Numerous Witnesses Called in Frank Case

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

Atlanta Constitution
July 29th, 1913

List Indicates That Prisoner Is Prepared to Put Character in Evidence.

Numbers of witnesses were summoned to court by both sides and when the names were called so that all could be sworn it developed that scores of Leo Frank’s friends had been called upon. From the fact that there is not a possibility of one in this number knowing anything of the crime, it appears that the defense has made preparation, at least, to put Frank’s character in evidence and has secured these of his friends to testify for him.

Of the number of Frank’s close friends and brothers in his fraternal order it is expected that several will be used to support the claim which it is expected will be made that a card party was going on at his house on the night of April 26. By this means an alibi for a number of hours might be proved.

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Mincey, on Arrival Reaffirms Affidavit

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

Atlanta Constitution
July 29th, 1913

W. H. Mincey, who made the famous affidavit in which he declared that Jim Conley had told him on April 26 that he had killed a girl, arrived late last night for the Frank trial.

In a statement made to The Constitution, Mr. Mincey reaffirmed his affidavit in its entirety and declared that he would tell this story on the witness stand. He was accompanied by Colonel Ben E. Neal, of Ringgold, Ga., a lawyer who has known him for years and who states that he will testify as to Mincey’s [rest of article cut off].

Burglars Try to Enter Home of Frank Juror

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

Atlanta Constitution
July 29th, 1913

But F. V. L. Smith’s Wife Calls Police and Intruders Flee.

Two big, burly, black negroes who evidently had taken a decided interest in the Frand [sic] murder trial, and knew that F. V. L. Smith, of 481 Cherokee avenue, had been chosen for the jury yesterday and would not be home last night, attempted to enter his home.

No one was there but Mrs. Smith and her little 4-weeks’ old child. Seeing the negroes on the porch, she made a step toward them, and they fled. Within a few minutes they returned, and instead of fainting as most women would have done, she coolly walked to the phone and called the police station.

Call Officer Shumate answered the ring, and with his partner, Officer Cochran, the two made the trip to record-breaking time, getting out there in four minutes by the clock, but the burglars were gone.

Trial of Leo M. Frank on Charge of Murder Begins; Mrs. Coleman, George Epps and Newt Lee on Stand

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

Atlanta Constitution
July 29th, 1913

WATCHMAN TELLS OF FINDING BODY OF MARY PHAGAN

Trial Adjourns for the Day While Lee Is on the Stand, and His Cross-Questioning Will Be Resumed Today.

MOTHER AND THE WIFE OF PRISONER CHEER HIM BY PRESENCE AT TRIAL

Jury Is Quickly Secured and Mrs. Coleman, Mother of the Murdered Girl, Is First Witness to Take Stand.

With a swiftness which was gratifying to counsel for the defense, the solicitor general and a large crowd of interested spectators, the trial of Leo M. Frank, charged with the murder of Mary Phagan on April 26, in the building of the National Pencil factory, was gotten under way Monday.

When the hour of adjournment for the day had arrived, the jury had been selected and three witnesses had been examined. Newt Lee, the nightwatchman who discovered the dead body of Mary Phagan in the basement of the National Pencil factory, and who gave the first news of the crime to the police, was still on the stand, undergoing rigid cross-examination by Luther Z. Rosser, attorney for Frank.

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Jurors in Leo M. Frank Case Must Answer Four Questions

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

Atlanta Constitution
July 28th, 1913

Chief interest in the case of Leo M. Frank, which is scheduled to begin today, centers in the selection of a jury, the first 144 veniremen, having been drawn last Thursday and published in The Constitution on Sunday.

It seems to be the general opinion that this panel will be exhausted and others summoned before a jury is secured. Attorneys for both sides are of the opinion that it will take about a day to select a jury, which would let the hearing of evidence begin on Tuesday, or on Wednesday, if it should happen that the task becomes so difficult as to consume two days.

Many Are Disqualified.

Owing to the universal interest in the developments growing out of the murder of little Mary Phagan in the National Pencil factory, many men have disqualified themselves from serving on the jury through an expression of their opinion as to the guilt or innocence of the prisoner at the bar today.

The veniremen who will appear in court this morning will be asked to answer four questions, prescribed by the code of Georgia as follows:

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Leo Frank’s Trial on Murder Charge Booked for Today

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

Atlanta Constitution
July 28th, 1913

Judge L. S. Roan Announces That He Will Call Case at Nine O’Clock This Morning.

