State Opens Its Case Against Leo M. Frank

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

Atlanta Journal
July 28th, 1913

JURY COMPLETED BEFORE RECESS AND STATE WAS READY TO BEGIN INTRODUCTION OF ITS TESTIMONY

Last Man In the Last Panel Was Accepted as the Twelfth Juror and Cleared the Way for the Actual Trial of the Case When Court Reconvened at 3 o’Clock—Newt Lee Will Probably Be the First Witness Placed on the Stand

BOTH THE STATE AND DEFENSE SEEMED SATISFIED WITH TWELVE MEN CHOSEN TO TRY IMPORTANT CASE

Proceeding During the Morning More Like That of a Civil Than a Criminal Case—Court Room Crowded, but Not Uncomfortable—Frank Appears in Court, Showing No Sign of Worry—Full Story of the Morning Session

Sidebar:

PERSONNEL OF FRANK JURY; ALL MARRIED EXCEPT ONE

With one exception the jurors for the Frank trial are married men and five are fathers. Among them is one bank teller, one bookkeeper, one real estate agent, one manufacturer, one contractor, one optician, one claim agent, one mailing clerk, two salesmen and two machinists.

The following are the jurors:

M. Johemmings, married, foreman at 271 Marietta street, residence 161 Jones avenue

M. L. Woodward, married and father of two children, salesman at King Hardware company. He resides at 182 Clark street.

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Woman Charges Police Forced Her to Make False Statement

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

Atlanta Journal
July 28th, 1913

Negro Cook in the Selig-Frank Home Repudiates Affidavit She Swore to Against Frank, Will Refuse to Swear to the Paper, She Says

Minola McKnight, the negro cook, who signed an affidavit which is to be used by the prosecution against Leo M. Frank, said Monday morning that the police, by three hours’ sweating, forced her to sign this affidavit, and that when she is called as a witness that she will refuse to testify to the statements set forth in it.

The substance of the affidavit was that, on the morning following the murder of Mary Phagan, Mrs. Frank came downstairs at the home of her parents, Mr. and Mrs. Emil Selig, with whom she and Frank made their home, and said that Frank had asked for a pistol with which to kill himself.

At the time the negro cook signed this written statement of what is said in the affidavit to have happened at the Selig residence on the day following the murder, she was confined at police station.

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Former Suspect Will Be Happy No Matter How Frank Case Ends

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

Atlanta Journal
July 28th, 1913

J. M. Gantt Is to Be Married Sunday, Provided Trial Is Over—He Has Planned to Elope, but Now He’ll Have “Sure Enough” Wedding

There is one man connected with the case of Mary Phagan to whom the conclusion of the trial will bring a great happiness. He is J. M. Gantt, at one time a suspect and now a witness.

The day that brings the end of the trial will bring to him a wife.

Monday morning he sat on the steps leading to the second floor of the courthouse, chewing on the end of a dead cigar. And he told how Miss Annie Chambers, to whom he was to have been married many weeks ago, has promised to wed him, next Sunday, provided the Frank trial is over.

“We were going to elope just before this thing happened,” said Gantt, “but guess now we’ll have a regular formal wedding. It’ll come off next Sunday if we can make it then, if not, why, later. I was trying to get to Marietta, where we’ll live, the day I was arrested. God helping me, I’ll get there this time, and Annie will be with me.”

Mrs. Leo Frank and Her Mother Cheer Prisoner at Courthouse

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

Atlanta Journal
July 28th, 1913

Accused Neither Care-Worn Nor Haggard—His Eyes Meet Those of Crowd Without Faltering

There was one question on the face of every member of the big crowd in and around the courthouse Monday morning. To those standing without in the street, to those crowding the corridors and hallways, to witnesses flowing through rooms on the second floor, to the packed courtroom, the query was, where is the prisoner.

The man to whom the trial meant more than it meant to any other human being, had been brought to the courthouse early in the morning.

He was in a bare walled little room a few feet from the doorway leading to the court. With him sat two deputy sheriffs, his father-in-law, Emile Selig, and a friend.

From time to time during the morning the curious slipped to the door and gazed in at the accused. They saw a little man whose dark eyes gazed at them unwinking through big glasses. He was pale, but neither care-worn nor haggard. He wore a light gray suit striped with darker gray, black shoes, and a black and white four-in-hand tie.

