Bits of Circumstantial Evidence, as Viewed by State, Strands in Rope

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

Atlanta Georgian
August 8th, 1913


They call it a chain that the State has forged, or has tried to forge, to hold Leo Frank to the murder of Mary Phagan.

But isn’t it a rope?

A chain, you know, is as strong as its weakest link. Take one link out, and the chain comes apart.

With a rope, it’s different.

Strand after strand might be cut or broken, and the rope still holds a certain weight. Then might come a time when the cutting of one more strand would cause the rope to break.

The point is, the finished rope will sustain a weight that would instantly snap any one of its several strands.

Bits of Evidence Threads.

And that is what the various bits of circumstantial evidence might better be called—strands or threads.

Edgar Allen Poe, in “The Mystery of Marie Roget,” has nearly exhausted the philosophical phase of accumulative circumstance and its relation to evidence.

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Scott Put Conley’s Story in Strange Light

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

Atlanta Georgian
August 8th, 1913

Harry Scott, of the Pinkerton agency, showed up the “confessions” of Conley in a peculiar light when he was called to the stand by the Frank defense Thursday afternoon.

The detective, questioned by Luther Rosser, told the jury that Conley, when he “had told everything,” when he had accused Frank of the killing and had made himself an accessory after the fact by declaring that he assisted in the disposal of the body; when every motive for holding anything back had been swept away by his third affidavit, still denied to him (Scott) many of the alleged circumstances to which he testified, while he was on the stand the first three days of the week.

It will be the contention of the defense that these many additions to Conley’s tale, inasmuch as all reason for concealing them had passed after Conley had come out with his accusations against Frank and his confession of his own part in the crime, are pure fabrications of the black man’s imagination, as are the other details of his tale.

Scott said that he had grilled and badgered Conley repeatedly about seeing Mary Phagan enter the factory. Even after the negro had made all his incriminating statements, he steadfastly denied seeing the girl victim go up the stairs to the second floor.

Denied He Had Seen Purse.

He denied also to Scott, the detective said, that he ever had seen the girl’s mesh bag or parasol, of that he ever had heard a girl’s scream while he was sitting on the first floor. He told the detectives that he did not see Lemmie Quinn or Monteen Stover enter the factory, although he later declared he had seen them both and so testified on the stand.

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State, Tied by Conley’s Story, Now Must Stand Still Under Hot Fire

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

Atlanta Georgian
August 8th, 1913


As the defense in the Frank case gets under way, it is evident enough, as it has been from the beginning of this case, that there is but one big, tremendously compelling task before it—the annihilation of Conley’s ugly story!

The State climaxed its case thrillingly and with deadly effect in the negro.

He came through the fire of cross-examination, exhaustive and thorough, in remarkably good shape, all things considered. He unfolded a story even more horrible than was anticipated. Certainly, in every conceivable way, he has sought to damage the defendant—even going to the extent of lodging against him another crime than murder!

Through the cross-examination, however, there an an evident vein of deadly purpose upon the part of the defense. Conley was given full limit to go his length. He went it—no disputing that!

The question is, did he go TOO FAR?

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Witnesses Attack Conley Story

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

Atlanta Georgian
August 8th, 1913

Say Mary Phagan Did Not Reach Factory Before 12:10


The vital time element which may serve alone to convict Leo Frank or set him free, entered largely into the evidence presented Friday by the defense at the trial of the factory superintendent. Two witnesses testified that Mary Phagan did not arrive at Broad and Marietta streets the day she was murdered until about 12:071/2 o’clock, the time the English Avenue car on which she rod[e] from home was due there. One witness, W. M. Matthews, motorman on the car, testified that Mary did not get off at Forsyth and Marietta, but continued on the car and rode as far as Broad and Hunter where the car arrives at about 12:10 o’clock, [t]he conductor corroborated Matthews.

This testimony strongly supports the contention of the defense that Mary Phagan did not enter the factory until after 12:10 o’clock and that Monteen Stover, therefore, was in the factory and had left before the Phagan girl ever entered the doors. If the defense succeeds in establishing this, the visit of the Stover girl to the factory will be of tremendous significance because it is in direct conflict with the explicit testimony of James Conley that Mary Phagan entered the factory and supposedly was strangled before the Stover girl went up the stairs. Miss Stover testified that she did not see Frank in his office, but admitted she did not enter the inner office and [t]he defense will try to show Frank could have been writing at his desk and the girl not have seen him.