LAWYERS BELIEVE JURY WILL BE NAMED IN DAY

Legal Representatives Take Good Rest on Sunday in Preparation for Struggle That Begins Today.

After weeks of preparation by some of the most skilled legal minds in the state and after every point in the affair that has been made public has been discussed and threshed out by thousands of citizens, the case of the state v. Leo M. Frank, charged with the murder of little Mary Phagan, will be called at 9 o’clock today.

Event after event has followed in rapid succession since the morning of April 27, when Atlanta arose to wend its way to church and read of the finding by police of the little girl’s dead body in the basement of the National Pencil company, on South Forsyth street. Newt Lee, the negro night watchman, who called the police, was arrested, and is still held. J. M. Gantt and Arthur Mullinax, two white employees, were then arrested, and afterwards freed. Then the young factory superintendent was taken into custody.

Then Conley’s Affidavit.

Then came the arrest of James Conley, negro sweeper, who stayed in jail apparently unheeded until he burst forth with his sensational affidavits against the superintendent.

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Additional Newspaper Transcriptions

Several Atlanta Constitution newspaper articles were unavailable a few weeks ago for transcription and were skipped over in the postings. Original copies of the newspapers were used to transcribe these missing Leo Frank case articles. As the postings on this website are, for the most part, in chronological order from the date of the murder, the Constitution articles were backdated and published where they would have been otherwise, in older posts. The dates of these articles run from July 23rd to July 26th of the Atlanta Constitution.

All in Readiness for Frank’s Trial Monday Morning

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

Atlanta Constitution
July 27th, 1913

Greatest Legal Battle in the History of Dixie Is the Prediction of Atlanta Attorneys

ATTORNEYS FOR STATE HOLD FINAL CONFERENCE

Representatives of Leo Frank Still Non-Committal About Report That Postponement May Be Asked

Practically every detail for the trial of Leo M. Frank has now been completed and with the state declaring its readiness and determination to go to trial and the defense maintaining its same silence in regard to the much mooted matter of postponement every thing awaits the calling of the case at 9 o’clock Monday morning in the criminal branch of superior court before Judge L. S. Roan.

In far more than one was the trial of the young factory superintendent for the murder on April 26 of Mary Phagan an employee, is expected to exceed any criminal trial in the south.

Extensive preparations have been made by both the state and the defense since Frank was bound over by the coroner’s jury on May 8 and since then the lines of the two armies which will fight the legal battle to determine his fate have been gradually thrown out and maneuvering has been going on for advantageous points.

Greatest Legal Battle.

When the clash actually comes in the court room Atlanta attorneys freely predict that the greatest legal battle of southern history will be seen.

Solicitor Hugh M. Dorsey held a final conference Saturday afternoon with those who have been aiding him. Assistant Solicitor E. A. Stephens and Attorney Frank A. Hooper who will aid in the legal fight, were present, and also Detectives Pat Campbell and John N. Starnes who have been practically attached to the solicitors office during the preparation.

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Frank’s Lawyers Ready for Trial

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

Atlanta Constitution
July 26th, 1913

They Have Started Summoning Witnesses and Are Quoted as Having Agreed to Go to Trial.

That Attorneys Reuben R. Arnold and Luther Z. Rosser, representing Leo M. Frank, charged with the Mary Phagan murder, have decided to go to trial Monday when the case is called was information made public Friday from an apparently reliable source. Coupled with this, and apparently making the trial doubly sure, is the news that the defense has started summoning its witnesses and making final preparations for the actual trial.

Solicitor Hugh M. Dorsey reiterated Friday his statement in regard to the stand the state has taken and declared that he would oppose every move for continuance, unless there should prove an extraordinary reason for putting it off.

Judge L. S. Roan who will conduct the trial and who was slightly ill Thursday, had apparently recovered Friday and expects to call the case Monday morning should nothing unusual happen.

Despite the fact that the attorneys for the defense still maintain a blank silence in regard to their position and decline to say whether or not they will ask for a postponement, the impression has got out that they have agreed to having the trial come off.

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Try to Corroborate Story Told by Conley

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

Atlanta Constitution
July 25th, 1913

Negro Is Taken in Chief’s Auto to Sections He Claims to Have Visited on Murder Night.

Jim Conley, the negro sweeper and most important figure in the Phagan case, was taken from police headquarters in the automobile of Chief Beavers yesterday afternoon and carried over the ground on which he accounts for his whereabouts during the afternoon of the murder.