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No New Testimony Will Be Given to Jury by Newt Lee

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

Atlanta Journal
July 28th, 1913

Negro Nightwatchman Says He Doesn’t Know Conley, the Sweeper—Merely Will Repeat Story of Finding Body

Newt Lee’s testimony to the jury, before which Leo M. Frank is to be tried, will repeat his statements to the police. He will add nothing new, and will give no testimony involving Conley, the negro sweeper.

To the jury, as to the police, Newt Lee will describe merely how he found the body of the murdered child in the cellar of the pencil factory, and afterward told the police of his discovery.

As he waited at the court house with other witnesses Monday morning, he said that Conley, the sweeper is unknown to him, and that he has told all that he can tell.

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Court Scenes at Frank Trial; How It Looks Inside and Out

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

Atlanta Journal
July 28th, 1913

Three Distinct Crowds Are There, Some Laughing, Some Whispering Speculations on Case

There were three crowds at the Frank trial Monday morning; and each had an aspect and characteristic as different as east from west—the crowd in the court room, the crowd around the door and in the street, and the throng of witnesses swarming through the upstairs rooms.

As one approached the red brick court house down Hunter street, he could see the corner near Pryor black with people. A car would turn the curve, the motorman clanging his gong vigorously before the packed mass would open and let the car grind by.

They were mostly men and boys. At intervals a woman accompanied by an escort would struggle into the doorway and up the stairs. She was a witness probably a factory girl.

Clean across Pryor street the crowd outside extended. People stood in the doorway of a drug store, in the street, in little groups on the sidewalk. It was a silent throng on the whole, speculating in whispers as to what was happening within.

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Additional Newspaper Transcriptions

Several Atlanta Constitution newspaper articles were unavailable a few weeks ago for transcription and were skipped over in the postings. Original copies of the newspapers were used to transcribe these missing Leo Frank case articles. As the postings on this website are, for the most part, in chronological order from the date of the murder, the Constitution articles were backdated and published where they would have been otherwise, in older posts. The dates of these articles run from July 23rd to July 26th of the Atlanta Constitution.

Frank Jury

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

Atlanta Georgian
July 28th, 1913

Here is the Frank jury complete:

A. H. Henslee, 74 Oak street; salesman.

F. V. L. Smith, 481 Cherokee avenue, manufacturer’s agent.

J. F. Higdon, 108 Ormewood avenue.

F. E. Winburn, 213 Lucile avenue, claim agent.

A. L. Wisbey, 31 Hood street, cashier of the Buckeye Oil Company.

W. M. Jeffries, a real estate man, with offices at 318 Empire building.

Marcellus Johemming, 161 James street, a machine shop foreman with offices at 281 Marietta street.

M. L. Woodward, cashier King Hardware Company, 182 Park avenue.

J. T. Osburn, an optician for A. K. Hawkes, was chosen from the fifth panel to be the ninth juror.

D. Townsend, 84 Whitehall Terrace, cashier Central Bank and Trust Corporation, tenth juror.

W. S. Medcalf, 136 Kirkwood avenue, circulation man.

C. J. Bosshardt, pressman, employed by Foote & Davies, 216 Bryan street.

Mary Phagan’s Mother Testifies

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

Atlanta Georgian
July 28th, 1913

Newt Lee Repeats His Story in Court Room

Negro Watchman Swears Frank Acted Oddly Day of Crime

Here are the important developments in the trial of Leo M. Frank for the murder of Mary Phagan.

Jury chosen at 1:30 p. m.

Mrs. Coleman, girl’s mother, takes stand after recess, at 3:15, and tells of Mary leaving for the factory 11:45 a. m. on April 26.

George W. Epps, boy companion of Mary Phagan, repeats his story that he had an engagement to meet her on the afternoon of the fatal day.

Newt Lee, night watchman at the factory, begins his story of the finding of the body and subsequent developments.

Mrs. J. W. Coleman, mother of murdered Mary Phagan, was the first witness for the prosecution at the trial of Leo Frank Monday afternoon. After answering several questions she broke down completely when the solicitor exhibited the little lavender skirt worn by her daughter when she last saw her alive. She covered her face with a fan and for several minutes could not answer a question.

The first question asked her was:

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Frank, Feeling Tiptop, Smiling and Confident, is Up Long Before Trial

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

Atlanta Georgian
July 28th, 1913

Frank was escorted from the Tower to the courthouse shortly after 6 o’clock in the morning, nearly three hours before the trial was schedule to begin. This was done to avoid the curious crowd which it was expected would be about the courthouse and thronging the corridors at 9 o’clock.