Seeks to Discredit Epp’s Story.

Arnold Throws Doubt on Epps.

Attorney Arnold, who was conducting the examination during the forenoon, sought aslo [sic], to throw a deep shadow of suspicion upon the story of young George Epp’s, who testified that he rode uptown with Mary Phagan the day she was killed.

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Trial Experts Conflict on Time of Girl’s Death

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

Atlanta Georgian
August 7th, 1913

Here is a sample of the testimony of Dr. Harris, for the State, given Wednesday afternoon, and conflicting evidence given for the defense by Dr. Childs on Thursday:

Dr. Harris said:

“I want to state that the amount of secretive juice in this stomach was considerably less than would have collected in an hour. The hydrochloride acid had not been in long enough to become free. The amount of confined hydrochloric was 32 degrees. In a normal stomach, the amount would have been 55 or 60 degrees. It was just about the amount one would have supposed to have collected in half an hour or 35 to 40 minutes. I can say with absolute certainty that she was unconscious within 30 or 40 minutes after she ate the cabbage.”

Shortly after the defense opened Mr. Arnold held up a sample of cabbage taken from the Phagan girl’s stomach.

Q. Would you hazard a guess that this cabbage had only been in a stomach one half hour before death?—A. I would not.

Q. Why?—A. For the reasons I have stated. The cause of the psychic influences I know not of that might have been brought to bear and because of the varying effects of stomachs on such a substance.

Q. Do you think a doctor could give an accurate scientific opinion by making such a statement?—A. I do not.

* * *

Atlanta Georgian, August 7th 1913, “Trial Experts Conflict on Time of Girl’s Death,” Leo Frank case newspaper article series (Original PDF)

Roan’s Ruling Heavy Blow to Defense

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

Atlanta Georgian
August 7th, 1913

Judge Roan administered a severe blow to the defense Wednesday when he ruled that all of Conley’s story should stand, although portions of it, he acknowledged, would have been inadmissible had objection been made at the time the testimony was offered.

Judge to Rule as Case Proceeds.

It was a particularly difficult allegation to combat. Unlike many allegations, it was exactly as hard to fight in the event it was false as in case it was founded on fact.

Judge Roan said in regard to the testimony of Dalton that he did not know what it was to be and that he would allow it to be presented so that he might rule on its admissibility as it came up.

Solicitor Dorsey put the final rivet in his case so far as it rested upon the testimony of Conley when at the close of his redirect examination of the negro he brought to light the State’s theory of the disposition that had been made of the Phagan girl’s mesh bag.

Practically no mention of the mesh bag had been made during the week and a half of the trial. The only reference made to it was in the examination of Mrs. J. W. Coleman, mother of the slain girl, and of the officers who visited the scene of the crime immediately after police headquarters was called by the negro nightwatchman, Newt Lee.

Tells of Mesh Bag.

Mrs. Coleman testified that Mary left home with the mesh bag in her hand. The detectives and policemen all testified that they were able to find no trace of it either the morning after the crime or in the search that had been conducted since then.

“Did you ever see the murdered girl’s mesh bag?” Dorsey asked Conley, just as it appeared that he had finished his questioning.

“Yes, sah, I see it,” Conley replied.

“Where was it?”
“It was right on Mr. Frank’s desk when I went in there to write the notes.”

“Did you see what became of it?”
“Yes, sah; Mr. Frank went and put it in his safe.”

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Trial as Varied as Vaudeville Exhibition

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

Atlanta Georgian
August 7th, 1913

Every Change in Chromatic Scale Rung—All Georgia Types Seen in Court.

By L. F. Woodruff.

Every change in the chromatic scale has been rung in the Frank trial. With the single exception of the skyrocket oratory that will mark the last stage of the trial, everything that has ever been done in the trial of a criminal case has been enacted in the fight to fix on the superintendent of the National Pencil Factory the guilt of the murder of Mary Phagan.