He was in charge of Chief Beavers and Detectives Pat Campbell and John Starnes, headquarters men who have been attached to the solicitor’s office throughout the investigation.

He was driven through the Peters street neighborhood in which he says he spent most of the time on the afternoon of April 26, and he pointed out to the detectives and police head familiar spots he visited on that date.

An effort was also made to determine definitely whether or not W. H. Mincey, the insurance agent who says Conley admitted having killed a girl when they met at Carter and Electric streets on the murder afternoon, could have seen the negro at the designated spot.

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Work on Phagan Case Brings Promotion to Pinkerton Man

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

Atlanta Constitution
July 25th, 1913

As a reward for his success in the Phagan mystery, Detective Harry Scott, assistant superintendent of the Atlanta Pinkerton offices, has been promoted to the superintendency of the Houston, Texas branch, to which he goes immediately following the close of the Frank trial.

Scott’s work has been declared to have been the most successful in the entire Phagan investigation. It was a result of his efforts that the famous Jim Conley confession was obtained, in which admission the negro acknowledged complicity and accused Leo Frank of the actual murder.

The search was at Scott’s direction, which revealed the Phagan pay envelope and the bloody club found in the factory building. He engineered the third degree against Conley, and, assisted by John Black, of police headquarters, procured the evidence which exacted the negro’s confession.

Scott has been attached to the Atlanta offices for two years. He came from the Philadelphia headquarters, where he was assistant superintendent of the Pennsylvania branch. He is married, and is only 27 years old. His experience dates back for seven years, at the beginning of which time he left college for service with the Pinkerton forces.

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Chiefs Will Probe Removal of Conley

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

Atlanta Constitution
July 25th, 1913

Negro Was Taken to Tower Without Knowledge of Beavers or Lanford.

Action is likely to be taken against Detective John Starnes and Pat Campbell, who Wednesday afternoon carried Jim Conley, the negro in the Phagan case, from police headquarters to the Tower without permission of either Chief Beavers or Chief Lanford.

When asked by a Constitution reporter Thursday afternoon what steps he would probably take against the detectives, Chief Beavers declined to talk. He inferred, however, that an investigation would likely result and that action would be taken.

Conley was taken from the station house prison shortly before noon Wednesday without the knowledge, it is said, of even Desk Sergeant Arch Holcombe. He was taken to the Tower for a four-hour examination in the cell of Newt Lee, which examination was promoted by Solicitor General Dorsey and his associate, Frank Hooper.

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Veniremen Drawn for Frank Trial

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

Atlanta Constitution
July 25th, 1913

One Hundred and Forty-Four Names Drawn From Jury Box—No Effort So Far at Postponement.

The veniremen from which it is expected to choose the jury for the trial Monday of Leo M. Frank, charged with the Mary Phagan murder, was drawn yesterday afternoon by Judge John T. Pendleton, at the request of Judge L. S. Roan, who returned from Covington, Ga., slightly ill.

The names of 144 men were drawn from the petit jury box, and as far as is known no actual attempt was made to have them drawn from the grand jury box, as the attorneys for Frank originally desired.

For the past week the rumor has gone the rounds that Attorneys Reuben R. Arnold and L. Z. Rosser, for the defense, would move to postpone the trial. They have so far made no statement in regard to this matter, and decline to assert whether they will endeavor to secure a postponement or not.

Solicitor Hugh M. Dorsey declared in most emphatic terms Thursday that he was ready for trial and would exert every effort to prevent a delay. Judge Roan, who was seen at his apartments at 15 East Merritts avenue, declared that he expected to be well again today, as he had merely suffered an attack of indigestion.

He stated that he expected to be able to preside, and would call the case Monday morning, on the date set. Judge Roan has been on the bench for over ten years, and has a record of never having missed a day from his duties as judge, and also of never having failed to open court on the minute.

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Phagan Mystery Club Examined by Experts

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

Atlanta Constitution
July 24th, 1913

Report Says That It Has Been Sent to Northern City to Be Put Under Microscope.

That the bloody club found in the National Pencil factory after the murder of Mary Phagan is in some northern city undergoing microscopic examination after having been inspected by local experts, is a rumor that prevailed at police headquarters yesterday.

