Dramatic Moment of Trial Comes as Negro Takes Stand

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

Atlanta Georgian
August 4th, 1913

L. O. Grice, a stenographer in the offices of the Atlanta and West Point Railroad, was the first witness called. He said that he saw Frank on Sunday morning after the murder and Frank attracted his attention by his undue nervousness.

Grice said he was on the way to the Terminal Station when he bought an “extra” stating that a murder had been committed at the National Pencil Factory. He said he stopped by the pencil factory and saw eight men on the inside of the building.

“Did any of these men attract your particular attention?” asked Solicitor Dorsey.—A. Two or three of them did.

Q. Who were they?—A. When I went in the building Detective Black, whom I knew, was asking a great many questions.

Q. Did anybody attract your attention by their nervousness?—A. Not right then, but later we went down through the basement and out the back door. Then I was attracted by the nervous actions of a small dark man. I did not know him.

Q. Is this the man? (Pointing to Frank.)—A. Yes.

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Frank Calm and Jurors Tense While Jim Conley Tells His Gastcy [sic] Tale

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

Atlanta Georgian
August 4th, 1913

During the long wait for Conley to appear, Frank, his loyal wife and his no less loyal mother gave no sign of fear. Accuser and accused were about to face each other, a dramatic situation which the authorities had sought to bring about since the negro made his third affidavit charging Frank with the terrible crime.

If Frank at last were on the edge of a breakdown his calm, untroubled features were most deceiving at this time. He seemed no more concerned than when John Black, floundering and helpless on the stand, was making as good a witness for the defense as he was expected to make for the State.

When Solicitor Dorsey announced that Conley would be the next witness the courtroom was electrified with a shock of interest in which the only three persons who seemed not affected were this trio—Frank, his wife and his mother.

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Jurors Strain Forward to Catch Conley Story; Frank’s Interest Mild

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

Atlanta Georgian
August 4th, 1913

Dramatic in its very glibness and unconcern, Conley’s story, if it failed to shake or disturb Leo Frank, at least had a wonderful impression upon each member of the jury.

Conley told of seeing Mary Phagan enter the factory. This was the first time he had admitted to this, so far as the public had known.

Frank showed only a mild interest, but the jurors strained forward in their seats.

Conley told of hearing the footsteps from his vantage point on the first floor of two persons coming out of Frank’s office.

Frank still exhibited no sign of concern.

Conley then related hearing the footsteps going back to the metal room and of being startled by the shrieks of a young girl.

Mrs. Frank bowed her head, but gave no other sign. Frank still was the personification of coolness and composure.

* * *

The Atlanta Georgian, August 4th 1913, “Jurors Strain Forward to Catch Conley Story; Frank’s Interest Mild,” Leo Frank case newspaper article series (Original PDF)

Frank Witness Nearly Killed By a Mad Dog

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

Atlanta Georgian
August 4th, 1913

Deputy Sheriff W. W. (“Boots”) Rogers, witness for the State in the Frank trial, is taking the Pasteur treatment at the State Capitol Monday after being bitten half a dozen times on the right ankle by a rabid dog that pulled him from his motorcycle at Henderson’s crossing, on Capitol avenue, Sunday night about 11 o’clock.

After a battle of more than fifteen minutes Rogers finally drove the dog away, and though his right leg was badly torn and lacerated, rode the two miles from the crossing to Grady Hospital. When he arrived at the hospital his leg had begun to turn black and was very painful.

Treated at Grady Hospital.

The Grady Hospital surgeons cauterized the wounds and gave him temporary relief. This morning the leg which the dog had gnawed was still swollen and painful, and Rogers decided to take the Pasteur treatment.

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Envy Not the Juror! His Lot, Mostly, Is Monotony

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

Atlanta Georgian
August 4th, 1913

By L. F. WOODRUFF.

A policeman’s life is not a merry one. The thought was expressed and event set to music in those dim days of the distant past when people heard the lyrics and listened to the charming lilts of Gilbert and Sullivan opera instead of centering their attentions on a winsome young woman with a record in the divorce courts and not much else in either ability or raiment.

Gilbert and Sullivan, now being tradition, can be considered authorities. Wherefore the thought is repeated that a policeman’s life is not a merry one.

But there are twelve Fulton county men who will say that he went too far in his statement in one way and didn’t come within a mile of approaching the mark in another.

For after the sergeant sings “a policeman’s life is not a merry one,” the chorus of constabulary cants, “ta ran ta ra, ta ran ta ra,” which sounds rather joyous.