There has been comedy. There has been tragedy. There has been periods as dull as a hookworm victim. There have been occasions as startling as the feat of a circus daredevil. There have been pathos and performances worthy of a clown. The somber has been mixed with the gay until the entire trial seems the work of a futurist artist who has had a hard night with the drinking cups before he started the painting.

Jim Conley was on the stand something like sixteen hours. His story was a ragtime composition, with the weirdest syncopations, and then came Dr. Harris right on his heels and gave evidence full of soundness and learnedness. To the spectators it seemed that they had just heard “Alexander’s Ragtime Band” played and then a Bach fugue for an encore.

One Simple, Other Complex.

Conley’s story was as simple in words as “Old Black Joe,” while Dr. Harris’ was as complex as a Wagnerian overture.

Jim Conley spoke in terms of the street, of the near-beer saloon, of the blind alley crap game. Dr. Harris spoke in the language of the laboratory and the library.

Jim Conley could not enunciate a word of more than one syllable. Dr. Harris was as polysyllabic as the word “heterogeneous.” And the spectators had to gasp after the shift.

Conley’s story, while it was as full of contradictions as a hive is of bees, was as easy to understand as a baby’s “da-da” is to a fond parent. Dr. Harris evidence was as loaded with medical lore as a physician’s library.

And, although it seems impossible, there is more still to come. Before the trial has ended practically every type that Georgia knows will have been paraded in the courtroom.

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Jim Conley, the Ebony Chevalier of Crime, is Darktown’s Own Hero

This shows the Solicitor in an argument at the Frank trial.

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

Atlanta Georgian
August 7th, 1913

By James B. Nevin

Now that James Conley has been dismissed from the Frank trial, now that he has stood safely the fire of Mr. Rosser’s most exhaustive grilling, what of him?

If Frank is convicted, Conley subsequently will be convicted, no doubt, of being an accessory after the fact of Mary Phagan’s murder—and that will mean three years, at most, in the penitentiary.

After that—when the Frank trial, more or less, has been forgotten—Conley will be a liberty to come back amongst the people of Atlanta.

Not far from Five Points, a little due east along one of the big thoroughfares meeting there, there is a negro bootblack who now and then, when he is on the job, which frequently he isn’t, gives me a “shine” so much to my liking that it brings me back on other days.

He is a sort of Jim Conley negro—at least, he has a smattering of education, an ingratiating air, and is polite, particularly when it pays him to be.

Quite without previous design, I stopped at this negro’s stand Wednesday afternoon, and it was not long before he mentioned the famous trial. He having started the conversation, I asked him a few questions—and his replies, given herein in part, rather set me to thinking.

Complimented on All Sides.”

“George,” I said—not that I know his name is George, but that it so happens I address negroes unknown of name that way—“what do your friends down on Decatur street think of Jim Conley’s story over yonder in the big court? Rather clever, negro, Jim, eh?” said I to this bootblack.

“Well, boss, dat Mr. Rosser ain’t made nothing on Jim yit, is he?” replied George.

I ventured the opinion that Mr. Rosser failed, at least, to make Jim out so many different kinds of a liar that his story might not stick in spots.

“Well, boss,” continued my bureau of information, “dem niggers down on Decatur street, dey ain’t talking of nothing but Jim Conley. He’s de most talked about nigger anywhere, I guess. I hears him complimented on all sides!”

“In other words, Jim’s a sort of hero along Decatur street nowadays?” said I.

“Yassir, dat’s it—Jim’s a hero. Niggers all talking about him. He done got de best of de smartest of ‘um. Nobody can’t fool er nigger like Jim!”

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State Ends Case Against Frank

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

Atlanta Georgian
August 7th, 1913

Dalton Corroborates Jim Conley’s Story


With the cross-examination of Dr. H. F. Harris, the State Thursday afternoon rested its case against Leo M. Frank accused of the murder of Mary Phagan.

Dr. L. W. Childs was called by the defense as its first witness to rebut the testimony of Dr. Harris.

The mysterious C. B. Dalton, who was expected to make sensational revelations of incidents in which Leo Frank was alleged to have participated in the National Pencil Factory, proved a very tame and commonplace witness when he was called Thursday.