Upon being examined by an Atlanta expert, who, it is said, declared that it would be impossible to determine whether or not the blood spots were from animal or human, the weapon was sent north for more minute examination. Frank’s lawyers will not discuss the rumor.

There are a number of blood spots on one end of the stick. It is several inches in length and more than an inch in diameter. It is round and the same size of the regulation rolling pin used to move heavy boxes and objects. The spots are dim and barely discernible.

Chief Lanford, in discussing the discover, said that the Pinkertons, in finding the club and turning it over to attorneys for the defense, had violated their pact with the police department, as the find had never been made known to anyone at headquarters until word of it was published Tuesday.

The report of a bloody glove, apparently having been worn by a young girl, having been found in the pencil factory, was also in circulation Wednesday.

Conley and Lee Meet in Tower

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

Atlanta Constitution
July 24th, 1913

For First Time Since Mary Phagan Was Killed Two Negroes Are Brought Face to Face.

James Conley, a sweeper at the National Pencil factory, and Newt Lee, night watchman, who carried the police to where Mary Phagan’s body lay on the morning of April 27, were brought face to face yesterday afternoon in the tower by Solicitor Hugh M. Dorsey and Frank A. Hooper, an attorney who is aiding the solicitor.

J. M. Gantt was taken there by the attorneys, as he knew Conley while both were working for the pencil factory. Attorney Hooper stated after that nothing of importance was gained by the meeting of the ntwo negroes, except that Conley declared at the meeting that Lee had nothing to do with the crime.

The negroes were questioned together for about two hours, and then Conley was taken back to police station. The entire story of each one was gone over thoroughly by the attorneys, who wished to see if they would stick to what they told at first.

Frank and State Ready.

The state, through Solicitor General Hugh M. Dorsey, has declared its readiness to go on with the trial of Leo M. Frank, charged with the murder of Mary Phagan, on next Monday, the date set by Judge L. S. Roan, and as Frank himself asserted to Sheriff C. W. Mangum in the Tower yesterday that he was ready and anxious for the trial to proceed, it appears that no postponement will be asked.

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Bloody Club Lends New Clue to Mystery

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

Atlanta Constitution
July 23rd, 1913

Defense of Leo Frank Attaches Importance to Find Made by Pinkerton Detectives.

The discovery of a bloody bludgeon on the third floor of the National Pencil factory has added greater mystery to the Phagan case. It became known yesterday that Leo Frank’s defense is in possession of the weapon and that it will be used as one of their strongest points in the coming trial.

The club is a short, thick stick with small spots of blood at the end. It was found by Pinkerton detectives on May 10 after headquarters detectives had searched every spot of the building for available clues. Luther Rosser, Frank’s counsel, refuses to discuss the find.

The club was discovered only a few feet from the spot at which the pay envelope was found. That it is a prized possession of the defense is indicated by the secrecy with which it had been guarded. Its discovery has created theories pointing strongly to the negro Conley, and it is rumored that the defense will strive to convince the jury that the girl was slain by the club in hands of the negro sweeper.

Give Right of Way to Case of Frank

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

Atlanta Constitution
July 23rd, 1913

Attorneys for Relatives in the Crawford Will Hearing Are Willing to Yield Their Claim of Priority.

The conflict between the dates of hearing the litigation over the $250,000 estate of the late Joshua B. Crawford, and the trial of Leo M. Frank, charged with the Mary Phagan murder, may cause a postponement of the Frank trial, as Attorneys Reuben R. Arnold and Luther Z. Rosser are connected with both cases.

The Crawford hearing will be renewed today and by right of priority takes precedence over the other trial. It is expected, however, than an arrangement will be made whereby Attorneys Burton Smith and P. H. Brewster, representing Mrs. Mary Belle Crawford, the defendant, will continue the case and Attorneys Arnold and Rosser, also on the side of the defendant, will devote their time to the defense of Frank.

Crawford Attorneys Willing.

Attorneys J. S. James and Albert Kemper, representing the plaintiffs in the Crawford case, stated that under no circumstances did they wish to put off the Frank trial and that as far as their side was concerned the Crawford hearing might be postponed until the criminal case was disposed of.

Judge L. S. Roan, who is to preside over the trial of Frank, has stated that he would call the case Monday, but Attorney Arnold had declared that he wants the question of whether or not it is to be heard settled before the jurymen are summoned and a hearing in regard to that is expected this week.

