Pinkerton Men Brand Lanford Charges False

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

Atlanta Georgian (Hearst’s Sunday American)
July 27th, 1913

Emphatic denial of the charges by Chief of Detectives Lanford that he had kept bad faith with the city department in connection with the investigation of the murder of Mary Phagan was made by H. B. Pierce, superintendent of the Pinkerton Detective Agency in Atlanta, Saturday night.

Chief Lanford’s accusations against the Pinkerton official were mainly that he had withheld evidence from the city police, especially the bloodstained stick and the pay envelope of the Phagan girl, both of which were found by Pinkerton operatives on the first floor of the factory and were later reported in possession of the defense. The Chief intimated that the Police Board would be asked to take action against Pierce personally.

“The stick was submitted to Chief Lanford by myself,” declared Mr. Pierce. “The Mary Phagan pay envelope was shown him by our representative, Harry Scott.

Scoffs Stick Story.

“When I displayed the stick to Mr. Lanford, he informed me that it could not have been found in the place it was reported found, as a minute search of every bit of the three floors in the factory already had been inspected by two of the city detectives, in company with Mr. Scott. Under this information, we cast the stick aside and did not regard it as evidence and thought nothing else about it until I read about it in the newspapers—I think, Thursday.

“The stick was turned over to Mr. Rosser. When I learned a day or two ago that Mr. Dorsey had not heard of it, I went to Mr. Rosser’s office, obtained the stick, and took it to Mr. Dorsey. Mr. Dorsey, I understand, does not think much of the stick as evidence, and neither does Mr. Rosser.

“As to it being planted evidence, I desire to say that I believe Mr. Rosser to be entirely too honorable to have been connected with the planting of evidence, while I also hold the same opinion of Mr. Dorsey.

“Inasmuch as two city detectives and Mr. Scott had made a minute investigation of the factory before the time of the reported finding of the stick, I do not regard the stick highly as evidence.

Scott Has Been Fair.”

“The policy of the Pinkerton Agency is to be fair and impartial in its investigations. Mr. Scott has been absolutely in charge of this investigation, and I think the least that could be said is that he has been absolutely fair with the police, Solicitor General and the National Pencil Company people in his work upon it.”

Mr. Scott was with Mr. Pierce at the time of the interview. He said he did not remember hearing the conversations between Chief Lanford and Pierce regarding the stick.

“I submitted the pay envelope to Chief Lanford, though,” he said. “He asked me for it, and I said that I preferred to keep it. The Police Department has been advised of everything we have developed in the case, while the same is true of the Solicitor General and Mr. Rosser.”