Chiefs Will Probe Removal of Conley

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

Atlanta Constitution
July 25th, 1913

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

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

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

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

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Protest of Solicitor Dorsey Wins

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

The Atlanta Georgian

Monday, July 21, 1913

Presents Evidence Showing Indictment of Negro Would Hinder Frank Prosecution.

Here are the important developments of Monday in the Phagan case:

The decision of the Grand Jury of Fulton County not to bring at this time an indictment against James Conley.

The information that there is a strong probability of another postponement of the trial of Leo M. Frank.

The Grand Jury’s refusal to reopen its investigation of the Phagan murder mystery was a decided victory for the Solicitor after that body had overridden his request that no session be called to take up the matter in any of its aspects.

A report that Judge L.S. Roan, who will preside at the Frank trial, had signified his desire that the case be put off until fall, gave rise to the expectation that another postponement will take place, and that the date probably will be set for some week in September.

Defense Said To Be Willing.

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Second Phagan Indictment Probable

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

The Atlanta Journal

Wednesday, July 16, 1913

*Editor’s Note: A small section of text is missing from the article due to scanning blur near a page fold.


New Grand Jury Will Take Up Case and Make an Effort to Get a True Bill Against Negro as Principal


Solicitor Dorsey Is Expected to Vigorously Oppose Jury’s Move—Negro Sweated Again by Detectives

It was learned Wednesday by The Journal, on reliable authority, that there is a strong probability of the Fulton county grand jury which was recently organized by the election of W.D. Beattie as foreman will take up the case of Jim Conley, negro sweeper at the National Pencil factory, and confessed accomplice to the murder of Mary Phagan, before the trial of Leo M. Frank, who is accused of the crime by the negro, is entered upon.

If the grand jury takes up the negro’s case, it is believed that a bill charging the negro with the crime as a principal will be considered and if an indictment is brought it seems probable that murder will be the charge.

The grand jury will take up Conley’s case over the vigorous protest of Solicitor Hugh M. Dorsey, who it is stated, has not changed his theory about the murder.

Solicitor Dorsey has from the beginning taken the position that Conley should be held as a material witness and that this was not the time for the grand jury to investigate his connection with the Phagan murder. If the grand jury takes up the negro’s case there seems little doubt that the solicitor will bitterly oppose its action.

An indictment of Conley prior to the trial of Frank as principal would undoubtedly greatly weaken the state’s case, and the solicitor is expected to use […] jury to persuade if not to consider an indictment.


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Leo Frank Answers List of Questions Bearing on Points Made Against Him

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

The Atlanta Constitution

Monday, March 9, 1914

Stated That He Was Willing to Reply to Any Questions That Might Be in the Mind of the Public, and Asked to Answer Any Such That Might Be Propounded to Him.


Asserts That Very Fact That He Admitted He Had Seen Mary Phagan on the Day of the Murder, Thus Placing Himself Under Suspicion, Was Proof in Itself That He Was Innocent of Crime.

Probably the most interesting statement yet issued by Leo M. Frank in connection with the murder for which he has been sentenced to hang, is one that he has furnished to The Constitution in the form of a series of answers to questions which were propounded to him bearing on the case.

These questions were prepared by a representative of The Constitution who visited Frank at the Tower last week.

“Ask me any questions you wish,” Frank told the reporter.

In accordance with that, the reporter wrote out a list of questions which, he asserted, comprised the most salient points the prosecution had brought out against him, and to each of these Frank has given an answer.

Here Are Questions.

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Trial of Leo Frank Postponed by Judge

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

The Atlanta Constitution

Wednesday, June 25, 1913

Date of Trial Changed From June 30 Until July 28 at Plea of Attorneys for Defense.

The first appearance in open court of the indictment against Leo M. Frank for the murder of Mary Phagan came yesterday afternoon when Judge L. S. Roan, presiding over the criminal division of superior court, summoned attorneys for both sides, and after a hearing changed the date of trial from June 30, as set by Solicitor Hugh M. Dorsey, to July 28.

