Mincey Ready to Swear to Conley Affidavit

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

Atlanta Journal
August 6th, 1913

Declares Negro Told Him He Had Killed a Girl—Waiting as Witness

W. H. Mincey, the man who has made an affidavit in which he swears that Jim Conley told him on April 26, the day Mary Phagan was murdered, that he had killed a girl that day, appeared at the court house Wednesday morning but did not go into the court room.

Mincey was seen by a Journal reporter as he stood across the street from the court house and watched the crowd seeking entrance. He declared that he was ready to take the witness stand and to back up his statement. When asked whether he had seen Conley since the day that he claimed the negro confessed to him, he declined to answer.

Mincey says that he has been teaching school at New Salem, near Rising Fawn, in Dade county, Ga., and that school adjourned in order to permit him to come to Atlanta to testify in the Frank case.

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Atlanta Journal, August 6th 1913, “Mincey Ready to Swear to Conley Affidavit,” Leo Frank case newspaper article series (Original PDF)

Judge Roan Rules Out Most Damaging Testimony Given By Conley Against Leo Frank

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

Atlanta Journal
August 6th, 1913

Solicitor Dorsey in Vigorous Speech Protests Against Striking Evidence, Declaring He Has Witnesses to Corroborate the Negro and That Striking of Testimony Will Prevent His Getting Their Statements Before the Jury

Sustaining a motion made by the defense in the trial of Leo M. Frank, Judge L. S. Roan Tuesday afternoon announced that he would rule out all of Conley’s testimony charging the accused superintendent with perversion, and the negro’s testimony that he acted as a “lookout” for Frank on days previous to the murder. The judge ruled that Conley’s testimony that he watched for the accused on the day of the tragedy would remain in evidence.

Attorney Arnold entered the court about two minutes late. Mr. Rosser had not arrived. Mr. Arnold asked that the jury be sent out and stated that he had several motions to make. The jury went out. The first, he said, was a motion to exclude certain testimony from the record on the ground that it was wholly irrelevant, incompetent and inadmissible. Mr. Arnold held a long typewritten document in his hands.

“We move, first,” he said, “to exclude from the record all the testimony of Conley relative to watching for the defendant, and we withdraw our cross-examination on that subject.”

Second, Mr. Arnold moved that a portion of the negro’s testimony attacking Frank’s character, which was brought out through questions propounded by the solicitor, be ruled out.

Mr. Arnold concluded the argument by saying, “Before anything else is done, we move to exclude this from the record.”

Judge Roan spoke up, “As I understand it, Mr. Arnold, what you want to withdraw is testimony about watching on other occasions.”

Before this question was answered, Attorney Arnold turned to Mr. Hooper and showed him that part of Conley’s evidence which the defense wished to exclude.

Attorney Hooper took the floor saying, “To allow this motion would be to trifle with the court. When they did not object at the time this evidence was introduced I believe they lost any ground that they had for an objection. If their objection had been entered at the time of the introduction of this testimony, I should say that the objection was well taken, but I do not think that they have a right after letting it all go into the records without protest, now to move for its total exclusion.”

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Judge Roan Reverses Decision on Conley Testimony

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

Atlanta Journal
August 6th, 1913

Conley’s Whole Testimony Will Be Allowed to Stay in Record of Frank Case

State Ready With Corroborating Witnesses, if Evidence Is Held to Be Admissible—Jim Conley Adds New and Sensational Feature to His Testimony, Declaring He Saw Frank Place Mary Phagan’s Pocketbook in the Factory Safe


Those Responsible for Applause Were Immediately Ejected From the Court Room—Dr. H. F. Harris Expected to Resume Stand During Afternoon—State Will Furnish Presentation of Its Case by Thursday but Hardly Before

Judge L. S. Roan, presiding at the trial of Leo M. Frank, superintendent of the National Pencil factory, who is on trial charged with the murder of Mary Phagan, Wednesday afternoon reversed himself in his ruling made Tuesday striking out portions of Jim Conley’s testimony. The judge made his ruling Tuesday but withheld announcing it to the jury until Wednesday. His reversal means that Conley’s testimony that he acted in the capacity of a “lookout” for the accused superintendent on days prior to the day of the tragedy, and also his testimony accusing Frank of perversion remains in the testimony. It also means that Solicitor Dorsey will be allowed to present evidence corroborating the negro sweeper as to Frank’s attitude toward him and his conduct to the negro’s presence.