The most that Dalton could say was that, on several of his visits to the factory, he had seen women in Frank’s office. He told of no compromising situations. He was not even able to identify the women. He did not know whether or not they were members of Frank’s own family. All that he knew was that they did not appear to be stenographers as he never saw them writing.

Dalton, when he was questioned by Luther Rosser, was not even sure of his own birthplace. He thought it was somewhere in Laurens County. He explained his presence by saying that he had gone to the factory with a Miss Daisy Hopkins. He said that he saw Frank in the office with two or three women, and that cool drinks generally were in evidence. On one occasion he said Frank and his visitors were drinking beeer.

Detective Rosser on Stand.

Detective Bass Rosser was on the witness stand for a few minutes and was questioned briefly. He testified that when he saw Mrs. Arthur White the Monday after the crime she failed to tell him that she had seen a negro in the factory the Saturday the girl was killed. He said he did not get possession of this information until May 6 or 7. It is the contention of the State that the defense suppressed these facts.

At the conclusion of Detective Rosser’s testimony, Solicitor Dorsey announced that he was prepared to rest as soon as Dr. H. F. Harris had completed the testimony which was interrupted by adjournment Wednesday afternoon. Dr. Harris was unable to appear when court opened at 9 o’clock. The prosecution had nothing more to present at 9:45 and a recess was taken until Dr. Harris arrived at 11:10.

Reuben Arnold began at once on a cross-examination of Dr. Harris as soon as the physician took the stand. He forced Dr. Harris to say that there is much uncertainty in drawing conclusions about digestive functions and their time limitations.

Solicitor Dorsey also asked for the submission of the National Pencil Company’s cash book and bank book before he rested his case. This was agreed to by Frank’s lawyers.

The defense announced that its first witness probably would be Dr. L. W. Childs, who would be called to start an immediate attack upon the testimony presented by Dr. Harris.

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Judge Will Rule on Evidence Attacked by Defense at 2 P.M.

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

Atlanta Georgian
August 6th, 1913

As soon as court opened Mr. Rosser asked the judge if he was ready to hear argument on the proposition to eliminate parts of Conley testimony. He said he was prepared to support his motion with authorities.

Judge Roan replied that he would postpone this decision until 2 o’clock.

Solicitor Dorsey declared that he had witnesses he expects to put on the stand Wednesday morning to substantiate the part of the negro’s testimony in dispute. He said:

“I just want the court to understand that I am going to do this.”

Judge Roan replied:

“I’ll give you the benefit of whatever you bring out.”

Conley was then recalled to the stand for the conclusion of his cross-examination.

Jim Conley was the same cool, unafraid negro when he returned to the stand Wednesday morning in the trial of Leo Frank after almost two whole days under the cross-examination of Luther Rosser. He had passed through fire and didn’t seem to mind it. He had no fear of anything that was yet to come.

Mr. Rosser might threaten him or might joke with him; it was all the same to the negro. He had tried both and had established but one thing—that Conley is a liar, and Conley admits that.

Arnold might describe him as “that miserable wretch in the witness chair,” he could gaze calmly out the window as he had done before. He didn’t quite understand all those names they were calling him, anyway.

If, in all the time that Conley was under the raking fire of Rosser’s cross-examination, he was disturbed in the slightest degree it was when he was being asked about that mysterious affidavit of William H. Mincey.

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Dorsey Accomplishes Aim Despite Big Odds

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

Atlanta Georgian
August 6th, 1913


Practically the entire case on which the State of Georgia bases its claim on the life of Leo Frank to pay for that life taken from Mary Phagan is before the jury.

Most of the remaining evidence of importance, which the Solicitor General may introduce merely will be rebuttal to testimony, presented by Frank’s counsel.

Whether the evidence presented is strong enough to convict is a question for the jury to decide. Whether the testimony introduced by the defense will be convincing enough to cause the reasonable doubt which the law says shall make Frank a free man or whether the defense’s attack on the State’s case has been of sufficient strength to create a question in the minds of the jurors, time alone will tell.

But this fact remains unchallenged: Every single thing that Solicitor General Hugh Dorsey declared in advance that he would get before the jury is there now. It may not be enough to convict, but the case which the State said fastened the crime on Leo Frank has been put in evidence.