Frank was up and dressed and freshly shaven when Deputy Sheriff Plennie Miner appeared before his cell at the early hour.

“How are you feeling this morning Mr. Frank?” the deputy inquired.

“Tip top, only, I’m mighty hungry,” replied Frank.

Exhibiting the same poised confidence that has characterized him through three months since he was locked in a cell in the county jail, the young factory superintendent chatted freely with Miner on the way to the courthouse.

Sure He Will Be Freed.

He was attired in a natty light gray mohair suit and wore a fancy gray tie. His face was fuller and he appeared slightly heavier than when he was arrested shortly after the murder of the Phagan girl. He seemed cheerful and in the best of health.

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Jury Complete to Try Frank

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

Atlanta Georgian
July 28th, 1913

Wife Helps Prisoner Pick Men to Try Him

All in Readiness for Real Trial to Begin After Short Recess

Events on the opening day of the trial of Leo M. Frank, accused of the slaying of Mary Phagan in the National Pencil Factory, moved with such unexpected swiftness that it was apparent that the trial proper would be under way and the first witnesses called before the close of the first day’s session. The jury had been completed by the time recess was taken at 1:30.

After a few preliminary clashes between the opposing attorneys which presaged a bitter struggle when the fight for Frank’s life actually was begun, the court settled down to the selection of the jury. The whole morning session up to the recess was occupied with the examination of veniremen.

All the force of attorneys at the table for the defense watched with keen eyes every man examined and frequently referred to a voluminous r[e]cord containing the names of all the veniremen and detailed statements of their history and associations so far as these might have a bearing on their desirability as jurors to pass on Leo Frank’s guilt or innocence.

The keenest interest was manifested by those in the crowded little courtroom as the strategies of the brilliant lawyers were revealed during the examination.

State Had Veniremen’s Records.

The thoroughness with which the Solicitor and his assistants had canvassed the history of every venireman and had investigated whether or not he had ever expressed an opinion on the guilt or innocence of the accused was demonstrated when W. W. Hemmett, a salesman for the Kingsbury Shoe Company, was being examined as to his qualifications.

“Have you ever said you thought Frank was guilty?” Mr. Dorsey inquired.

“No, I never have,” replied Hemmett.

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All in Readiness for Frank’s Trial Monday Morning

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

Atlanta Constitution
July 27th, 1913

Greatest Legal Battle in the History of Dixie Is the Prediction of Atlanta Attorneys

ATTORNEYS FOR STATE HOLD FINAL CONFERENCE

Representatives of Leo Frank Still Non-Committal About Report That Postponement May Be Asked

Practically every detail for the trial of Leo M. Frank has now been completed and with the state declaring its readiness and determination to go to trial and the defense maintaining its same silence in regard to the much mooted matter of postponement every thing awaits the calling of the case at 9 o’clock Monday morning in the criminal branch of superior court before Judge L. S. Roan.

In far more than one was the trial of the young factory superintendent for the murder on April 26 of Mary Phagan an employee, is expected to exceed any criminal trial in the south.

Extensive preparations have been made by both the state and the defense since Frank was bound over by the coroner’s jury on May 8 and since then the lines of the two armies which will fight the legal battle to determine his fate have been gradually thrown out and maneuvering has been going on for advantageous points.

Greatest Legal Battle.

When the clash actually comes in the court room Atlanta attorneys freely predict that the greatest legal battle of southern history will be seen.

Solicitor Hugh M. Dorsey held a final conference Saturday afternoon with those who have been aiding him. Assistant Solicitor E. A. Stephens and Attorney Frank A. Hooper who will aid in the legal fight, were present, and also Detectives Pat Campbell and John N. Starnes who have been practically attached to the solicitors office during the preparation.

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Frank’s Story of His Moves on Day of Crime

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

Atlanta Journal
July 27th, 1913

Accused Superintendent’s Story Is Unbroken by Any Save a Negro

Leo M. Frank’s sworn statement of his whereabouts each hour on the day of April 26, when Mary Phagan met her death, is of unusual interest in the case, especially since no witness except Conley had been found, at least as far as the public knows, who can break his story.

Frank’s statement of his whereabouts as given at the coroner’s inquest, when he was under oath, follows:

SATURDAY APRIL 26.

7 o’clock a. m.—Arose and dressed at home.

8—Left home for the factory office.

8:20—Arrived at the factory office.

