Solicitor Dorsey Orders Body Exhumed in the Hope of Getting New Evidence

Solicitor Dorsey Orders Body Exhumed in the Hope of Getting New EvidenceAnother in our series of new transcriptions of contemporary articles on the Leo Frank case.

Atlanta Georgian

Wednesday, May 7th, 1913

Inquest, To Be Resumed Thursday, Will Bring Out Important Facts Not Yet Made Public—Medical Experts To Be Called by Coroner.

New mystery was added to the Mary Phagan case on Wednesday, when the authorities for some reason not yet disclosed, did not follow out the order given by Solicitor Dorsey for the exhumation of the remains.

It was said by Solicitor Dorsey that he had given this order in the hope that new clews might be discovered.

A difference of opinion as to the advisability of the exhumation evidently has arisen, but the officials concerned were reticent. Coroner Donehoo admitted that Dorsey’s order had been given, but said it had not been carried out. He would make no further statement.

The report published in an early edition of The Georgian that the body had been exhumed was made on statements by officials, and that it was for the purpose of making a microscopic examination of every wound on the body for finger prints and other clews.

It is undoubtedly the intention of the authorities to exhume the body again. Continue Reading →

Newest Clews in Phagan Case Not Yet Public

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

Atlanta Georgian

Tuesday, May 6th, 1913

Body of Slain Girl Exhumed and Bloodstains on Factory Floor Analyzed.

NEW THEORY ANNOUNCED

Solicitor Believes Victim May Have Been Thrown, Still Alive, Down Elevator Shaft.

Solicitor General Dorsey, Chief of Detectives Lanford, Chief of Police Beavers, and all men working under them in the Phagan case seem thoroughly satisfied with the progress they are making in the great mystery. They are actively engaged in many unknown directions—as they say, “piling up evidence to strengthen the case.”

What evidence the officials have other than that which has already been made public they refuse to divulge. Solicitor Dorsey declines to make public his case in the newspapers. He is investigating every phase of the matter through trusted men working under this own direction.

It is perfectly proper for the chief prosecuting officer to withhold any and all evidence until such time as he may present his case to the Grand Jury.

That there is new and startling evidence seems true, but just what it indicates the officials refuse to say, and the newspaper reporters, therefore, are merely guessing at what may be, or may not be, the actual facts. Continue Reading →

Slayer of Mary Phagan May Still be at Large

Slayer of Mary Phagan May Still Be At Large

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

Atlanta Georgian

Sunday, May 4th, 1913

The mystery of the death of pretty Mary Phagan enters upon its second week to-day with the police authorities admitting that they are still without a conclusive solution. So far as the public has been permitted to learn, the detectives are not even certain that they have in custody the person or persons responsible for her death.

In the light of present developments, the police believe that no more arrests will be made, but they admit that the entrance of another theory might entirely change the aspect of the case. The detectives base their present belief that they have the guilty man or men on the well-supported theory that Mary Phagan never left the National Pencil factory from the time she received her pay envelope on Saturday noon until her lifeless body was taken from the basement of the building.

If this police supposition is correct, guilt can rest only on one or more of the men who were in the building after noon on the day of the tragedy. The police officers have been able to learn only five who were in the factory Saturday afternoon or night, most of the employees being absent because of the Memorial Day parade. Continue Reading →

Analysis of Blood Stains May Solve Phagan Mystery

Analysis of Blood Stains May Solve Phagan Mystery

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

Atlanta Georgian

Saturday, May 3rd, 1913

Three Former Employees at Pencil Factory Are Summoned to Testify. Expected That Frank and Watchman Will Be Questioned Further.

It was reported to-day that three young women, former employees of the National Pencil Factory, will be important witnesses for the Coroner’s jury in the Phagan case on Monday.

Dr. Claude Smith, city bacteriologist, was asked by the police to-day to make a chemical analysis of the bloodstains on the shirt found in the back yard of the home of Lee.

The garment was given to Dr. Smith by Detective Rosser. The detectives are hopeful that by scientific tests and comparisons it will be determined whether the garment was a ‘plant’ or not. Dr. Smith said that he could not make his examination until some time next week. Continue Reading →

Dorsey Puts Own Sleuths Onto Phagan Slaying Case

Dorsey Puts Own Sleuths onto Phagan Slaying Case

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

Atlanta Georgian

Friday, May 2nd, 1913

200 Witnesses To Be Called When Inquest Into Slaying of Factory Girl Is Resumed Next Monday—Detectives Are Busy.

Coroner Declares Inquiry Will Not Be Made Hastily—Every Clew To Be Probed Thoroughly. Lee and Frank Are in Tower.

