Not Guilty, Say Both Prisoners

by Archivist on May 3, 2016

Not Guilty Say Both PrisonersAnother in our series of new transcriptions of contemporary articles on the Leo Frank case.

Atlanta Constitution

Saturday, May 3rd, 1913

Leo M. Frank and the Night Watchman, Newt Lee, Reiterate Declarations of Innocence in Phagan Crime.

Leo M. Frank yesterday morning in his cell in the Tower reiterated his plea of innocence to a reporter for The Constitution.

“I swear I’m not guilty,” he declared. “I could not conceive of such a hideous murder, much less commit it. I am accused unjustly. The report that I have made a confession is totally and basely false. I have no confession to make.”

Newt Lee, the suspected night watchman, also repeats his statement that he is innocent.

“White Folks, I Ain’t Guilty.”

“White folks,” he said in his characteristic dialect, “I ain’t guilty. If them detectives is any good, they’ll find out I didn’t have a thing to do with killin’ that little girl. I don’t know nothing ‘cept I found her body. That was all. I swear ‘fore God it was.”

In pursuance of an independent investigation he is making into the Phagan mystery, Solicitor General Hugh M. Dorsey yesterday conferred with a number of detectives from police headquarters who are working on the case. They gave him an insight into the situation as it thus far has been developed by them.

It was announced that the solicitor has put a number of investigators from his office at work on the murder, and that although but little has been developed as yet, his staff is following a number of important clues.

Grand Jury May Act Monday.

It was stated positively that there will be no grand jury action until Monday. The jury met Friday, took action on a number of matters, but did not take a hand in the Phagan case. It is said, though, that they will probably take it up Monday morning.

The attitude of the Pinkerton agency has incited widespread comment. They were employed by the National Pencil company through the suspected superintendent. In order that the correct position of the Pinkertons might be made known, Detective Harry Scott said to a reporter for The Constitution Friday afternoon:

“We don’t care who our investigation hits. We have been employed to find the guilty man, and the guilty man we’re going to find. We are going to give every bit of evidence we gain to the state authorities, and are going to lend our utmost energy in prosecuting the case.

“We have added two men to the case. We do not intend to cease until the guilty man is caught and convicted. The public may rest assured of the fact that the murderer will be caught and given justice. We are confident of success.”

A Story and a Dream.

W. I. Smith, a resident of Eagan, Ga., visited police headquarters Monday morning and asked to see Chief Lanford. Ushered into the office of that official he began a remarkable narrative of a scene he had witnessed in Atlanta Saturday and of a subsequent dream.

“If the body of Mary Phagan is to be exhumed,” he said, “I want to see it. I am satisfied I can identify her as a girl I saw Saturday shortly after noon on Mitchell street. She was with a middle-aged woman, and was being followed by two men.

“She reeled as though dizzy from drugs, and often she staggered over the curb into the street. Each time, one of the men would catch her by the arm. She resented it, it seemed, and jerked away from him. I followed them for several blocks. They finally went into a suspicious looking house.

“When I returned home what I saw continually preyed upon my mind. I have already had three dreams over it. Each dream told me it was Mary Phagan I saw. I’ve been worried so much over it, that I felt it my duty to come and tell the detectives.”

Chief Lanford assured him that, in the event the body was exhumed, Smith would be notified and called upon to identify the girl.

Mrs. Barnett on Case.

Believing she can aid in solving the Phagan mystery, Mrs. Hattie Barnett, a well-known detective, who lives on Woodward avenue, is now working on the case.

She is not connected with any detective agency, but will work independently. Solicitor Hugh Dorsey denied last night the rumor that he would engage female detectives in the investigation he is making. Mrs. Barnett would not discuss her theories with The Constitution reporter who talked with her.

I am confident that I can obtain evidence which will convict the guilty person, she says. My methods of investigation I will say will be along lines never used before in Atlanta. The mystery I am assured will be solved in surprisingly short time.

Burns May Take a Hand.

Detective William J. Burns may be persuaded to take a part in the investigation. He will pass through Atlanta some time next week on the way to attend the State Bankers association to be held in Macon at which he will deliver a speech on the protection of banking institutions.

It has been suggested by a number of persons directly interested in the mystery that Mr. Burns be engaged to conduct an investigation. When he stops over in the city the probability is that he will be consulted.

* * *

Atlanta Constitution, May 3rd 1913, “Not Guilty, Say Both Prisoners,” Leo Frank case newspaper article series (Original PDF)

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