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Here is Conley’s Confession Around Which Bitter Fight is Expected in the Frank Trial

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

Atlanta Journal
July 27th, 1913

There is little doubt that the storm-center, so to speak, of the Frank trial will be the testimony of the negro sweeper, James Conley. He will be the principal witness for the state and all of the other evidence of the prosecution will be shaped with a view to corroborating and strengthening his story which places the murder of Mary Phagan upon the factory superintendent.

And the defense will chiefly concern itself with the task of discrediting the negro’s testimony. It will bend its energies to prove that Conley has lyingly accused Frank and will offer evidence designed to fasten the crime upon the negro.

These facts being true the public will be interested in reviewing the sworn confession made by Conley to the city detectives. It follows:

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Plennie Minor Faces Task in Handling Court Room During Trial of Leo Frank

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

Atlanta Journal
July 27th, 1913

Genial Deputy Sheriff Will Have Seats for Only 250 People, and Hates to Think He Won’t Be Able to Accommodate Everybody, for That’s His Disposition

Plennie Minor is going to have the hardest job in Fulton county during the next two weeks.

Plennie (he doesn’t allow people to call him Mr. Minor, for he is everybody’s friend) is a Fulton county deputy sheriff and has the arduous task of keeping order in the court room while the Frank case is in progress. Incidentally, he will have to look out for witnesses and prisoners, and generally be the handy man about the trial.

Probably the worst job coming to him will be to keep the crowds out.

There are seats in the court room for 250 people and after they are filled everybody will be barred.

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State Will Build Case Against Frank Around Conley’s Story; Defense Will Undertake to Show that Negro Alone is Guilty

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

Atlanta Journal
July 27th, 1913

Defense Will Ridicule Conley’s Story and Endeavor to Show That It Was Made to Save His Own Neck

MANY WITNESSES CALLED TO CORROBORATE FRANK

Though Attorneys Are Silent, The Journal Presents Below Outline of What the Defense Is Expected to Be

Complete innocence on the part of Leo M. Frank, the young superintendent of the National Pencil factory, and absolute guilt on the part of James Conley, the negro sweeper at the factory, are the two cardinal points upon which Frank’s defense will be based when he is called to trial for the murder of Mary Phagan, the little girl, whose body was found in the pencil factory basement on Sunday morning, April 27.

Frank’s attorneys, Luther Z. Rosser and Reuben R. Arnold, two of the south’s ablest lawyers, have carefully concealed the plans of the defense, but enough has come to light to conclusively indicate that they not only expect to convince the jury that Frank is innocent and that it would have been a physical impossibility for him to have committed the murder without detection, but that Conley, the negro, did have such an opportunity and that robbery was his motive for killing the girl.

The defense evidently holds to the idea that to satisfactorily establish Frank’s innocence and bring about his exoneration it is necessary to clear up the murder mystery. This it will attempt to do by convincing evidence as to the guilt of the negro.

Ever since Conley made his last famous affidavit of confession in which he swore that at Frank’s instance he helped to carry the dead girl into the basement and wrote the notes found by her body Frank’s attorneys have worked on the theory that singlehanded Conley murdered Mary Phagan and that he sought to implicate their client as the principal in order to save his own neck.

The alleged inconsistencies in Conley’s confession will be stressed and its alleged improbabilities will be dissected before the jury. A piece of Mary Phagan’s pay envelope and a bloody club, said to have been found in the dark recess near the factory stairs, where Conley admits he was in hiding on the morning of the murder, will be produced as corroborative evidence, as will an affidavit from W. H. Mincey, an insurance agent, who swears that on the afternoon of the murder Conley, stupefied with drink, told him that he had killed a girl.

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Chronological Story of Developments in the Mary Phagan Murder Mystery

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

Atlanta Journal
July 27th, 1913

April 27—The dead body of Mary Phagan is found in basement of National Pencil factory at 3 a. m. by Newt Lee, the negro night-watchman. Police hold Lee, who yater [sic] in the day re-enacts discovery of the remains before city detectives.

April 27—Leo M. Frank, superintendent of the Pencil factory, called from bed to view Mary Phagan’s body at

April 27—Arthur Mullinax arrested on information given the police by E. L. Sentell, who declared he saw the murdered girl in the former’s company at 1220 o’clock on the morning of the murder.

April 28—Coroner Donehoo empanels in metal room on second floor and blood splotched on the floor lead police to believe the girl was killed there.