Jim Conley, who left the witness stand at 11:10, after sixteen hours of direct and cross examination, added sensational feature to his testimony Wednesday by the declaration that he saw Frank take the mesh bag or pocket book carried by Mary Phagan from the desk in his office and placed it in the safe. So far as the public knows the mesh bag has never been found.

Over the protest of the attorneys for the defense, Solicitor Dorsey managed to get before the jury that Frank had refused to face his accuser, Jim Conley, when the detectives sought to arrange an interview at the tower.

For the first time since the trial has been in progress applause broke out in the court room when Solicitor Dorsey after a dispute with counsel for the defense over testimony given by Detective Scott, was sustained by the reading of the court stenographic notes. Dorsey had contended that Scott testified that Frank told him on April 28th about Mrs. White’s having seen a negro near the foot of the stairs on the day of the tragedy. Although the defendant had given this information to the Pinkerton detectives on April 28 declared the solicitor, it was May 7 before the state’s detectives knew about it. When the stenographer’s report of Scott’s testimony was read, sustaining the solicitor, applause broke forth in several parts of the court room at once. Those responsible for it were immediately ejected by the deputie [sic].

Dr. H. F. Harris is expected to take the stand Wednesday afternoon and finish his testimony. He will probably be under cross-examination for an hour or more. The state expects to finish the presentation of its case Thursday.

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Judge Will Rule on Evidence Attacked by Defense at 2 P.M.

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

Atlanta Georgian
August 6th, 1913

As soon as court opened Mr. Rosser asked the judge if he was ready to hear argument on the proposition to eliminate parts of Conley testimony. He said he was prepared to support his motion with authorities.

Judge Roan replied that he would postpone this decision until 2 o’clock.

Solicitor Dorsey declared that he had witnesses he expects to put on the stand Wednesday morning to substantiate the part of the negro’s testimony in dispute. He said:

“I just want the court to understand that I am going to do this.”

Judge Roan replied:

“I’ll give you the benefit of whatever you bring out.”

Conley was then recalled to the stand for the conclusion of his cross-examination.

Jim Conley was the same cool, unafraid negro when he returned to the stand Wednesday morning in the trial of Leo Frank after almost two whole days under the cross-examination of Luther Rosser. He had passed through fire and didn’t seem to mind it. He had no fear of anything that was yet to come.

Mr. Rosser might threaten him or might joke with him; it was all the same to the negro. He had tried both and had established but one thing—that Conley is a liar, and Conley admits that.

Arnold might describe him as “that miserable wretch in the witness chair,” he could gaze calmly out the window as he had done before. He didn’t quite understand all those names they were calling him, anyway.

If, in all the time that Conley was under the raking fire of Rosser’s cross-examination, he was disturbed in the slightest degree it was when he was being asked about that mysterious affidavit of William H. Mincey.

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Dorsey Accomplishes Aim Despite Big Odds

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

Atlanta Georgian
August 6th, 1913


Practically the entire case on which the State of Georgia bases its claim on the life of Leo Frank to pay for that life taken from Mary Phagan is before the jury.

Most of the remaining evidence of importance, which the Solicitor General may introduce merely will be rebuttal to testimony, presented by Frank’s counsel.

Whether the evidence presented is strong enough to convict is a question for the jury to decide. Whether the testimony introduced by the defense will be convincing enough to cause the reasonable doubt which the law says shall make Frank a free man or whether the defense’s attack on the State’s case has been of sufficient strength to create a question in the minds of the jurors, time alone will tell.

But this fact remains unchallenged: Every single thing that Solicitor General Hugh Dorsey declared in advance that he would get before the jury is there now. It may not be enough to convict, but the case which the State said fastened the crime on Leo Frank has been put in evidence.

Dorsey Had Huge Task.

One by one the prosecutor has forged the links in the chain that he maintains fixes the guilt of the Phagan murder on Leo Frank and Leo Frank alone.