This and the legal move by the defense in serving upon Solicitor Dorsey, Police Chief James L. Beavers, Detective Chief Newport Lanford and other detectives and officials for the state, with formal subpoenas duces tecum, commanding them to bring to court all affidavits they may have which bear upon the state’s case against Frank, were the only changes in the present situation.

Judge Roan also decided that the trial of Frank would be held not in the regular room in which he holds his division of court, but in one of the rooms in which the civil division of the superior court sits.

Where Trial Will be Held.

This was done, the judge explained, because the ceiling is very low in the courtroom in the Thrower building, where his court regularly sits, and the room is ventilated by windows only on one side. The trial will be held, according to present plans, in one of the courtrooms in the old city hall, corner South Pryor and East Hunter streets, where the ceilings are higher and windows can be thrown open on both sides of the room to allow ventilation. Continue Reading →

Both Sides Are Ready for Trial of Frank

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

The Atlanta Journal

Wednesday, June 25, 1913

Few Developments Expected Between Now and July 28, Conley Is Grilled

The statements made by Solicitor General Hugh M. Dorsey and by Reuben R. Arnold and Luther Z. Rosser, the counsel for the defense before the postponement of the trial of Leo M. Frank from June 30, the date set by the solicitor, to July 28, indicate very strongly that neither side expects further developments of importance in the investigation.

Mr. Dorsey told the court that his case was complete and that he was ready for trial. All of the statements by Attorneys Arnold and Rosser indicate that they also have completed the preparation of the defense and are ready for the court fight.

One of the most interesting of the statements made by counsel was that of Mr. Arnold, who said that it would take two weeks to try the case, showing that the defense will have many witnesses, and will come to court prepared to fight every inch in the case.

The action of the defense in demanding through subpoenas duces tecum practically all of the affidavits of importance which have been made the detectives during the Phagan investigation seems to bear out the theory published in The Journal that the defense will consist of the corroboration of Frank’s story as told at the inquest by a number of witnesses, and of an effort to establish, largely by the detectives themselves, the thory [sic] that the negro James Conley is guilty of the crime with which Frank is charged.

It is certain that Conley’s story will be attacked through his many varying affidavits, and much evidence to assist Frank will be brought out through the city detectives, who charge him with the crime.

The substance of all of the affidavits demanded by the defense is known. Conley’s varying affidavits have long formed one of the sensations of the case. Miss Grace Hix, it will be remembered, identified Mary Phagan’s body, while Miss Monteen Stover declares that she came to the pencial [sic] factory of the date of the tragedy at 12:05 o’clock and found no one in the office, not even Frank, who had testified that he was there at that hour. Continue Reading →

July 28 Is Date Agreed Upon for Trial of Frank

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

The Atlanta Journal

Tuesday, June 24, 1913

Judge Names Date After Statement From Reuben R. Arnold, In Which He Said Trial Would Last Two Weeks


Subpenas Duces Tecum Issued, Demanding Production of Affidavits and Popers [sic] in Possession of Solicitor

Leo M. Frank, accused of the slaying of Mary Phagan, will not be tried before superior court Judge L. S. Roan next Monday. The judge in a conference with attorneys at 2 o’clock Tuesday afternoon formally set the trial for Monday, July 28, and no attempt to reopen the questions of arraignment will be made. Both the prosecution and the defense agreed to this date.

Any attempt made to put Frank on trial on next Monday was silenced when Reuben R. Arnold, speaking for the defense, said flatly that the trial would take at least two weeks. The assurance that the trial would last some time and the fact that it likely would be held in the stuffy little court room in the Thrower building, if scheduled Monday, practically caused the postponement.

Solicitor Dorsey, for the state, and Luther Z. Rosser and Reuben R. Arnold, for the prosecution, were summoned to the court house by Judge Roan at 3 o’clock and a discussion of the matter was opened.