Grand Jury Meets, but Considers Only Routine Matters—Was No Truth in Report That Militia Had Been Ordered to Mobilize.

[There were no developments of importance in the Phagan case to-day. This does not mean that the detectives and police force are not hard at work on the mystery. They are. Many so-called “clews” are being investigated, but scores of them have been followed up by detectives and found valueless.

The grand jury met this morning and considered only routine matters. The Phagan case was not taken up at all. — A portion of text from the same article in the Georgian but from the “Home” edition of the newspaper — Ed.]

Solicitor General Hugh M. Dorsey this afternoon engaged private detectives to run down clews which have not as yet been fully developed by the men already working on the Phagan case.

The detectives are to investigate certain phases of the mystery which have previously received little attention and which he thinks may be of importance. Continue Reading →

Frank Not Apparently Nervous Say Last Men to Leave Factory

Frank Not Apparently Nervous Say Last Men to Leave Factory

Miss Ella Maud Eubanks, stenographer for Leo M. Frank

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

Atlanta Constitution

Thursday May 1st, 1913

Following Mechanic Barrett’s declaration that there were two men at work Saturday at noon on the top floor of the factory building, Coroner Donehoo ordered detectives to accompany the machinist to the plant and bring the two employees to police headquarters.

They were brought immediately into the inquest. Their names were given as Harry Denham and J. Arthur White. Denham was first placed on the stand. His examination began immediately upon arrival.

“Did you see the blood on the lathing machine?”

“I saw it Monday.”

“Were you on that floor Saturday?”

“No. I was on the top floor.”

“Did you see Frank at any time of the day?”

“Yes.”

Asked When They Would Finish.

“Did he offer you holiday as the others had been given?” Continue Reading →

Girl Was Dead Ten Hours Before Her Body Was Found

Girl Was Dead Ten Hours Before Body Was Found

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

Atlanta Constitution

Thursday, May 1st, 1913

Mary Phagan had been dead ten hours or more before her body was discovered in the basement darkness of the factory building.

This is the opinion of expert embalmists of Bloomfield’s undertaking establishment, who made a thorough examination of the corpse immediately after it had been removed to the shop, less than thirty minutes following the discovery.

This disclosure may shift the investigation of detectives to new channels.

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Atlanta Constitution, May 1st 1913, “Girl Was Dead Ten Hours Before Body Was Found,” Leo Frank case newspaper article series (Original PDF)

Factory Clock Not Punched for Hours on Night of Murder

Factory Clock Not Punched for Hours on Night of Murder

Scenes at the funeral services of victim of Sunday’s brutal crime. In one picture is shown casket being borne from church; in another, her brother, Ben Phagan, who is in the navy; and in the bottom one, the beautiful floral offerings covering the newly-made grave.

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

Atlanta Constitution

Wednesday, April 30th, 1913

Newt Lee, Negro Watchman, Had a Record for Punctuality in Registering Time Until Night of the Killing—Bloody Shirt Found in His Home by Detectives, but Negro Asserts That He Had Not Seen It for Two Years—Blood Was Fresh, Assert Officers.

MORE ARRESTS WILL BE MADE TODAY, SAY MEN ON THE CASE

“We Have Sufficient Evidence to Convict the Murderer of Mary Phagan, Declare Local Detectives and Pinkertons—Leo M. Frank Subjected to a Gruelling Third Degree—Rumors Spread Over City That Lee Had Confessed Denied by Chief Lanford.

The record of the factory time clock in the pencil plant was brought to police headquarters last night. It shows an irregularity in three separate periods during the night of the murder of Mary Phagan.

Lee, the negro night watchman, was supposed to punch the time piece every thirty minutes during each night of duty. Up until 9:32 o’clock Saturday night it was visited with regularity. An adjustment was skipped from that time until 10:29 o’clock. At 11:04 another adjustment was missed. The next punch was registered at midnight.

The most convincing irregularity of the record sheet, however, is the adjustment that was missed between 2 o’clock Sunday morning and 3. The body was discovered at 3:30 o’clock. Where was the watchman when he failed to punch the hour? Continue Reading →

Says He Punched Time Clock on Wrong Number

Says He Punched Time Clock on Wrong NumberAnother in our series of new transcriptions of contemporary articles on the Leo Frank case.