It has been long, tedious work. Dorsey has had to fight against considerable odds, but his work has been well done.

When the defense has its innings, the chain may be torn asunder as though struck by lightning, but that will be the work of the skilled attorneys who are fighting to save the life of the pencil factory superintendent.

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Crowd Set in Its Opinions

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

Atlanta Georgian
August 6th, 1913


The impression persists that courtroom crowds are made up in the main of two classes, as follows:

(1) People who take it for granted that any person being tried on any charge in any court is guilty, and then some.

(2) People who are constitutionally incapable of believing anybody is guilty of anything whatever.

That is one powerful impression gained at the Frank trial. It is an impression sticking out pointedly in the wake of the Thaw trial, and the Nan Patterson trial, and the Beatty trial, and the Hyde trial.

All three of the Hyde trials, in fact.

Never an Opinion Altered.

At the risk of being convicted of exaggeration in the first degree, the writer, who was rather intimately associated with the celebrated poison case, would estimate that 18,397 persons expressed in his hearing what they insisted were unalterable opinions as to the guilt or innocence of the accused physician before the jury in the first trail had been impaneled.

And of the 18,397 (estimated) not one single instance is recalled of one single opinion being altered.

The fact that the physician was convicted on his first trial made not the least difference to those who believed him innocent.

Court Ruling Mattered Not.

The fact that the Supreme Court reversed and remanded the case for further trial made not the least difference to those who voted guilty.

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Can Jury Obey if Told to Forget Base Charge?

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

Atlanta Georgian
August 6th, 1913

By James B. Nevin.

“Gentlemen of the jury, having heard from James Conley, the blackest, most damning story ever told in Atlanta by one human being against another, having sat there and listened as he smudged with unspeakable scandal the defendant in this case, Leo Frank, although it is irrelevant, immaterial, and has nothing to do with this case, you will kindly forget it, being on your oaths as jurymen to consider the evidence declared competent!”

And the jury, being like most other juries, in one way or another, and having heard all the things as aforesaid, will promptly proceed to do as instructed about forgetting it—NOT!

I have heard juries told too many times to “forget” things—such, for instance, as that there is no such thing as “unwritten law” in this land of the free and home of the brave—and I have seen too many times those very same juries proceed to “forget”—NOT!

Juries are, after all, composed of mere human beings, and things such as Conley said to the Frank jury can NOT be forgotten, and will NOT be disregarded by the average jury.

Merely Question of Belief.

It is merely a question of whether the jury BELIEVES the negro!

There was something infinitely pathetic in the situation Tuesday, when court met in the afternoon.

For one thing, it brought to the cheeks of the defendant’s wife, always and ever at his side, the first tears I yet have seen fall from her eyes.

She has borne herself with amazing fortitude thus far—the wonder is that she has not long ago collapsed.

When Reuben Arnold, moving to strike from the record the vile story of Jim Conley, paused a second before reading the exact words he desired expunged, looked a moment in the direction of the defendant’s wife, and said, with no show of the spectacular whatever, “Your honor, I would prefer not to read this in the presence of these two ladies, and I therefore pass it to your honor that you may read it in silence!” The moment was tense and tragic!

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Accuser of Conley is Ready to Testify

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

Atlanta Georgian
August 6th, 1913

Deplores Newspaper Publicity, but Poses Merrily for the Camera Brigade.

W. H. Mincey, the school teacher and insurance solicitor who made an affidavit that Jim Conley confessed to him that he had already killed a girl that day and didn’t want to kill anyone else, was the center of attention for the crowd on the outside of the courthouse Wednesday mornin[g].

While deploring newspaper publicity, he readily agreed to pose for a group of newspaper photographers, assuming many poses, some of which were rather grotesque. He followed this with implicit instructions to the photographer that his picture was not to be printed in the papers.

Efforts to get him to state whether he had seen Jim Conley since his arrest proved futile. Mincey declared he would make this statement or answer until he had taken the stand.

Mincey was located at New Salem, Ga., near Rising Fawn, in Dade County. He is teaching school there, his work being the preparation of students to enter the Martha Berry School at Rome.

