amount if necessary. I immediately got into communication with Mr. Burns, and the result of my efforts will be reflected by a cablegram which reached me by way of his New York office, which is published herewith. I feel that those interested in seeing justice vindicated, by fixing this horrible crime upon the guilty parties, whom I feel certain will be brought to condign punishment through the efforts of this distinguished detective, are to be congratulated that we have been able to secure his services.

“The fund thus far raised by the friends and neighbors of the family of deceased, and through the efforts of the good women who have interested themselves in this work, falls far short of the amount required to carry it forward. The public is therefore invited to contribute to the fund. At the conclusion of the work an itemized statement of receipts and disbursements in this behalf will be published by the press of the city for the information of the subscribers to the fund.

“In conclusion, I desire to say that in what I am doing I have the approval of the solicitor general. Hon. Hugh M. Dorsey, who will supervise and direct all work in this behalf.


“For Felder, Anderson, Dillon & Whitman.”


Leaving out the exact cost of the investigation through courtesy to Mr. Burns, Mr. Felder also gave out for publication the following telegram:

“Colonel T. B. Felder, Equitable Building, Atlanta, Ga.

“Father still in Europe. Return about June first. He consents to take charge of investigation immediately upon his return. His charges …… dollars. He suggests I send good criminal investigator to start investigation immediately before same gets too cold. Investigator charges …. dollars per day. Advise.

“(Signed) RAYMOND J. BURNS.”


A poem recently published in two Atlanta newspapers as “said to have been written by Mary Phagan,” has caused considerable comment. The poem in question first appeared in the “Household Guest,” and has since been reproduced and accredited to that magazine by the April “Successful Farmer” and by other publications.

The poem follows:


My pa ain’t any millyunaire,

But Gee! He’s offul smart;

He ain’t no carpenter, but he

Can fix a feller’s cart.

He ain’t no doctor, but you bet

My pa, he allus knows

Just what to do to fix a boy

What’s got a bloody nose.

My pa aint’ presidunt, becoz

He says he never run;

But he could do it just as well as

Any presidunt has done.

A presidunt may beat my pa

At piling up a vote;

But he can’t beat him, I will bet,

A-whittlin’ out a boat.

My pa ain’t rich, but that’s becoz

He never tried to be;

He’s no ‘lectrician, but he fixed

A telephone for me.

My pa ain’t never wrote a book,

But I know that he could

Becoz the stories that he tells

To me are allus good.

My pa knows everything, I guess,

An’ you bet I don’t care

‘Coze he ain’t president or rich

As any millyunaire;

Whenever things go wrong, my pa

Can make ‘em right, you see;

An’ though he ain’t a president,

Pa’s good enough for me.

—Household Guest.

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Atlanta Journal, May 15th 1913, “No Phagan Trial Before Last of June Declares Solicitor,” Leo Frank case newspaper article series (Original PDF)