Pinkerton Detective Tells of Call From Factory Head

Pinkerton Detective Tells of Call

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

Atlanta Georgian

Thursday, May 8th, 1913

Harry Scott, the Pinkerton detective who has been working on the case since the day of the crime, took the stand when Schiff concluded his testimony.

Scott testified that Frank called him up Sunday afternoon before there was any talk of his arrest and asked the Pinkertons to begin work on the case and find the slayer.

Scott testified as follows:

Q. How are you interested in the Phagan case?—A. I was retained by the National Pencil Company to find the guilty man.

Q. Who retained you?—A. I received a call from Mr. Frank and he told me what he knew about the case.

Q. Where did Frank talk to you?—A. Mr. Frank, Mr. Dalley, Mr. Schiff and I went into the private office.

Q. What did Frank say?—A. He said: “I guess you have read of the crime. We feel an interest in the matter and desire to retain the Pinkertons and try to locate the murderer.”

Tells He Is Suspected.

Q. What else did he say?—A. He said he had been down to the police headquarters, and that Mr. Black seemed to suspect him of the crime. He told me of his movements on the day of the crime. He told me that about 12:10 Mary Phagan came into the office and drew her money, $1.20. At 12:50, he said, he went up to the fourth floor and saw Mr. White talking to Harry Denham and Arthur White. He said he left at 1:10 and went home, and returned at 3. White and Denham, Frank told me, left about 3:10, leaving him alone in the building. Newt Lee reported at 4, but was sent away. Frank left the building about 6:15, and on the way out saw Newt Lee talking to James Gantt. Mr. Frank allowed Gantt to go inside of the factory to get some shoes and told Lee to go with him. Frank said he became worried over the presence of Gantt in the building and called Lee at 7:30. Frank asked Lee if Gantt had left the building and Lee said yes. Then Frank asked Lee if everything else was all right, and Lee said yes.

Q. Did you ask Frank any questions?—A. No.

Frank Showed Him Building.

Q. What did Frank show you?—A. He showed me the elevator, the room where the blood and hair were found, the basement where the body was found, and also the door.

Q. Have you talked to him since?—A. I talked to him one night, with Detective Black, at headquarters, but did not try to get a statement.

Q. Did he resent any of your questions? Did any one ask you to withhold evidence?—A. Mr. Hubert Haas asked me to keep the police from getting our evidence, and I told him we’d withdraw from the case before we’d do that.

Q. Tell of the interview between Lee and Frank.—A. Mr. Black suggested that Frank talk to Lee, since he employed him, and to try to get Lee to tell all the truth of the matter.

Q. What did Frank say to Lee?—A. I don’t know. They were together privately.

Q. What did Lee say?—A. Lee says that Frank didn’t want to talk about the murder. Lee says he told Frank he knew the murder was committed in daytime, and Frank hung his head and said “Let’s don’t talk about that.”

Q. Did Frank tell you what happened at his conference with Lee?—A. No. He said he tried to get something out of Lee, but couldn’t.

Asked Lee About Clock.

Q. Do you remember Frank ever asking Lee anything about the clock slip?—A. Yes, it was in Chief Lanford’s office. Frank asked Lee about a skip on the record from 9:30 to 10:25. Lee said that he punched the clock regularly and Frank remarked that [1 word illegible] looked mighty peculiar.

Q. Tell us if this shirt was found [2 words illegible] back yard?—A. Yes.

Q. When you first saw the shirt was it very bloody?—A. Yes, it was very bloody on the right shoulder. The shirt looked as though it had been freshly washed, but not ironed. The blood spots looked fresh. Fred Bullard and Black said they found the shirt in a rag barrel in Lee’s back yard. The shirt looked as though it might not have been worn since being washed.

Couldn’t Explain Spots.

Q. Was the shirt torn?—A. We tore a piece out of the shirt and showed it to Lee and he said he had a shirt with a flower design on it like this piece. We showed him the shirt then and he said at first that he thought it might be his shirt, although he had not seen it for two years. He said he did not know how the blood spots got on it. After looking at the shirt again he said he did not believe it was his shirt.

Q. What size shirt was it?—A. We could not tell.

Q. Have you any definite clew as to who committed this murder?—A. I would not care to commit myself that far.

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Atlanta Georgian, May 8th 1913, “Pinkerton Detective Tells of Call From Factory Head,” Leo Frank case newspaper article series (Original PDF)