Dorsey Had Huge Task.

One by one the prosecutor has forged the links in the chain that he maintains fixes the guilt of the Phagan murder on Leo Frank and Leo Frank alone.

It has been long, tedious work. Dorsey has had to fight against considerable odds, but his work has been well done.

When the defense has its innings, the chain may be torn asunder as though struck by lightning, but that will be the work of the skilled attorneys who are fighting to save the life of the pencil factory superintendent.

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Crowd Set in Its Opinions

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

Atlanta Georgian
August 6th, 1913


The impression persists that courtroom crowds are made up in the main of two classes, as follows:

(1) People who take it for granted that any person being tried on any charge in any court is guilty, and then some.

(2) People who are constitutionally incapable of believing anybody is guilty of anything whatever.

That is one powerful impression gained at the Frank trial. It is an impression sticking out pointedly in the wake of the Thaw trial, and the Nan Patterson trial, and the Beatty trial, and the Hyde trial.

All three of the Hyde trials, in fact.

Never an Opinion Altered.

At the risk of being convicted of exaggeration in the first degree, the writer, who was rather intimately associated with the celebrated poison case, would estimate that 18,397 persons expressed in his hearing what they insisted were unalterable opinions as to the guilt or innocence of the accused physician before the jury in the first trail had been impaneled.

And of the 18,397 (estimated) not one single instance is recalled of one single opinion being altered.

The fact that the physician was convicted on his first trial made not the least difference to those who believed him innocent.

Court Ruling Mattered Not.

The fact that the Supreme Court reversed and remanded the case for further trial made not the least difference to those who voted guilty.

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Can Jury Obey if Told to Forget Base Charge?

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

Atlanta Georgian
August 6th, 1913

By James B. Nevin.

“Gentlemen of the jury, having heard from James Conley, the blackest, most damning story ever told in Atlanta by one human being against another, having sat there and listened as he smudged with unspeakable scandal the defendant in this case, Leo Frank, although it is irrelevant, immaterial, and has nothing to do with this case, you will kindly forget it, being on your oaths as jurymen to consider the evidence declared competent!”

And the jury, being like most other juries, in one way or another, and having heard all the things as aforesaid, will promptly proceed to do as instructed about forgetting it—NOT!

I have heard juries told too many times to “forget” things—such, for instance, as that there is no such thing as “unwritten law” in this land of the free and home of the brave—and I have seen too many times those very same juries proceed to “forget”—NOT!

Juries are, after all, composed of mere human beings, and things such as Conley said to the Frank jury can NOT be forgotten, and will NOT be disregarded by the average jury.

Merely Question of Belief.

It is merely a question of whether the jury BELIEVES the negro!

There was something infinitely pathetic in the situation Tuesday, when court met in the afternoon.

For one thing, it brought to the cheeks of the defendant’s wife, always and ever at his side, the first tears I yet have seen fall from her eyes.

She has borne herself with amazing fortitude thus far—the wonder is that she has not long ago collapsed.

When Reuben Arnold, moving to strike from the record the vile story of Jim Conley, paused a second before reading the exact words he desired expunged, looked a moment in the direction of the defendant’s wife, and said, with no show of the spectacular whatever, “Your honor, I would prefer not to read this in the presence of these two ladies, and I therefore pass it to your honor that you may read it in silence!” The moment was tense and tragic!

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Accuser of Conley is Ready to Testify

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

Atlanta Georgian
August 6th, 1913

Deplores Newspaper Publicity, but Poses Merrily for the Camera Brigade.

W. H. Mincey, the school teacher and insurance solicitor who made an affidavit that Jim Conley confessed to him that he had already killed a girl that day and didn’t want to kill anyone else, was the center of attention for the crowd on the outside of the courthouse Wednesday mornin[g].

While deploring newspaper publicity, he readily agreed to pose for a group of newspaper photographers, assuming many poses, some of which were rather grotesque. He followed this with implicit instructions to the photographer that his picture was not to be printed in the papers.

Efforts to get him to state whether he had seen Jim Conley since his arrest proved futile. Mincey declared he would make this statement or answer until he had taken the stand.