“I will not talk of the case and will not tell my story until I take the stand,” said Mincey. “If Jim Conley killed little Mary Phagan, I feel that it is my duty to tell of the experience I had with him that Saturday afternoon. I don’t think this thing should be discussed in the newspapers, though. I regard newspapers as a necissity. These matters should be left to the court hearings. It is a loss to me to be here and I trust the case will soon be over. I think, though, that it is my duty to tell what I know.”

Mincey is a man of small stature with piercing eyes and a gray mustache. He wears a black felt slouch hat and a dark suit.

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Atlanta Georgian, August 6th 1913, “Accuser of Conley is Ready to Testify,” Leo Frank case newspaper article series (Original PDF)

Conley Swears Frank Hid Purse

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

Atlanta Georgian
August 6th, 1913

Sweeper’s Grilling Ends After 151/2 Hours, His Main Story Unshaken


That Mary Phagan’s silver-plated mesh bag, mysteriously missing since the girl’s bruised and lifeless body was found the morning of April 27, was in Leo Frank’s office a few minutes after the attack and later was placed in the safe in Frank’s office was the startling statement made by the negro Conley Wednesday in the course of his re-direct examination by Solicitor Dorsey. At 11:10 the negro left the stand after being questioned for fifteen and one half hours.

This testimony was the sensation of the forenoon. Throughout the more than three months of the murder mystery an unavailing search was made for the mesh bag, the city and Pinkerton detectives being convinced that the finding of the bag would go a long distance toward pointing out the person guilty of the Phagan girl’s murder.

“Did you ever see a silver mesh bag that Mary Phagan carried?” inquired the Solicitor.

“Yes, sah,” replied Conley. “I see it right on Mr. Frank’s desk when I went in there.”

“What became of the mesh bag?” continued Dorsey.

“He went and put it in his safe,” the negro said.

First Word of Mysterious Bag.

It was the first information, authentic or otherwise, that had come to light regarding the disposal of the mesh bag. The homes of Newt Lee and Jim Conley had been searched high and low for the bag or any other clew to the perpetrator of the crime. Except for a vague rumor that a mesh bag had been found by a negro in a shop on Decatur street, a story which later was found to have no connection with the Phagan mystery, not the slightest clew ever was discovered to the whereabouts of the bag which so strangely had disappeared.

Attorney Rosser’s manner was angry and threatening when he arose for the re-cross examination. He began at once a vicious attack on Conley’s story of the mesh bag. He asked when Conley first told this remarkable tale. Conley said he couldn’t remember.

“Why didn’t you tell all this when you were telling ‘the whole truth’ to the detectives?” Rosser shouted.

The attorney apparently sought to create the impression that the mesh bag story was an afterthought and that it was manufactured by the negro when he heard of the search the detectives were making for the bag.

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Stanford Recalled By Solicitor Dorsey

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

Atlanta Constitution
August 5th, 1913

Declares There Were Bars Across Door on Second Floor on Day Before Murder.

Following Sergeant Dobbs, Mell Stanford, a factory employee, who had previously testified, was recalled for a few minutes.

“Was the door on the second floor back locked or unlocked on Friday, April 25?” asked Mr. Dorsey.

“There were bars across it,” said Stanford.

“Was there any way to get down back there?”

“Only by the fire escape.”
“Was the area of the metal room cleaned up after the murder?”

“Yes, sir, during the following week.”

“Did you clean it up?” asked Mr. Rosser, who here took up the cross-examination.

“No, sir, I saw it being cleaned up, though.”

“Could a man have removed that bar to the door back there and then gone up the stairs?”

“Yes, sir.”

Stanford was then excused.

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Atlanta Constitution, August 5th 1913, “Stanford Recalled by Solicitor Dorsey,” Leo Frank case newspaper article series (Original PDF)

Frank Very Nervous, Testifies L. O. Grice

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

Atlanta Constitution
August 5th, 1913

Witness Had Gone to the Pencil Factory After Reading The Constitution Extra

L. O. Grice was the first witness put on the stand when court convened Monday morning. He was kept there but a few minutes. He stated that he is employed by W. H. Smith, auditor of the Atlanta and West Point railroad, and that he lives at 270 Houston street.