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Prison System of Georgia Attacked by Episcopalians

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

The Atlanta Constitution

Sunday, July 20, 1913

The Episcopalian diocese of Georgia, at its annual convention, appointed a social service commission, which has since met and formulated the following special report on prison and child labor conditions in this state.

“Resolved, That the prison system of the state of Georgia, and the methods of punishment now in use and as commonly administered, are unworthy of an enlightened and progressive state.

“Resolved, That we hereby indorse the splendid efforts of the Prison Reform association of this state, and offer to them our hearty co-operation in securing needed reforms.

“Resolved, That we send copies of these resolutions to as many members of our legislature as possible, and urge them to support those bills now pending which bear on the subject of prison reform in the state of Georgia and which are advocated by the prison association.

“Resolved, That we also urge upon our representatives their support of the child labor bill, advocated and indorsed by the National Child Labor association.”

Copies of these resolutions are being mailed to the legislators, and many of them have already expressed themselves strongly in favor of the measures reerred [sic] to. The three general prison reform measures have already been recommended for passage by the house committee. They are the bill to legalize the suspension of sentence and appoint probation officers; the bill to establish a home for wayward girls; the bill providing for jail inspections and enlarging the powers and responsibilities of the prison commission.

The chairman of the commission which formulated the above report is Rev. G.S. Whitney, of Augusta. The commission is authorized to represent the Episcopal church in the southeastern section of the state in all esforts [sic] for social betterment. It represents some 5,000 communicants or about 7,500 baptized members of the Episcopal church residing in the southeastern half of the state of Georgia.

Colonel G.A. Gordon and Miss Helen Pendleton, of Savannah, are among the prominent members of the commission.

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The Atlanta Constitution, July 20th 1913, “Prison System of Georgia Attacked by Episcopalians,” Leo Frank case newspaper article series (Original PDF)

Grim Justice Pursues Mary Phagan’s Slayer

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

The Atlanta Constitution

Sunday, July 20, 1913

As Famous Murder Case Nears Trial the Public Mind Again Reverts to the Discovery of the Crime; and Again the Great Question Comes Up:

“What Happened in the Pencil Factory Between Noon Saturday and 3:15 Sunday Morning?”

By Britt Craig.

Automobile in which detectives and newspaper men went to the scene of the murder. In the machine are Detective Starnes, Harry Scott, W. W. (Boots) Rogers and John Black.

There are things that happen right before our eyes that defy the pen of a god to describe. The mind of a master would find itself lamentably incompetent, and the words of a Demosthenes would become panic-stricken in the attempt.

One of these was the night Mary Phagan’s body was found. It was a night as dramatic as the fury of a queen and poignant as her sorrow. It wrote the first thrilling chapter of Atlanta’s greatest criminal case, and it will live forever in the minds of those who knew it.

This story is no effort at description, because description is impossible. It is just a plain, ordinary story of the happenings that night when Newt Lee went down into the basement to wash his hands and emerged, overcome with fear, the discoverer of a crime that put an entire state in mourning.

A week from tomorrow, Leo Frank, manager of the pencil factory, where Mary Phagan’s body was found, will be placed on trial charged with the murder of the young girl, and interest in this mysterious crime again goes back to the night when Newt Lee startled police headquarters with news of his grewsome find.

Finding the Body.

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Mrs. Nina Formby Will Not Return for Trial

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

The Atlanta Constitution

Sunday, July 20, 1913

Woman Swore That Leo M. Frank Tried to Engage Room on Night of Murder

Mrs. Nina Formby, who signed an affidavit in the Frank case in which she swore the superintendent has endeavored to engage a room at her house, 400 Piedmont avenue, during the Phagan murder night to which he might bring a girl has fled to Chattanooga and will not appear at the coming trial on July 28. This announcement was made to a Constitution reporter last night by the woman’s legal representative, John Gossett. Gossett states that she is fearful of facing cross examination on some phases of her story.

A letter has been placed on file in Gossett’s office in which the Formby woman asks for a continuance of a trial in which she will be arraigned before a justice court. August or September are the months to which she asks the case be put. The letter says that she will not be in Atlanta until that time. She has obtained a position in the Tennessee city, she says, and intends making Chattanooga her future home.

At first it was intimated that the state would put credence in the affidavit, but on account of the woman’s character it was later considered of but little value.

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The Atlanta Constitution, July 20th 1913, “Mrs. Nina Formby Will Not Return for Trial,” Leo Frank case newspaper article series (Original PDF)