Sister’s New Story Likely to Clear Gantt as Suspect

Sister's New Story May Clear Gantt

A photographic study of the victim in the strangling mystery showing the sad expression in her eyes. Another picture of the Phagan girl in a studious pose. The child was strikingly pretty and the pictures here shown are from photographs prized by grief-stricken relatives in Marietta. Mary Phagan and her young aunt, Mattie Phagan, who was one of the girl’s best friends and is heart-broken over the tragedy.

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

Atlanta Georgian

Wednesday, April 30th, 1913

F. C. Terrell, 284 East Linden Avenue, told a Georgian reporter to-day that his wife had declared to him that she did not tell the truth to the detectives and Georgian reporters to whom she had said that she did not know where J. M. Gantt, accused of the murder of pretty Mary Phagan, was on Saturday night.

When seen soon after the discovery of the deed, Mrs. Terrell stated that Gantt, who is her half brother, had left her home where he had been for the past seven years, three weeks ago, presumably to go to California and that she had not seen him since.

“Most certainly he was in his room here Saturday night,” declared Mrs. Terrell to a Georgian reporter to-day. “He came in at 11 o’clock.”

“Slept With Me.”

“I ate breakfast with Mr. Gantt Sunday morning,” said a young woman, an inmate of the Terrell home.

“Yes,” said little Willie Terrell, “Mr. Gantt slept with me Saturday night. And I had to wake up at 4 o’clock to get my little brother up to carry my papers and Mr. Gantt was still in bed.”

“No, I had not seen Gantt for three weeks,” declared F. C. Terrell, brother-in-law of the accused. A moment later, Mr. Terrell said that Gantt had been back in town for four or five days and that he was certainly in his house Saturday night.

“I heard my wife get up and let him in at 11 o’clock,” declared Terrell.

A Georgian reporter called at the Terrell residence to find that Mrs. Terrell was in a state approaching a nervous collapse and much excited in her manner. She was vehement in her declaration that Gantt was in bed at 11 o’clock Saturday night.

In a few moments her husband, who is engineer at the Forsyth Building came in, and before seeing his wife was interviewed by a reporter.

Strange Contradictions.

“Yes,” said he, “Gantt had been gone three weeks and I hadn’t seen anything of him. He was a quiet fellow in his habits, always came home early at nights and we were surprised to hear that he is suspected of this crime.

“The first I heard of it was Monday morning when my brother-in-law, J. N. Gantt at Marietta called me up and told me they had arrested Gantt.”

“But did you not just say that the detectives were here at your house Sunday afternoon and had questioned your wife as to Gantt’s whereabouts,” asked the reporter.

“Yes,” was the reply, “but my wife did not tell me anything about the detectives being out here.

“You see my wife has not been well for a long time and she was very nervous and scared and she did not want the detectives fooling around here and she told them a story to keep them from coming again. She admitted to me that she had falsified to them.

“I heard my wife get up at 11 o’clock and let some one in, and she told me it was Gantt.”

“I thought you said that Gantt had left here three weeks ago and that you did not know anything about him,” volunteered the reporter.

Sure He Came In.

“Oh, no! He had been back here four or five days. He started to California, to Los Angeles, to take a position, but didn’t get any further than Memphis. He ran into the floods out there, got tied up and decided to come back.

“Yes, I am sure my wife got up and let him in; I was awake at the time. And I saw him Sunday morning too.”

Mr. Terrell declared that he had just left the police station where he had seen and talked with Gantt.

“He’s just as cool as a cucumber,” said Mr. Terrell, “and he laughs at the idea of his being accused of the murder. He is just as confident of being cleared as if it was already decided.”

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Atlanta Georgian, April 30th 1913, “Sister’s New Story Likely to Clear Gantt as Suspect,” Leo Frank case newspaper article series (Original PDF)