“Where were you on Sunday, April 27, about 8 o’clock?” Mr. Dorsey started out.

“I was in front of The Constitution building and I saw one of their extras and went on down to the National Pencil factory. I was going in that direction towards the office where I work, anyway,” he replied.

“Did you go in the building?”
“Yes, sir.”

Hadn’t Been in Courtroom.

“Have you been in the courtroom during this trial?” interrupted Attorney Rosser. (Mr. Grice had not been among those witnesses first named by the solicitor.)

“No; I haven’t been in here before this morning,” said Grice.

“Did anything attract your attention down in the factory?” continued the solicitor when his opponent had subsided.

“Yes, sir; I saw Mr. Black, the detective, and a number of men.”

“Did anybody attract your attention by showing nervousness?”
“Yes, sir.”

“Who was it?”
“I didn’t know him then.”

“Is he the defendant, there?” said Mr. Dorsey, pointing to where Frank sat.

“Yes; he was the man,” said Grice.

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Handsome Woman Seeks in Vain For Witness at Frank’s Trial

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

Atlanta Constitution
August 5th, 1913

Shortly after the courtroom had been cleared of women during the trial of Leo M. Frank Monday, Detective Harper entered the room with a handsome woman and the two took a leisurely survey of those in the courtroom.

It was learned that the woman is a waitress at a well-known restaurant, and that shortly after the murder she is supposed to have overheard a conversation with two men who were discussing the killing. It is said they were friends of Frank and that they made admissions which would prove important to the state.

The two men were not in the courtroom.

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Atlanta Constitution, August 5th 1913, “Handsome Woman Seeks in Vain For Witness at Frank’s Trial,” Leo Frank case newspaper article series (Original PDF)

Women of Every Class and Age Listen With Morbid Curiosity To Testimony of Negro Conley

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

Atlanta Constitution
August 5th, 1913

By Britt Craig.

There was a chorus girl who sat next to an aged and withered woman who is undoubtedly a grandmother—a great-grandmother, maybe; there was a painted-cheeked girl with hollow eyes who bore the unmistakable stain of crimson, who sat between a mother who held in her lap an eager 13-year-old.

There was a wrinkled and worn old woman with the lines of care stamped indelibly, who hobbled into the room on a crutch and sat beside a man who chewed tobacco and whispered profanity. Over in a corner there was a graceful young woman with a wide hat and flowing plume and pretty features crowned with a wealth of auburn hair.

They all were at the Frank trial yesterday, listening intently to Jim Conley’s ugly story, many parts of which brought shame to the cheeks of the hardened court attaches. They sat throughout his tale, eager, expectant, apparently thrilled through and through and intent upon missing nothing.

Not a single one left the courtroom until adjournment time. On Friday afternoon, when Dr. Harris gave intimate testimony of details of his examination of Mary Phagan’s body a number of women arose from their seats, shielded their blushing cheeks with newspapers, and strode from the courtroom.

But Monday it was different. Jim Conley’s tale reeked at times and yet not a woman left the courtroom. Instead they leaned forward, bent upon escaping nothing of the odious details that came from the negro’s mouth. A mother held a child in knee dresses on a knee in a position in which the child could see and hear perfectly.

The mother held a fan, with which she fanned briskly at times. That is, at times when there was a lull in the story. But it stopped, the fan did, and was held poised in expectation, when Conley would resume relating his story.

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Flashlight in The Constitution Introduced in Trial of Frank

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

Atlanta Constitution
August 5th, 1913

Police Sergeant L. S. Dobbs was the witness who followed Grice. The officer had already testified on the first day of the trial and was brought back for only a few minutes.

“Did you find a handkerchief that Sunday morning in the factory?”

“Yes, sir, in the basement near a trash pile.”

“That’s all,” said the solicitor.

Mr. Rosser then asked the officer several questions in regard to the detail of the basement and said he was through.

Mr. Dorsey then showed the officer a flashlight photograph of the spot in the basement where the girl’s body was found. It was the flashlight taken by Francis E. Price, Constitution staff photographer, on the morning the body was found and used the next day in The Constitution. The solicitor had borrowed it from a member of the staff.