Solicitor Dorsey announced that he was ready and made the declaration that his witnesses would not take more than two days at the outside. He said if the defense had any he didn’t think they would take any longer.

This remark brought a grunt from Luther Z. Rosser and the Arnold statement that the trial would take two weeks.

“We have the witnesses,” both of the lawyers for the defense asserted.

Both Attorneys Rosser and Arnold told the court that in the event of a postponement of the case for Monday that they desired it to go over until after the week of July 14, when both would be engaged in the trial of Mattie Flanders in Swainsboro. Mr. Rosser represents the defense of Mrs. Flanders and Mr. Arnold the prosecution.

This came when Solicitor Dorsey suggested that the case be tried on July 7.

Judge Roan, in fixing July 28 as a date suitable to all concerned, said that there would be no break in the week, as there would with July 4, that a good court room for the trial could be obtained about July 13, that the jail could be cleared of routine cases by that time and previously made engamenest [sic] would not be interrupted.

All lawyers concerned were in court and the judge asserted that lack of preparation could not be offered as an excuse when the case was called on July 28.

The attorneys for Leo M. Frank Tuesday afternoon secured subpoenas duces tecum to be served on Chief James L. Beavers, Chief N. A. Lanford, Solicitor Hugh M. Dorsey, Assistant Solicitor E. A. Stevens, Hary [sic] Scott, of the Pinkertons; City Detectives John Black, Pat Campbell and J. N. tSarnes [sic], and Secretary of Chief Lanford, G. C. Febuary, calling upon them to produce in court Monday June 30, or any other day that the Frank case might be on trial, all affidavits or statements secured from Jim Conley, the negro sweeper; Monteen Stover and Grace Hix. Continue Reading →

Solicitor Will Fix Frank Trial for June 30, He Says

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

The Atlanta Journal

Monday, June 23, 1913

Unless “Showing” Is Made in Open Court Why the Case Should Be Deferred, Trial Will Proceed


Detectives Question Her With View to Attacking Theory That Girl Was Slain on the First Floor

Solicitor General Hugh M. Dorsey, it was definitely learned Monday, will set the case of the State against Leo M. Frank, charged with the murder of Mary Phagan, for June 30, and the solicitor will insist that a legal “showing” be made by the defense before a postponement is allowed.

During the day Monday or early on Tuesday morning the court calendar for the week of June 30 will be made up and then a small army of bailiffs and deputies will commence to summon talesmen. Owing to the unusual interest in the case it is probable that more than 150 talesmen will be summoned to the court in order that twelve jurors to try Frank may be picked from them.


It is understood that the court of its own volition will not interfere in the matter, and if a postponement of the case is secured it will be on a “legal showing” made in open court next Monday by the attorneys, who represent the accused man.

The illness of one of counsel or the absence from the city of a material witness or the engagement of counsel in another court, or any one of several other perfectly good excuses constitute legal grounds for the postponement of case, so the uncompromising attitude of the state by no means makes the trial of the case on June 30 a certanity [sic].

Luther Z. Rosser and Reuben R. Arnold, the able attorneys, who represent Frank, will give no intimation of their attitude towards entering into the case next Monday.

The published rumor that John W. Moore, another noted Atlanta lawyer, would assist Attorneys Arnold and Rosser and Herbert Haas in the case is without foundation, according to Mr. Moore and the other attorneys connected with the case.


What is believed by the prosecution of Leo M. Frank to be a refutation of the defense’s theory that Mary Phagan was slain at the foot of the stairs on the first floor of the pencil factory, occurred at police headquarters Sunday afternoon, when Jim Conley, the negro, identified Monteen Stover, aged 14, 17 South Forsyth street, as the girl in the raincoat and “easy walkers” who went to the office on the second floor at 12:05 o’clock and came down the stairs five or ten minutes later and left the building.