Atlanta Journal

Wednesday, April 30th, 1913

Harry Denham’s Story Indicates Miss Annie Howell Wasn’t in Factory

The time clock at the National Pencil company’s factory, where Mary Phagan was murdered, shows that employe [sic] No. 141 registered off at 3:07 p. m. last Saturday.

This is the number of Miss Annie Howell, of 664 East Fair street, and at first the detectives thought she might be able to throw some light on the mystery.

It developed later, however, that this must have been a mistake. Harry Denham, one of the men employed in the factory, claims that he punched her by mistake, and then punched his own number, which is 143, as a correction.

The clock shows that No. 143 was punched at 3:09 p. m. on Saturday.

* * *

Atlanta Journal, April 30th 1913, “Says He Punched Time Clock on Wrong Number,” Leo Frank case newspaper article series (Original PDF)

Writing Test Points to Negro

Writing Test Points to NegroAnother in our series of new transcriptions of contemporary articles on the Leo Frank case.

Atlanta Georgian

Wednesday, April 30th, 1913

Experts Declare Note Written by Lee Resembles That Found Near Slain Girl.

Handwriting experts said to-day that they were able to determine a resemblance between the handwriting of Newt Lee, the negro watchman in the National Pencil factory, and that in the mysterious notes found by the body of Mary Phagan in the basement of the factory.

They were of the opinion that the negro wrote both notes, as they asserted that many of the peculiarities in the handwriting of Lee were found in the messages that lay in the dirty basement.

The Georgian already had drawn attention to the probability that the negro wrote the notes, or directed them written to divert suspicion.

That the notes were written to throw suspicion on another was suggested by the wording of one of the notes which, as deciphered by a Georgian reporter, was as follows:

‘He told me he wood love me laid down play like the night watch did but that long tall black negro did it by his self.”

The theory immediately arose that Lee wrote the notes to turn suspicion on another negro that had been about the building either from himself or from another person he was trying to shield.

* * *

Atlanta Georgian, April 30th 1913, “Writing Test Points to Negro,” Leo Frank case newspaper article series (Original PDF)

Use of Dictaphone on Frank and Negro is Denied by Police

Leo M. Frank

Leo M. Frank [On early Monday morning (April 28th, 1913), Leo Frank already had his lawyers present to answer questions from the police; the most expensive criminal defense lawyers in Georgia, somehow secured over the weekend, just one day after the murder and before Leo Frank was even seen as a major suspect. On Sunday, Frank told the police he was alone with Mary in his office at 12:03pm, but on Monday, with his lawyers at his side, he changed the time to between 12:05 and 12:10pm, a habit Frank would later fall into during subsequent questioning and trials. — Ed.]

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

Atlanta Journal

Wednesday, April 30th, 1913

They Decline to Say, However, Whether Conversation Between Superintendent and Watchman Was Overheard

WAS MARY PHAGAN SEEN AT 5 P. M.?

J. L. Watkins Says He Saw Her Near Her Home—Chemist’s Tests Shows No Blood Under Negro’s Finger Nails

A report that there was a Dictaphone in the room in which Leo M. Frank talked with Newt Lee, the negro night watchman, at police headquarters Tuesday night in a supposed effort to wring a confession from the negro, was denied Wednesday by both Chief of Detectives Lanford and Chief of Police Beavers.

Neither official, however, would say that the conversation between the factory superintendent and the negro was private. They were asked directly if any member of the police or detective departments heard what was said between Frank and the negro but declined to say.

There is a strong belief that the meeting between the superintendent and the negro was arranged by the detectives in the hope of obtaining evidence without the knowledge of either Mr. Frank or the night watchman. The report spread that sensational evidence was obtained in this manner, but no confirmation could be obtained at headquarters.

WHAT TIME CLOCK SHOWS.

Despite the negro watchman’s statement that he passed every half hour through the machine room, where it is presumed Mary Phagan first battled to save her honor and her life, an examination of the clock’s record which was brought to police headquarters Tuesday afternoon, developed that the clock had not been punched from midnight Saturday until long after the body of the murdered girl was found. Continue Reading →

Sergeant Brown Tells His Story of Finding of Body

Sergeant Brown Tells Story of Finding of BodyAnother in our series of new transcriptions of contemporary articles on the Leo Frank case.