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Boiled Cabbage Brings Hypothetical Question Stage in Frank’s Trial

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

Atlanta Georgian
August 4th, 1913

By JAMS B. NEVIN.

When a prospective juryman is on his voir dire in a given criminal case, he is asked if his mind is perfectly impartial between the State and the accused.

If he answers yes, he is competent to try the case, so far as that is concerned. If he answers no, he is rejected.

How many people in Atlanta and Georgia, having heard part of the testimony in the Frank case, still feel themselves to be perfectly impartial between the State and the accused?

How many people, having heard part of the evidence, still have refrained from expressing an opinion as to the guilt or innocence of Frank?

Not many, I take it—and yet, that jury is supposed to be perfectly poised and as yet impartial between the State and the accused, notwithstanding the State’s evidence thus far delivered, and the presumption of innocence legally established in behalf of the defendant.

I venture the opinion that nothing developing in the Frank trial last week so profoundly weighed upon the minds of the people over Sunday as the question of the digestibility of boiled cabbage—nice, greasy, palatable, if often shunned, boiled cabbage!

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Jim Conley’s Story as Matter of Fact as if it Were of His Day’s Work

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

Atlanta Georgian
August 4th, 1913

By O. B. Keeler.

Jim Conley, hewer of wood and drawer of water.

On the witness stand at the Frank trial this morning, Jim unfolded a tale whose lightest word—you know the rest. It was a story that flexed attention to the breaking point: a story that whitened knuckles and pressed finger nails into palms; a story that absorbed the usual courtroom stir and rustle, and froze the hearers into lines upon lines of straining faces.

And Jim Conley told that story as he might have told the story of a day’s work at well-digging, or driving a dray, or sweeping up the second floor at the National Pencil Factory.

Jim was matter-of-fact.

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Conley’s Story In Detail; Women Barred By Judge

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

Atlanta Georgian
August 4th, 1913

There was a murmur of excitement following the calling of Jim Conley; there was a wait of several minutes, officers having just left the police station with the negro a minute or two before he was called.

Judge Roan impatiently ordered the Sheriff to bring in the witness. A number of spectators who were crowded up too close to the jury box were moved back by the court deputies.

“The Sheriff hasn’t got Jim Conley,” said Attorney Rosser, after a statement from Deputy Sheriff Plennie Miner.

“Mr. Starnes will bring him in,” returned Solicitor Dorsey.

“See if Mrs. White has arrived,” then requested Dorsey. “She has a very young baby, and when I had her subpenaed this morning she said that she would have to send to the factory and get her husband before she could come.”

Courtroom Quiet as Conley Enters.

“You may call her later,” said Mr. Rosser, “there wont’ be any objection.”
Jim Conley was brought into the courtroom just at this time. He took the witness chair and was sworn in while in the chair. Solicitor Dorsey examined him and everyone leaned forward, while extreme quiet prevailed.

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Rosser’s Grilling of Negro Leads to Hot Clashes by Lawyers

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

Atlanta Georgian
August 4th, 1913

A bitter, determined cross-examination of Jim Conley by Luther Rosser was marked by a prolonged battle between counsel for the defense and State over the method of questioning the negro.

The defense won a complete victory, Judge Roan ruling that the accuser of Leo Frank could be cross-examined on any subject the prisoner’s lawyers saw fit.

In the course of this legal tilt Luther Rosser said:

“I am going after him (referring to Conley) and I am going to jump on him with both feet.”

Turning to counsel for the State he added significantly: “And I won’t enlighten him, either. Your period of enlightenment is over.”

Rosser, before the afternoon session concluded, got the negro to say that he had been lying when he said that he got up at 9 o’clock the day of the crime. He said he got up at 6 o’clock.

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Leo Frank’s Eyes Show Intense Interest in Every Phase of Case

Courtroom Studies of Leo Frank: Three typical poses of the defendant in the famous Phagan case are show, while in the upper left of the picture is a study of Luther Rosser, his leading counsel. Here is what a study of Frank’s face reveals: His face is immovable, except, perhaps, for the eyes. But fixity of countenance does not always go with unconcern. In this case it is a part of the man’s nature. Immobility is the essential part of his physiognomy. It is the immobility of the business man given to calculation, of the gambler, of the person given to repression.

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

Atlanta Georgian
August 3rd, 1913

Face Is Immobile, but Gaze Tells Story of Deep Feeling of Man on Trial—A Study of Prisoner at Close Range.

By TABLETON COLLIER.

