Pinkertons Now Declare Leo M. Frank Is Innocent

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

The Atlanta Journal

Friday, July 18, 1913

*Editor’s Note: Small sections of text are missing due to scanning near a crease.


Harry Scott, Field Chief of the Pinkertons, Refuses to Discuss the Agency’s Change of Theory.


The Pinkertons Were Employed by the National Pencil Factory Immediately Following the Murder

That the Pikerton [sic] detectives, who for so many weeks held to the theory that Leo M. Frank is guilty of the Mary Phagan murder, now lay the crime to the door of Jim Conley, is a recent development of interest to the students of the murder mystery.

While Harry Scott, the field chief of the Pinkerton operatives, who have been working on the case practically from the first, employed by the National pencil factory to find Mary Phagan’s murderer, regardless of who the criminal might be, refuses to discuss the case, the Journal has learned from unquestioned authority that the theory of the Pinkertons has undergone a change.

The Pinkertons, while not admitted to many of the later conferences, which the solicitor has held with the city detectives, are said to be in possession of practically every point of importance in the state’s case.

Scott, who was [sic] worked on the case with John Black, one of the best of the city detectives, was present at the time Jim Conley made his three most startling confessions of complicity in the murder, and he […] the negro Conley’s manner of […] connection with the crime, and the strangeness of parts of his story, are said to be more responsible than any thing else for the Pinkerton man’s dropping the theory that Frank is guilty, and taking up the fight against Conley.

While the Pinkerton’s attitude has been known for a number of days to the counsel for the defense and for the attorneys and detectives actively identified with the prosecution, it was only made public Friday.

A significant fact connected with the Pinkerton’s attitude in the case is that Friday morning Scott made an effort to see Conley and give him another grilling, but was denied admission to the negro’s cell.

Scott, after talking with Chief Beavers, said simply that he had been informed that the negro did not want to talk with anyone during the day, and that he (Scott) would probably see him another day.

Scott, working with Detective Black, made a number of attempts during the negro’s admissions of complicity to secure a confession from him, but failed.

While the Pinkertons do not now believe the factory superintendent guilty of the crime, the attitude of the solicitor general and the city detectives in the case has not been changed, and Solicitor Dorsey is making his preparations to go to trial in the case on July the 28th.

He, too, has talked many times with the negro Conley, and the negro’s story has served only to strengthen his theory that Frank is guilty, rather than to shake it like it shook the theory of the Pinkertons.

Luther Z. Rosser and Reuben R. Arnold, attorneys for Frank, are in conference almost daily, and they are expected to be ready to go to trial on Monday week when the case will be called.

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The Atlanta Journal, July 18th 1913, “Pinkertons Now Declare Leo M. Frank Is Innocent,” Leo Frank case newspaper article series (Original PDF)