Atlanta Georgian

Wednesday April 30th, 1913

Sergeant R. J. Brown, the second witness at the inquest, corroborated Anderson’s story of the finding of the body. Brown, who was in charge of the morning watch, was one of the four men who answered the call of the negro night watchman, Newt Lee.

Brown was interrogated as follows:

“How did you get to the factory?”

“Call Officer Anderson answered the phone call, and Anderson, Sergeant Dobbs, myself and a man named Rogers—we call him ‘Boots’—went in Mr. Rogers’ car to the factory.”

“Who met you when you got there?” Continue Reading →

Machinist Tells of Hair Found in Factory Lathe

Machinist Tells of Hair Found in Factory LatheAnother in our series of new transcriptions of contemporary articles on the Leo Frank case.

Atlanta Georgian

Wednesday April 30th, 1913

R. P. Barrett, 180 Griffin Street, a machinist at the National Pencil Company, was one of the witnesses of the late afternoon.

He was asked:

Q. How long have you worked at the National Pencil Company?—A. Seven weeks the last time. I worked there about two years ago.

Q. Did you know Mary Phagan?—A. Yes.

Q. What did she do?—A. She ran a “tipping” machine.

Q. When did you last see her?—A. A week ago Tuesday.

Q. Did she work last week?—A. No.

Q. You say you worked in the same department with Mary Phagan? Were your machines close together?—A. Yes.

Q. When did you go to work?—A. Monday morning. Continue Reading →

Clock ‘Misses’ Add Mystery to Phagan Case

Clock 'Misses' Add Mystery to Phagan CaseAnother in our series of new transcriptions of contemporary articles on the Leo Frank case.

Atlanta Georgian

Wednesday, April 30th, 1913

Records Purport to Show Watchman Failed to Register Three Times Saturday Night.

What does the National Pencil Factory time clock show?

It was the duty of Newt Lee, the negro night watchman, to punch it every half-hour. Records brought to the police station purport to show that Lee three times failed to punch the clock.

But Leo M. Frank, superintendent of the factory, told a Georgian reporter Sunday afternoon that Lee had punched the clock regularly and that the clock record was all right.

Misses Were Not Consecutive.

Accepting the evidence of the records at the police station, the case is more beclouded by their introduction than it was before. Although they appear to show that Lee failed three times to punch the clock, these misses were not consecutive and the intervals between punches never were more than one hour. Continue Reading →

Did Murderers Plan Cremation?

Did Murderers Plan CremationAnother in our series of new transcriptions of contemporary articles on the Leo Frank case.

Atlanta Constitution

Wednesday, April 30th, 1913

Detectives Believe That They Intended to Burn Body of Little Mary Phagan in the Furnace of Factory.

Did the murderers of Mary Phagan lower her body into the darkness of the pencil factory basement with the intention of cremating the corpse in the furnace of that plant?

Such is the belief of detectives. The dead girl was discovered only a few feet from the furnace. Her body had been dragged first to the fire box, circled around its base, then abandoned in the desolate recess in which it was found.

Investigation revealed that the firebox was in condition to be lighted. It was littered with shavings and paper, and, to all appearances, in readiness for a new fire. The door was open. The aperture was hardly wide enough to admit a body the size of the victim’s.

It is the dective’s [sic] theory that the slayers were frightened from their original plans. The prized staple from the rear door indicated a hurried exit. Detective John Black told a Constitution reporter Monday of his belief: Continue Reading →

Policeman Says Body Was Dragged From Elevator

Policeman Says Body Was Dragged From ElevatorAnother in our series of new transcriptions of contemporary articles on the Leo Frank case.

Atlanta Georgian

Wednesday, April 30th, 1913

R. M. Lasseter [sic], the policeman on the morning watch past the pencil factory, was called at 3 o’clock in the afternoon. He was questioned as follows:

Q. Were you in the pencil factory Saturday night or Sunday morning?—A. I was there at 4:45 Sunday morning.

Q. What did you find?—A. A parasol.

Q. Where did you find it?—A. At the bottom of the elevator shaft. I found there also a big ball of red wrapping twine that never had been opened. (Here the witness was shown the cord that had strangled the girl and asked if that was the kind of cord he had found. He said it was not. The cord he found was very much smaller.)

Body Had Been Removed.

Q. Had the body been removed when you were in the building?—A. Yes.

Q. Where was the elevator?—A. I don’t remember; it was on the second or third floor.

Q. Is the bottom of the elevator shaft of concrete, or wood, or what?—A. I don’t know. It was full of trash and I couldn’t see.