The little Stover girl was taken before Conley in the detectives’ room Sunday and positively identified by the negro, according to the detectives who were present, Chief Lanford and Detectives Campbell and Starnes.

Conley declared that she was the girl he watched while he was hid at the foot of the tsairs [sic]. The Stover girl entered the building, went up the stairs to the office, stayed there some five or ten minutes, and then came down and went out.

J. C. Hines, who went to headquarters with Walter Sudderth and Mr. Edmundson, pointed out Monteen Stover as the girl whom he saw enter the building. Continue Reading →

Date of Frank Trial Still In Much Doubt

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

The Atlanta Journal

Saturday, June 21, 1913

Belief Grows That Case Will Not Come Up Before July 14 or 28

Interest in the Phagan case still centers on the time of the trial of Leo M. Frank. Indications still are that the case will not be tried the week of June 30.

Solicitor Dorsey has never finally committed himself on the matter but Colonel Frank A. Hooper, who is associated [with] him, still expects the case to be set for that date.

Mr. Hooper expects the trial to last a week. The jail will not have been cleared by June 30, according to court attaches, and it is the general policy of the court to clear the jail of as many cases as possible before entering into a lengthy trial. In addition the Fourth of July, a holiday, comes in the week of June 30 and this might mean that the jury would be locked up during a day that the court was not in session. Still further there is the possibility that the defense will ask for a postponement.

Judge L. S. Roan will not have to hold court in the Stone Mountain circuit on either the week of July 14, or the week of July 28, and as a result it is now considered extremely probable that Frank will face a jury on one of those dates.

Apparently the Phagan case is at a standstill. Saturday both Luther Z. Rosser and Reuben R. Arnold, who will be associated with the defense in all probability, were out of the city, on business said not to be connected with the case.

Mr. Hooper, who is in charge of the state’s case during the absence in New York of Solicitor Dorsey, states that there have been no developments of importance, and that the state is ready for the trial, whenever Mr. Dorsey returns and sets it on the court calendar.

Mr. Hooper was not interested in the return of Mrs. Mima [sic] Formby, maker of a sensational affidavit, to the city. The state made no effort to find her when she left the city, and apparently there is no chance of her being used as a witness unless the defense puts Frank’s character in issue.

During the absence of Solicitor Dorsey, Detectives Starnes and Campbell have been working under his instructions, smoothing over rough places in the state’s case, but nothing of importance has been developed.

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The Atlanta Journal, June 21st 1913, “Date of Frank Trial Still In Much Doubt,” Leo Frank case newspaper article series (Original PDF)

Constitution Picture Will Figure in Trial

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

The Atlanta Constitution

Monday, June 16, 1913

Solicitor Wants Photograph of Spot Where Mary Phagan’s Body Was Found

A flashlight picture, made by The Constitution’s staff photographer is to be used as evidence by the prosecution in the trial of Leo M. Frank. This was made evident Sunday afternoon when Detective John Starnes applied to a Constitution reporter for the photograph of the spot in the pencil factory basement, where Mary Phagan’s body was discovered.

Starnes would not state why he wanted the picture, saying only that it would be used by the prosecution. He was extremely desirous of getting it, and it will be put in his possession this morning. It is rumored that by the picture an effort will be made to corroborate certain statements of James Conley, the negro sweeper when he is placed on the witness stand.

Starnes told the reporter that the prosecution was ready for trial. He expressed confidence that the mystery would be cleared at the coming trial, which he believes will be held on the thirtieth. In case of postponement, he says, it will be the fault of the defense, as the state is ready.

Starnes has been intimately associated with the solicitor general during the murder investigation. In fact, he has been more closely in touch with Dorsey than any other official concerned in the case. He is a detective attached to headquarters and associated with Detective Pat Campbell who has been identified with many big criminal cases, which the detective department has solved.

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The Atlanta Constitution, June 16th 1913, “Constitution Picture Will Figure in Trial,” Leo Frank case newspaper article series (Original PDF)