Stains of Blood on Shirt Fresh, Says Dr. Smith

Stains of Blood on Shirt Fresh

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

Atlanta Constitution

Thursday, May 8th, 1913

City Bacteriologist Makes His Report After Examination of Garment of Negro Which Was Found in Trash Barrel.

LEE’S CELLMATE MAY TESTIFY AT INQUEST

Witness Spent 24 Hours in Same Cell With Phagan Prisoner — Body of Girl Exhumed for Second Time.

DAY’S DEVELOPMENTS IN PHAGAN MYSTERY

Dr. Claude Smith, city bacteriologist, completes examination of negro’s blood-stained shirt, and finds that the blood stains are new.

Body of Mary Phagan was exhumed shortly after noon on Wednesday for the purpose of making a second examination.

Mrs. Mattie Smith, wife of one of the mechanics who were last men to leave pencil factory, tells detectives that shortly before 1 o’clock, when she left the building, she saw strange negro near elevator.

Bill Bailey, negro convict who was placed in cell with Newt Lee for twenty-four hours, now at liberty, and will probably be called upon at inquest today to testify.

Leo Frank will be placed upon the stand again today at 9:30 o’clock, when the coroner’s inquest is resumed.

Solicitor General Hugh Dorsey holds a long conference in cell with Newt Lee, but declines to tell what passed.

Detectives announce they are searching for a Greek, who is now believed to be in Alabama.

Chief Lanford declares that somebody is blocking Phagan investigation, silencing witnesses, and “planting” evidence.

The report of Dr. Claude A. Smith’s analysis of the bloodstains on the shirt found in the home of Newt Lee, who is held in connection with the Mary Phagan murder, has been submitted to the detective department. It reveals that the stains were caused by human blood, not more than a month old. Continue Reading →

Phagan Girl’s Body Again Exhumed for Finger-Print Clews

Phagan Girl's Body Again Exhumed

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

Atlanta Georgian

Wednesday, May 7th, 1913

Third Time Unfortunate Victim’s Remains Have Been Exhumed—Dorsey Says Officials Are Not Looking for Finger Prints, but Other Clews.

The body of Mary Phagan was exhumed early Wednesday for the second time in two days.

The unofficial explanation is that the exhumation is made for the purpose of making a microscopic and minute examination of every wound on the body for finger prints and other clews as well.

Solicitor Dorsey let it be known that the police are not working on the idea that the finger prints would be helpful in solving the mystery, if indeed there are any finger prints to be found, as the body has been embalmed and has been handled by many persons since it was first discovered in the basement of the pencil factory.

Nevertheless, it may be safely said that a microscopital [sic] examination will be made of every mark on the body.

It was reported before the departure was made for Marietta that a Bertillon expert had been engaged and that if any finger prints were found, photographs would be taken and the most careful measurements made for the purpose of comparison. 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.

* * *

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.

* * *

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 →

Seek Clew in Queer Words in Odd Notes

Seek Clue in Queer Words in Odd NotesAnother in our series of new transcriptions of contemporary articles on the Leo Frank case.

Atlanta Georgian

Tuesday, April 29th, 1913

Who Would Be the Most Interested in Saying That the Night Watchman Did Not Do It?

While the tendency of the police straight through has seemed to be to doubt that Mary Phagan, the murdered girl, really wrote the small notes found beside her body purporting to give a clew to her murderer, the girl’s stepfather, W.J. Coleman, thinks it possible that she may have written one of the scrawls.

That one is the note written on the little yellow factory slip—so faintly traced it is almost impossible to read it. It is the one that says:

mama that negro hired down

here did this I went to get water

and he pushed me down this hole

a long tall negro black that has it

woke long lean tall negro I write

while play with me.

“Somehow, it looks like her handwriting to me,” said Mr. Coleman. “But, of course I can not be sure. Now, about the other note I am doubtful. It seems to be written too well for the child to have done it in the almost insensible condition she must have been in at the time. Whether she wrote either of the notes of her own accord, though, or whether she was forced to do it by her murderer to turn suspicion from himself, of course is mere speculation. Only time can tell, if anything.” Continue Reading →

Guilt Will Be Fixed Detectives Declare

Guilt Will Be Fixed Detectives Declare 1

Mrs. J. W. Coleman, below, mother of slain Mary Phagan, and Ollie Phagan, sister of the murdered girl [above]. Mrs. Coleman is prostrated by grief over the crime, and warns all mothers of working girls to watch carefully their loved ones.

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

Atlanta Georgian

Tuesday, April 29th, 1913

Has the murderer of pretty little Mary Phagan slipped the net that the police most carefully spread for him?

Is the author of the crime that shocked the city and State with its terrible brutality still at large?

Is the mystery, as baffling in its myriad conflicting elements as it is revolting in its details still as far from solution as it was when the beaten and bruised little body of Mary Phagan was found lifeless in a pile of trash and litter in a Forsyth Street basement?

When the city detectives and Pinkertons picked up the twisted skelna of evidence this morning they admitted that they were as badly tangled as when they laid them down after working incessantly upon them until long after midnight. Continue Reading →