Q. Did you look for signs of a struggle?—A. Yes, I saw where something had been dragged along the ground, and I traced it back to the elevator shaft.

Q. Did you find anything to indicate that the body came down the ladder?—A. No, sir; the dragging signs went past the foot of the ladder. I saw them between the elevator and the ladder.

Dragged From Elevator.

Q. You think, then, that the body was dragged from the elevator?—A. Yes, sir; I think from the evidence that it was dragged from the elevator.

Q. Where was the umbrella?—A. In the center of the elevator shaft, closed.

Before the witness was dismissed he said that he had passed the pencil factory at 1 o’clock Sunday morning and saw that the back door was closed. He said he did not pass the place again until after the body was removed. This was a voluntary statement from the witness and was not made in answer to any question.

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Atlanta Georgian, April 30th 1913, “Policeman Says Body Was Dragged From Elevator,” Leo Frank case newspaper article series (Original PDF)

Confirms Lee’s Story of Shirt

Confirms Lee's Story of ShirtAnother in our series of new transcriptions of contemporary articles on the Leo Frank case.

Atlanta Georgian

Wednesday, April 30th, 1913

Negro Woman Says Man Accused of Phagan Crime Was Not Home Saturday Night.

If Newt Lee, the watchman, went home on Saturday night and discarded a bloody, stained shirt, Lorena Townes, the negro woman with whom he boarded, knows it. Lorena says Lee was not home on Saturday night.

Detectives found the blood-stained shirt in an old barrel in Lee’s room, and around this point has been built the theory that after committing the crime the man went home, changed his shirt, returned to the factory and then telephoned the police. Supporting this belief are the alleged omissions in Lee’s time clock checks during the night.

Lee lived in a little back room at 46 Henry Street; Lorena Townes sleeps in the front room opening on the porch. There is no hallway. There is a side door to Lee’s room, but it is always locked from the inside, according to Corinne Holsey, who lives in the other half of the house. Continue Reading →

Went Down Scuttle Hole on Ladder to Reach Body

Went Down Scuttle Hole to Reach BodyAnother in our series of new transcriptions of contemporary articles on the Leo Frank case.

Atlanta Georgian

Wednesday April 30th, 1913

Previous to Watchman Newt Lee’s testimony, three police officers, who were called to the pencil factory when Mary Phagan’s body was found, testified. Their testimony, with the exception of such parts as were unfit to print, follows:

W. T. Anderson, police call officer on duty Sunday morning, was first witness.

“We went over in an automobile to the pencil factory and the negro took us into the cellar where the body was found,” he said.

Anderson told of the location of the scuttle hole, from which a ladder led to the basement, and of the location of the body. Continue Reading →

Tells of Watchman Lee ‘Explaining’ the Notes

Tells of Watchman Lee 'Explaining' the NotesAnother in our series of new transcriptions of contemporary articles on the Leo Frank case.

Atlanta Georgian

Wednesday April 30th, 1913

Sergeant L. S. Dobbs was the third witness. He said he answered the call to the pencil company plant Sunday morning.

Q.—Did you find an umbrella? A.—No. Lassiter did.

Q.—Did you find the notes there? A.—One of them.

He then identified the two notes.

Q.—Were you at the plant when Lassiter found the umbrella? A.—No; he found them about 7 o’clock.

Q.—Where did you find the body? A.—About 150 feet from the elevator shaft.

Q.—Did you examine the body? Continue Reading →

Bloody Thumb Print is Found on Door

Screen Shot 2016-03-07 at 2.47.04 PMAnother in our series of new transcriptions of contemporary articles on the Leo Frank case.

Atlanta Journal

Tuesday, April 29th, 1913

Murderer of Mary Phagan Probably Left Factory by the Rear Door

A bloody thumb print, found Tuesday afternoon on the rear door to the basement of the National Pencil factory, leads the police to the theory that the murderer of Mary Phagan left the factory building by that door after he had deposited the girl’s body in the basement.

This theory is still further strengthened by the fact that when the murder was discovered Sunday morning it was found that a staple had been drawn from the fastening on the rear door.

R. B. Piron, said to be an employe [sic] of the pencil factory, came across the bloody thumb print while making an examination of the factory premises. He chiseled off the bloody spot and took it to Detective Chief Newport A. Lanford, who will have it analyzed to determine whether the stain is human blood. Continue Reading →