The picture showed Detective John R. Black standing near the spot, and Mr. Rosser interrupted with some very pleasant remarks about “My handsome friend, Black.”

Mr. Dorsey then tendered the bloody handkerchief in evidence and had the officer identify it as the one he had found.

Sergeant Dobbs was then excused. He had been on the stand less than fifteen minutes.

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Atlanta Constitution, August 5th 1913, “Flashlight in The Constitution Introduced in Trial of Frank,” Leo Frank case newspaper article series (Original PDF)

Witnesses in Frank’s Trial In Role of Marriage Witnesses

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

Atlanta Constitution
August 5th, 1913

While T. Y. Brent, notary public and ex-officio justice of the peace, was waiting in the witness room of the Frank murder trial yesterday, the “big and little of it” came to him to pronounce the magic words which would make them forever man and wife, one and inseparable.

Cleve Ware, weighing at the most 120 pounds, and Mattie Turner, who could easily muster 250 pounds, if required, were the parties, being from the swell section of Darktown.

The judge performed the ceremony in the most approved style, and Frank murder trial witnesses acting as the marriage witnesses.

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Atlanta Constitution, August 5th 1913, “Witnesses in Frank’s Trial in Role of Marriage Witnesses,” Leo Frank case newspaper article series (Original PDF)

Conley Is Mercilessly Grilled At Afternoon Session of Court

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

Atlanta Constitution
August 5th, 1913


Jim Conley remained on the stand throughout the afternoon session. Attorney Rosser continuting his cross-examination after the noon recess.

“Who saw you, Jim, at police headquarters?”

“Chief Beavers.”

“Who else?”
“Mr. Smith, my lawyer.”

“Was anybody else present?”
“Yes, Tawney.”

“Did he hear what was said?”
“I guess so. He could have heard.”

“You talked to no one else?”
“No, sir.”

Conley Doesn’t Remember.

“Did you watch for Mr. Frank since the time in January?”
“I think not.”

“What did you do the Saturday afternoon you watched for him?”
“I don’t remember.”

“What did you do the next Saturday?”
“I don’t remember, except that I watched for him. I missed one Saturday.”

“What did you do the Saturday before Thanksgiving and that afternoon?”
“I don’t remember.”

“How much money did you draw the first Saturday you watched for him?”
“I don’t remember.”

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Amazing Testimony of Conley Marks Crucial Point of Trial; Says Frank Admitted Crime

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

Atlanta Constitution
August 5th, 1913

The crucial point of the entire case of the state versus Leo M. Frank, charged with the murder of little Mary Phagan, an employee in the National Pencil factory, of which he was superintendent, came Monday morning when after putting one or two witnesses back on the stand to bring out minor points, Solicitor Hugh Dorsey called out, “Bring in Jim Conley.”

The state had been gradually paving the way for the testimony of the negro sweeper who declares that Frank called on him to hide the body of the dead girl and told him that “he had struck her too hard,” and as the darkey’s name was called out a murmur ran through the crowded courtroom and several women spectators even clapped their hands together before the sheriff’s deputies could restore order.

Jim Conley came in after a short wait. Police Chief James L. Beavers had brought the negro from the station house in his automobile and the negro came slowly into the courtroom walking directly in front of the chief and with no handcuffs or other evidences of being a prisoner.

Conley on the Stand.

After the usual questions to establish his identity the solicitor asked: “Do you know Leo M. Frank?”
“Yes, sir.”

“Point him out.”

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Conley Grilled Five Hours By Luther Rosser

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

Atlanta Constitution
August 5th, 1913


Chief Witness for State Admits, Under Cross-Examination, That He Has Been Under Arrest Seven or Eight Times, and That Many Statements Made in His Three Affidavits Are False. Hangs His Head and “Fools With His Fingers” When He Lies, He Says.


By Order of Judge the Court Is Cleared of Women and Children at Afternoon Session Owing to Revolting Testimony Given by Conley—Dr. Roy Harris, It Is Understood, Will Be Closing Witness Summoned by the Prosecution.