Everybody says in his heart that he knows human nature, that he can read guilt or innocence, sensuality or asceticism, calm or perturbation in the face of another. Everybody armed to his own satisfaction with this power of divination, has gone to the trial of Leo Frank to watch the man who is charged with the murder of a little girl, the most brutal and conscienceless of murders.

The young man who is thus the center of all eyes sits apparently unconscious of the multiple gaze that continue all day long. Those who go to watch him declare a variety of opinions—that he is calloused or that he is conscience-clear, that he scorns the outcome of the trial whatever it may be, or that he is serene in his innocence.

The watchers generally admit, however, that he is unconcerned.

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Conley to Bring Frank Case Crisis

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

Atlanta Georgian
August 3rd, 1913

Negro’s Testimony Now Supremely Important

Both Sides Stake Their All on His Evidence

STATE FORGES CHAIN TO TAX ALL THE INGENUITY OF DEFENSES LEGAL ARRAY

First Week of Battle Has Fixed the Time Almost Exactly According to Theory of the Solicitor—Doctors’ Testimony His Important Bearing.

BY AN OLD POLICE REPORTER.

There are two tenable theories of the manner in which little Mary Phagan met her tragic death in the National Pencil Factory on Saturday, April 26.

Either she was murdered by Leo Frank, as charged in the indictment, or she was murdered by James Conley, the negro sweeper, employed in the factory.

If there is another theory, it has not been advanced.

The theory that Frank killed the girl is the one set up by the State; the theory that Conley killed her is the one to be set up by the defense.

Which, if either, is the true theory?

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First Week of Frank Trial Ends With Both Sides Sure of Victory

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

Atlanta Georgian
August 3rd, 1913

Solicitor Dorsey Indicates That Real Sensation Will Be Developed for State in Closing Days of Famous Mary Phagan Mystery Case.

ANOTHER WEEK OF ORDEAL IN THE HEAT IS EXPECTED

Routing of Detective Black and Surprise in the Testimony of Pinkerton Agent Gives the Defense Principal Points Scored—Newt Lee Hurts.

Slow and tedious, almost without frills, full of bitter squabbles between lawyers, made memorable by oppressive heat, the first week of Leo Frank’s trial on the charge that he killed Mary Phagan, the little factory girl, has drawn to an end.

With the close of the week came the promise that still another six days, or more, will be consumed in taking the testimony.

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Frank Juror’s Life One Grand, Sweet Song—Not

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

Atlanta Georgian
August 2nd, 1913

O. B. Keeler.

The juror’s life is not unmixed with care.

Look him over next time you attend the Frank trial. Size up his little job. Weigh his responsibility. Consider his problems.

And then, if seeking employment, go out and sign a contract to make little ones out of big ones.

It’s a more satisfactory way of earning $2 a day.

The juror’s business is to collect evidence by the earful, sift the same, separate the true from the false, and make it into a verdict as between the Stat[e] of Georgia and Leo Frank.

On the face of it, the plan is beautifully simple.

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Roan Holding Scales of Justice With Steady Hand

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

Atlanta Georgian
August 2nd, 1913

By L. F. WOODRUFF.

Emotion’s entire gamut is daily run on the screen of faces watching the Frank trial.

A student of facial expression can find anything he seeks by watching the throng of spectators a half hour.

A glance at one man may show a sneer of hate as bitter as gall. His neighbor in the next seat will probably be smiling in amused content as if her were witnessing the antics of his favorite comedian.

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State Hopes Dr. Harris Fixed Fact That Frank Had Chance to Kill Girl

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

Atlanta Georgian
August 2nd, 1913

By JAMES B. NEVIN.

The testimony of Dr. Roy Harris, chairman of the State Board of Health, and one of the most learned and approved physicians in Georgia, was dramatic, both in its substance and in the manner of its delivery Friday.

It was not calculated to help Leo Frank—and it did not.

The exhibition of a portion of the contents of the dead girl’s stomach, for the purpose of approximating the time of her death, held breathless the packed courthouse—and the fainting of the physician during the progress of his testimony gave a final touch of melodrama to the trial that thrilled the audience as nothing else has thus far.

Dr. Harris impressed me, too, as believing in Frank’s guilt—I do not know that he does believe that way, it merely happens that he seemed so to impress me.

And if he impressed that jury as he impressed me, then the things he testified may, if the remainder of the case against Frank holds together, prove eventually to be the defendant’s undoing.

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Will 5 Ounces of Cabbage Help Convict Leo M. Frank?

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

Atlanta Georgian
August 2nd, 1913

Are five and half ounces of cabbage to be the principal factor in sending a man to the gibbet?