April 28—Coroner Donehoo empanels jury for inquest, it meets, views body and scene of crime and adjourns.

April 28—The largest crowd that ever viewed a body in Atlanta sees Mary Phagan’s remains at [t]he undertaking chapel.

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Pinkerton Detective Replies to Lanford

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

Atlanta Journal
July 27th, 1913

H. B. Pierce Declares Lanford Knew of Find of Bloody Stick in Factory

H. B. Pierce, head of the local branch of the Pinkerton detective agency, characterizes as absurd Chief Detective N. A. Langford’s [sic] charge that the Pinkerton sleuth has broken faith with the state in the Pinkerton’s investigation of the Phagan case.

Chief Lanford charges specifically that the Pinkerton broke faith by failing to report the find by two of his men of the part of a pay envelope and of a bloody stick on the first floor of the factory. The find was made in the absence of Harry Scott, who has conducted the Phagan investigation for the Pinkertons, and who Lanford says has been absolutely square and fair in all of his dealings with the state and the police.

Pierce, the chief charges, in the absence of Scott, turned the stick and the pay envelope over the attorneys for the defense, and said nothing to him or to the state about it.

Pierce denies this fully, saying that about May 15, only a few days after the find, he mentioned the fact that two of his men had picked up a bloody stick, a part of a pay envelope, and some rope at a certain point on the first floor of the basement.

Lanford, when he was told this, Pierce says, declared that the articles had been placed there as a plant; that his men and Harry Scott and representatives of an insurance company had scoured the three floors of the factory, and that the articles in question could not have been there, but a very short time before they were found.

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The Exoneration of Leo Frank is Coming and Nothing Can Stop It

GEORGIA: The Black Fulton County D.A. Paul L. Howard, Jr., announces the new “Conviction Integrity Unit” specifically designed to exonerate Jewish sex-strangler Leo Frank and reverse his conviction for murdering a 13-year-old White girl. Howard is flanked by former Gov. Roy Barnes and Melissa D. Redmon, director of the University of Georgia Law School.

by Steve Voes

THIS INFORMATION COMES WITH permission directly from an insider source who has given me reliable information in the past, whose name I absolutely must keep confidential and who has been keeping me abreast of developments of this nature.

My government insider associate has informed me that Leo Frank, the Atlanta B’nai B’rith president who strangled little Mary Phagan, a 13-year-old White girl who worked in his factory, to death after sexually assaulting her there, will be “exonerated” in 2019. This has been a goal of organized Jews for over a century.

The fix is in. A “deal” has been made between Jews — and the Black establishment that now nominally rules once-White Atlanta — and a remnant of pathetic, truckling, corrupt White officials.

Previously, the strong evidence against Frank, and the once-proud tradition of honor among Southern Whites, made exoneration impossible and it was repeatedly rejected despite the strongest pressure from Jews.

Blacks, too, had previously been resistant to exonerating Frank, and it was a Black nationalist group, the Nation of Islam, which had published one of the best books on the Frank case, The Lynching of a Guilty Man, in 2016 (which was made into an audio book by the American Mercury). Many Blacks also strongly resented the efforts of the pro-Frank forces, which included the ADL, to successively frame two innocent Black men, Newt Lee and James Conley, for the crime. The effort to frame Conley, who died nearly 60 years ago, continues even today.

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Leo M. Frank Will Go to Trial Monday, It Is Now Believed

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

Atlanta Journal
July 27th, 1913

Indications Were Saturday Night That the Trial Would Begin Before Judge Roan at Hour Scheduled

BOTH SIDES READY AND BITTER FIGHT IS CERTAIN

Many Well Known Citizens In Venire From Whom the Twelve Jurors Will Be Chosen for Trial

If both sides answer ready when the clerk “sounds” the case of the “State of Georgia versus Leo M. Frank” in the criminal division of the superior court at 9 o’clock Monday morning, what is expected to be the most brilliant as well as one of the most bitter legal fights in the criminal history of the state will have commenced.

The stage has been set for the trial, and on the eve of the battle there was no intimation from any one in authority that the trial would not actually be commenced. For weeks the state and defense have been preparing for the struggle, which is to come Monday, and only an extraordinary motion from the defense, which is not now expected, will delay the trial.

Leo M. Frank, Cornell graduate and man of education and refinement, is charged with the murder of Mary Phagan, a fourteen-year-old factory girl, whose lifeless body was found in the basement of the National Pencil factory, of which he is superintendent, on April 27 by a negro night watchman.

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