Mincey was located at New Salem, Ga., near Rising Fawn, in Dade County. He is teaching school there, his work being the preparation of students to enter the Martha Berry School at Rome.

“I will not talk of the case and will not tell my story until I take the stand,” said Mincey. “If Jim Conley killed little Mary Phagan, I feel that it is my duty to tell of the experience I had with him that Saturday afternoon. I don’t think this thing should be discussed in the newspapers, though. I regard newspapers as a necissity. These matters should be left to the court hearings. It is a loss to me to be here and I trust the case will soon be over. I think, though, that it is my duty to tell what I know.”

Mincey is a man of small stature with piercing eyes and a gray mustache. He wears a black felt slouch hat and a dark suit.

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Atlanta Georgian, August 6th 1913, “Accuser of Conley is Ready to Testify,” Leo Frank case newspaper article series (Original PDF)

Conley Swears Frank Hid Purse

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

Atlanta Georgian
August 6th, 1913

Sweeper’s Grilling Ends After 151/2 Hours, His Main Story Unshaken


That Mary Phagan’s silver-plated mesh bag, mysteriously missing since the girl’s bruised and lifeless body was found the morning of April 27, was in Leo Frank’s office a few minutes after the attack and later was placed in the safe in Frank’s office was the startling statement made by the negro Conley Wednesday in the course of his re-direct examination by Solicitor Dorsey. At 11:10 the negro left the stand after being questioned for fifteen and one half hours.

This testimony was the sensation of the forenoon. Throughout the more than three months of the murder mystery an unavailing search was made for the mesh bag, the city and Pinkerton detectives being convinced that the finding of the bag would go a long distance toward pointing out the person guilty of the Phagan girl’s murder.

“Did you ever see a silver mesh bag that Mary Phagan carried?” inquired the Solicitor.

“Yes, sah,” replied Conley. “I see it right on Mr. Frank’s desk when I went in there.”

“What became of the mesh bag?” continued Dorsey.

“He went and put it in his safe,” the negro said.

First Word of Mysterious Bag.

It was the first information, authentic or otherwise, that had come to light regarding the disposal of the mesh bag. The homes of Newt Lee and Jim Conley had been searched high and low for the bag or any other clew to the perpetrator of the crime. Except for a vague rumor that a mesh bag had been found by a negro in a shop on Decatur street, a story which later was found to have no connection with the Phagan mystery, not the slightest clew ever was discovered to the whereabouts of the bag which so strangely had disappeared.

Attorney Rosser’s manner was angry and threatening when he arose for the re-cross examination. He began at once a vicious attack on Conley’s story of the mesh bag. He asked when Conley first told this remarkable tale. Conley said he couldn’t remember.

“Why didn’t you tell all this when you were telling ‘the whole truth’ to the detectives?” Rosser shouted.

The attorney apparently sought to create the impression that the mesh bag story was an afterthought and that it was manufactured by the negro when he heard of the search the detectives were making for the bag.

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Rosser Goes Fiercely After Jim Conley

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

Atlanta Georgian
August 5th, 1913

The determined onslaught against Jim Conley, his string of affidavits and the story he told before the Frank jury had its real beginning Monday afternoon.

Luther Rosser, starting with the avowed purpose of breaking down the negro’s story and forcing from the negro’s lips a story more incriminating to himself than any he had uttered, went deeply into Conley’s past history, his home life, his prison record and everything that directly or remotely might have a bearing on the solution of the murder mystery.

Before taking up the events of the day that Mary Phagan was murdered, the attorney made Conley admit that he had been in jail seven times. The negro did not seem particularly loath to make this admission, but was inclined at first to let it go into the record that he had been behind the bars “five or six times.”

Rosser, however, seemed to have about as thorough an acquaintance with these circumstances of Conley’s life as did Conley himself, and he refreshed the negro’s memory until Conley was willing to agree that it probably was seven times.

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Many Discrepancies To Be Bridged in Conley’s Stories

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

Atlanta Georgian
August 5th, 1913

The defense of Leo Frank will bring out vividly before the jury Tuesday that the striking feature of Jim Conley’s dramatic recital on the stand Monday was that it differed not only from the first two affidavits signed by the negro, which he later repudiated in large part, but it also conflicted in several particulars with the last sensational affidavit in which he charged Leo Frank with the killing of the girl and related that he (Conley) disposed of the body and wrote the notes that were found at its side at Frank’s direction.