If the prosecution is warranted in its belief in the vital and incriminating importance of the testimony of Dr. H. F. Harris, director of the State Board of Health, this is exactly the outcome to be expected in the trial of Leo M. Frank, charged with the murder of little Mary Phagan.

It remains, however, for the State to show explicitly just how the sensational statements made last Friday afternoon by medical expert any more clearly connect Leo Frank with the terrible crime than they connect Jim Conley, the negro, who was skulking in the National Pencil Factory at the same time. The testimony of Mrs. Arthur White is relied upon to do that very thing.

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Defense Threatens a Mistrial

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

Atlanta Georgian
August 2nd, 1913

Newspaper on Judge’s Desk Causes Protest

DR. HURT UNDER FIRE OF DEFENSE, HITS A DR. HARRIS TESTIMONY

A genuine sensation was sprung at the trial of Leo M. Frank Saturday morning when Luther Rosser and Reuben Arnold, attorneys for the defense, asked the State to consent to a new trial on the ground that Judge Roan had allowed the jury to catch a glimpse of a headline in the first extra of The Georgian.

Judge Roan had laid the paper on the stand in front of him, and, according to the defense, the headline across the first page could be read by the men in the jury box.

The headline said: “State Adding Links to Chain.”

The defense’s lawyers went into immediate conference with the judge, and a few minutes later asked Solicitor Dorsey to consent to a new trial. The Solicitor refused.

Rosser Asks Explanation.

Rosser and Arnold then came into the courtroom and asked that the jury be withdrawn.

Rosser addressed the court:

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Girl Slain After Frank Left Factory, Believed to be Defense Theory

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

Atlanta Georgian
August 1st, 1913

Was Mary Phagan killed at or very near the time she entered the National Pencil Factory April 26 to get her pay envelope or was she merely attacked at this time and murdered later?

The line of questioning pursued by Luther Rosser in his cross-examination of two of the State’s witnesses Thursday afternoon indicated this will be one of the questions the jurors will have to settle before they will be able to determine the innocence or guilt of Leo M. Frank.

Rosser was most persistent in his interrogation both of William A. Gheesling embalmer, and Dr. Claude A. Smith, physician and bacteriologist. Gheesling went to the pencil factory at about 4 o’clock the morning of the crime and took charge of the Phagan girl’s body. He told Solicitor Dorsey in the direct examination Thursday that the girl had been dead ten or fifteen hours and that rigor mortis was well established.

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Sherlocks, Lupins and Lecoqs See Frank Trial

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

Atlanta Georgian
August 1st, 1913

There are enough “hists,” “aha’s” and those other exclamations that mark a true detective besides the badge on his left suspender to fill a whole volume of Gaborieau thrillers at the Frank trial.

A stranger whirled from the Terminal Station to Judge Roan’s courtroom would be convinced before he had been in that temple of justice five minutes that all Atlanta earns its living following clews, and that if Sherlock Holmes was made a material being he could beat Jim Woodward for Mayor by 8,000 votes.

Ever since the body of Mary Phagan was found, practically every man of voting age and a lot of those who just think they are, have evolved a theory as to the crime they regard as incontrovertible as two plus two makes four, and have a system of ratiocination (beg pardon, Mr. Poe), that either proves beyond the shadow of a doubt that Leo M. Frank is guilty, or that he is innocent, or that Jim Conley did it, or he didn’t, or that somebody did, but they’ll be hanged if they know who.

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Dorsey Unafraid as He Faces Champions of the Atlanta Bar

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

Atlanta Georgian
August 1st, 1913

Up Against a Hard Proposition Youthful Solicitor Is Fighting Valiantly to Win Case.

By L. F. WOODRUFF.

Georgia’s law’s most supreme penalty faces Leo Frank.

A reputation that they can not be beaten must be sustained by Luther Rosser and Reuben Arnold.

Atlanta’s detective department’s future is swaying on the issue of the Frank trial.

But there is a man with probably as much at stake as any of the hundreds who crowd Judge Roan’s courtroom, with the exception of Frank, and he is accepting the ordeal, though he realizes it, as calmly as a person who has nothing more serious to decide than whether he will order his steak rare or well done at breakfast time.

Hugh Dorsey is hereby introduced. He is known pretty well in Atlanta without introduction but as chairmen on political meetings insists on telling the audience that the President of the United States is about to speak or that the Secretary of State is endeavoring to earn an additional amount to his yearly $12,000. Mr. Dorsey can be placed before the public without fear of violating precedent.

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