Public Now Knows All Facts in Murder Case, Say Detectives

Public Now Knows All Facts in Murder Case, Say Detectives

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

Atlanta Journal

Saturday, May 10th, 1913

Pinkertons Declare the State Has No Evidence of Importance That Hasn’t Been Given to the Newspapers


Chief Lanford Believes He Is One of Sheriff’s Capable Deputies—Gantt Questioned, Newt Lee Has Lawyer

The probe into the mystery of little Mary Phagan’s death two weeks ago still goes on.

The small army of professional, amateur, city, state and private detectives which took up the chase of the murderer soon after the horrible details of the crime became known still pursues the investigation with unabated vigor.

Solicitor Dorsey’s detective, heralded as the best in the world and admitted by the solicitor to be an A-1man, remains a mystery. Mr. Dorsey refuses to divulge his identity, and even the attaches of his office profess not to know his name.

N. A. Lanford, chief of the city detectives, who has known not even a twelve-hour working day law since the crime was discovered, and who has been vigorously following every tangible “lead,” treats the entry of Mr. Dorsey’s sleuth into the limelight very lightly, and expresses an opinion that the mysterious man is no other than a very conscientious and efficient young deputy in the solicitor’s office.


Officials of the Pinkerton agency, which has been employed to ferret out the mystery by the National Pencil company, declare that they are well satisfied with the progress made, and add that the public is now in possession of practically all of the really important points in the state’s case. They regard as highly important the testimony of Miss Monteen Stover.

The Pinkertons state that the identity of the mysterious detective who has been brought into the case by Solicitor Dorsey, is not known to them.

“We welcome any assistance which the alleged detectives can give the state, for we are only interested in seeing the mystery cleared and the guilty party brought to trial. However, working with the city department, and giving it the benefit of everything we learn, we have done all that is humanly possible for detectives to do, and we are continuing the probe with the intention of leaving no stone unturned.”

Solicitor Dorsey on Saturday again gave practically his entire time to the Phagan investigation, and interviewed during the morning many of the city detectives, who are working on the case.


Among the witnesses whom he saw Saturday was J. M. Gantt, who for a few days was held by the detectives in connection with the case. Gantt, it is said, made a statement relative to the nervousness of Superintendent L. M. Frank when he met Gantt at the door of the factory Saturday afternoon two weeks ago.

Newt Lee, the negro ordered held by the coroner’s jury, stated to Deputy Plennie Minor Saturday that in future he would refuse to talk to anyone except his attorney. The negro didn’t remember his lawyer’s name, but it was later learned that he is being represented by Attorney Bernard L. Chappelear, of 609 Temple court building. Attorney Murray Donnell, who was first reported to be counsel for the incarcerated negro, states that the report is a mistake.

As the result of the Phagan investigation it is probable that the city council will be asked to allow the city detectives money for reasonable expenses incurred in their investigations.

The city detectives, who are working sixteen hours a day on the case and who have been at the grueling work steadily for two weeks, have incurred considerable expense, which must come from their own pockets since they are allowed nothing but car fare by the city.


Monteen Stover, a fourteen-year-old girl of 171 South Forsyth street, has made an affidavit declaring that she went to the office of Superintendent L. M. Frank, of the National Pencil factory, at 12:05 o’clock on last Memorial day, and remained there until 12:10 o’clock without seeing any person in the building.

The young girl, who is a former employee of the factory, is regarded as one of the state’s most important witnesses, and her testimony will be used to help strengthen the state’s case, when the Phagan murder mystery is investigated by the grand jury.

Mr. Frank testified at the inquest that he remained in his office from the time the stenographer, Miss Hall, left as the noon whistles blew until the arrival of Lemmie Quinn at 12:25 o’clock.

He also declared that Mary Phagan entered the office about 5 minutes after 12 o’clock, the time Miss Stover says that she came to the office and found it empty.

According to Miss Stover she walked up the steps at 12:05, and looked at the clock, which she was accustomed to punch, and went straight to the office. There was no one in the outer office, so she went to Mr. Frank’s private office and found it empty. She waited for five minutes, she says, and having heard no one in the building, left.

The detectives found this witness last Saturday when she returned to the factory to get the pay envelope, which she failed to get on her trip to the factory the week before.

She was with her mother on this second trip and they told of the former visit, when the officers, who were stationed at the door of the factory, stopped them.

Miss Stover is a daughter of Mrs. Homer Edmondson, a boarding house keeper, and she is now employed as salesgirl at a local store. She worked at the pencil factory for about a year, she says.

The solicitor has another unpublished affidavit in his office, which is of doubtful value in the case.


A woman pedestrian, whose name Mr. Dorsey has not made public, testifies that she passed the pencil factory about 4:30 o’clock on Saturday, April 26. Then she was attracted, it is said, by several shrill screams, which came apparently from the basement of the building. There were three screams in rapid succession, and then they suddenly stopped as if the crier had been choked.

This witness has been known to the police since Monday following the tragedy, for then she reported the occurrence to the officials. This is in conflict with the theory of the detectives that the girl met her death shortly afternoon Saturday.


According to Shelby Smith, chairman of the Fulton county board of commissioners, that body and not Solicitor Dorsey, is going to pay the bill for the independent investigation of the Phagan murder mystery, which is being conducted by the solicitor general.

Mr. Smith states that more than a week ago the members of the commission agreed to stand the expense of an investigation “in order that Mr. Dorsey might not be hampered in getting to the truth of the matter.”

The commissioners, so Mr. Smith says, have nothing more to do with the case. They simply told Mr. Dorsey to go ahead, and don’t even know who he has employed, according to the chairman.

Mr. Smith will not discuss a pecuniary limit to the cost of the probe, but says that the board expects Mr. Dorsey to be “conservative.”

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Atlanta Journal, May 10th 1913, “Public Now Knows All Facts in Murder Case, Say Detectives,” Leo Frank case newspaper article series (Original PDF)