As a conspicuous example, Conley in his narrative before the jury Monday told for the first time of hearing the Phagan girl scream after she had gone to Frank’s office and, according to his story, walked with the superintendent to the rear of the factory.

He said nothing of this in his first two affidavits. Neither did he mention it in his third sworn statement. On the contrary, he denied to the detectives at that time that he had heard any sound indicating that a crime had been committed. To a reporter for The Georgian who saw him after he had made the third affidavit he made the same firm denial.

He even denied that he had seen the little girl enter the factory. That he was on the first floor and saw Mary Phagan when she went upstairs was not known until The Georgian published an exclusive story to that effect following the talk that Solicitor Dorsey and Frank Hooper had with the negro in the commissioners’ room at the police station weeks after the third affidavit.

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Traditions of the South Upset; White Man’s Life Hangs on Negro’s Word

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

Atlanta Georgian
August 5th, 1913


Sinister as a cloud, as raven as a night unaided by moon, planet or satellite, Jim Conley is to-day the most talked-of man in Georgia.

His black skin has not been whitened by the emancipation proclamation. The record of his race for regarding an oath as it regards a drink of gin, something to be swallowed, remains unattacked.

But Georgia is to-day listening to the words of Jim Conley with breathless interest. His every syllable has ten thousand of eager interpreters. His facial expression is watched as keenly as he answers the questions of Luther Rosser as would be the physiognomy of the President of the United States be watched as he signed a declaration of war against Japan.

Jim Conley has upset traditions of the South, even as the Phagan case has upset traditions that have lived for years through the length and breadth of the country.

The South Listens.

A white man is on trial. His life hangs on the words of a negro. And the South listens to the negro’s words.

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Conley’s Charge Turns Frank Trial Into Fight ‘To Worse Than Death’

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

Atlanta Georgian
August 5th, 1913


Black and sinister, depressing in its every aspect and horrible in its gloom, the testimony of Jim Conley in the Frank case was given to the court and the jury under direct examination Monday.

The shadow of the negro had loomed like a frightful cloud over the courtroom for days—the negro himself came into the case Monday. And he came into it in an awful and unspeakably sensational way!

The public was prepared for most that Conley said—it was not quite prepared for all he said.

The State, in its direct examination of Conley, climaxed its case against Frank most thrillingly and most abhorrently. If that climax is not rendered impossible, ridiculous absurd by the defense, then the young factory superintendent is doomed.

It is, indeed, now a battle to the death—and to worse than the death!

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Mrs. Frank Breaks Down in Court

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

Atlanta Georgian
August 5th, 1913

Judge, Favoring Defense, Reserves Decision as to Striking Out Testimony


Reuben Arnold created a sensation at the opening of Tuesday afternoon’s session of the Frank trial by making a motion that all of the revolting testimony concerning Leo Frank’s alleged conduct before the day of Mary Phagan’s murder be stricken out of the records. He also demanded that all of Jim Conley’s testimony in reference to watching at the door at Frank’s direction be expunged except the time he claims he watched on the day Mary Phagan was killed.

The contention resulted in practically a complete victory for the defense after a bitter legal battle. Judge Roan said that he would exclude from the records everything bearing on these alleged instances, except the negro’s testimony as to what occurred on the actual day of the crime. He said, however, he would hold himself ready to reverse his decision until he made his announcement to the jury Wednesday morning.

As the charges of degeneracy were being hurled at her husband by the Solicitor, young Mrs. Frank hung her head and finally unable to endure the ordeal longer left the courtroom. When she returned, her eyes were red and her cheeks flushed as from weeping. She breathed heavily and appeared to be making a brave effort to regain her composure. It was the first time she had broken down during the long trial. Frank’s mother left her place, a look of utter, wearied misery in her eyes, but a determination to be brave in every line of her face.

Attorney Arnold asked the judge to strike out not only all the testimony in direct examination in reference to Frank’s alleged conduct, but also all that has come out in cross-examination.


Solicitor Dorsey insisted that the testimony was admissible and should remain in the records.

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