Startling Testimony of Conley Feature of Trial’s Second Week

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

Atlanta Constitution
August 10th, 1913


The resting by the state of the its case against Leo M. Frank, charged with the murder of Mary Phagan, came on Thursday and the defense is at present setting forth its evidence in rebuttal.

Since last Sunday much that is regarded as important has been introduced by both sides and a number of bitter fights have been waged over evidence.

James Conley, the negro sweeper, who makes accusations that Frank told he had struck the girl too hard, and who also told of Frank’s having women in his office for immoral purposes and also swore to alleged habits of degeneracy on the part of the superintendent, was put on the stand Monday, and it was not until during the middle of the day Wednesday that the negro was excused. He had been on the stand something like fifteen hours and had established a record for Georgia courts.

Of the time he was on the stand, he was subjected to about thirteen hours of gruelling cross-examination by Attorney Luther Z. Rosser, but despite every attack, stuck to the principal part of his charges, although he admitted he had previously lied on many occasions.

On Wednesday, also, the court refused finally to strike from the records the negro’s testimony in regard to Frank’s alleged habits and also in regard to his previous actions with women before the Saturday of the murder.

Mrs. J. W. Coleman, mother of the murdered girl, was also recalled to the stand and told of having cooked cabbage for Dr. H. F. Harris to experiment upon. At her departure the physician was again put on the stand and he continued his statement, in which he declared that the girl met death within about 45 minutes after eating the cabbage and bread she is said to have had about 11:30 o’clock Saturday of the murder.

Dalton’s Evidence Damaging.

On Thursday the state called C. B. Dalton and he swore to having taken Daisy Hopkins to the factory basement with the Frank’s knowledge and also to having seen Frank drinking beer in his office with women on Saturdays.

City Detective Bass Rosser was put on the stand by the state in an effort to prove that Mrs. J. A. White, wife, sister and daughter of National Pencil factory employees, had concealed from the city detectives her knowledge of Conley’s presence in the building on Saturday.

The state then rested its case with the introduction of the murder notes and its plats and drawings and diagrams as evidence.

The defense put Dr. L. W. Childs on the stand as its first witness to rebut what Dr. Harris had said. Dr. Childs declared that statements like those made by the other physician were pure guess work and that he would not make them. On cross-examination the solicitor made him admit ignorance on certain subjects for an expert, which partly destroyed the value of his testimony for the defense.

Harry Scott, a Pinkerton detective originally called by the state, was recalled by the defense and through him the many lies told by Jim Conley about the case were shown to the jury.

On Friday Daisy Hopkins was called by the defense and she entered a complete denial of the charges made against her by Dalton and Conley. Solicitor Dorsey forced her to admit that she had been in jail, on the charges of immorality.

Several strong witnesses for the defense were called after that when, through Ira U. Kauffman, a civil engineer, and J. Q. Adams, a photographer, the defense showed that it would have been impossible for Albert McKnight, husband of the cook in Frank’s family, to have stood in the kitchen door and seen that Frank did not eat dinner on April 26.

Through these two witnesses much detailed explanation of the factory was entered into. Plats and drawings by the engineer of both the factory and the Selig home and surroundings were tendered in evidence and the photographs made by the photographer which showed that Frank might have been in his office and not been able to see a person on account of the safe door was also brought in.

Testimony of Street Car Men.

W. M. Mathews and W. T. Hollis, street car men, with whom Mary Phagan rode to town on Saturday, were called to refute the story of little George Epps that he came with her and also to show that the girl could not have reached the factory until after 12:10, at which time the state contends she had already been killed.

H. J. Hinchey, an automobile man, was called and testified to having seen Frank going home on the car on the day of the murder and that there was nothing out of the ordinary about him.

E. F. Holloway, day watchman, and N. V. Darley, one of the factory superintendents, were also placed on the stand by the defense on Friday. Darley made a good witness for Frank, but Holloway became so confused under the solicitor’s cross-examination that he amounted to but little value.

On Saturday the defense introduced a strong witness in H. Schiff, Frank’s assistant, who told of Frank having always made out the financial sheet and of what intricate piece of work it was. He also declared that there was no truth in the stories told by Dalton and the negro Conley.

Through J. M. Minar, a reporter, the defense also attacked the story of little George Epps. Minar declared that on April 27 he had visited the Epps home in Bellwood and asked Epps and his sister when they had last seen Mary Phagan and that the sister had said she had last seen her on the previous Thursday, and that the little boy said nothing about having ridden to town on Saturday with her.

When court adjourned for the week, Schiff, the most important witness of the day, was being cross-examined by the solicitor.

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Atlanta Constitution, August 10th 1913, “Startling Testimony of Conley Feature of Trial’s Second Week,” Leo Frank case newspaper article series (Original PDF)