The long-looked-for sensation in the Leo M. Frank trial came Monday morning when Jim Conley, the negro sweeper formerly employed at the National Pencil factory, took the stand and told a revolting as well as dramatic story of what he claims to know of the murder of little Mary Phagan.

Following the telling of this story, parts of which can only be hinted at, Conley was placed under cross-examination by Luther Rosser. For five hours and a half the able attorney for the defense wheedled and coaxed and cajoled and used every tactic known to the legal profession to break down the fabric of the story and to tear the tale to tatters.

He succeeded in confusing the negro as to minor details only. He failed to shake the foundation of the main story—which was that, on Saturday, April 25, Leo M. Frank had asked him to “look out” for him while he “chatted” with a young woman; that later Frank had called to him and told him the girl had “refused him” and that he had struck her. He then described seeing the body of the girl lying on the floor near her machine with a cord and a piece of cloth around her neck. She was dead.

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Negro Sweeper Remanded to Solitude in Jail Over Night

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

Atlanta Journal
August 5th, 1913

Jim Conley Grilled for Many Hours By Frank’s Attorney Who Fails to “Rattle” Him

Luther Rosser Makes Negro Admit Lies and Terms in Prison, but Sweeper Remains Good Witness for State—Women Excluded From Court Room During Afternoon Session, Numerous Tilts Between Opposing Counsel Marked With Bitterness.

The afternoon session of the Frank trial was marked by many tilts between the solicitor and his assistant with counsel for the defense and toward the end of the session much bitterness was injected into the remarks by various members of opposing counsel. Judge Roan decided with Frank’s counsel after vigorous protests by Solicitor Dorsey on the manner in which Attorney Rosser was questioning the witness, Jim Conley [illegible].

The jury was excused shortly before court adjourned for the day at 5:30 pm and Attorney Arnold, for the defense, asked the court to have Conley [illegible] in solitide where the prosecution could not talk with him. [Illegible] said that the examination of the negro is only half completed and that it would be unfair for the state’s agents to converse with him. To his request the solicitor acquiesced and stated to the court that he hoped the prisoner would be safeguarded from any others reaching him. Judge Roan remanded the prisoner to the custody of Sheriff Mangum and ordered a special guard put over the witness during the night, allowing none to talk with him.

The only important development during the afternoon was the admission by Conley under cross-examination, that he had served seven terms in jail.

During the cross-examination of the negro Jim Conley at the afternoon session, Attorney Rosser, for the defense, asked:

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Lawyers on Both Sides Satisfied With Conley

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

Atlanta Journal
August 5th, 1913

They Haven’t Shaken Him a Particle,” Says Dorsey—“He Has Told About 240 Lies Already,” Declares Attorney Reuben Arnold

Both the state’s attorneys and the counsel for Leo M. Frank Tuesday at noon expressed satisfaction with the progress of the cross-examination of James Conley, the negro sweeper. The negro had been on the stand then for more than nine hours, during eight hours of which he had undergone a strenuous grilling at the hands of Attorney L. Z. Rosser.

“They have not shaken him a particle,” declared Solicitor Dorsey, “and that isn’t all. I don’t believe they will be able to do so.” Attorney Frank A. Hooper, who is assisting Mr. Dorsey in the prosecution of Frank said: “Mr. Rosser will go ahead and wear himself out, and Attorney Arnold will hurl questions at Conley until he, too, grows weary, and when it is all over the negro will still be there ready for more.”

Mr. Rosser was confident that he had made great headway in discredited Conley’s testimony. He smilingly commented upon how he had tangled up the negro when he got him away from his recited story, but said that when Conley got back into his well-drilled tale he ran along like a piece of well-oiled machinery. “I’ve caught him in a mass of lies,” asserted Mr. Rosser.

“Conley has lied both specifically and generally,” declared Reuben Arnold. “He has lied about material things and he has lied about immaterial things. He has told about 340 lies since he has been under cross-examination. I kept tab on him until he had told over 300 lies, and then they came so fast I couldn’t keep up with him.”

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Atlanta Journal, August 5th 1913, “Lawyers on Both Sides Satisfied With Conley,” Leo Frank case newspaper article series (Original PDF)