Defense May Call for Character Witnesses Today

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

Atlanta Constitution
August 8th, 1913

C. B. DALTON TELLS ABOUT VISITS HE PAID THE PENCIL FACTORY WITH MANY WOMEN

Declares He Used Basement for Immoral Purposes at Same Time That Frank Was in Building, But Did Not Attempt to Say What the Superintendent’s Relations With Women Were—Declares Conley Acted as Lookout for Him.

DR. LEROY W. CHILDS CALLED BY DEFENSE TO REFUTE DR. HARRIS

Harry Scott Is Also Put on Stand by Defense to Prove That Conley Lied on Many Occasions—Detective Was on the Stand When Court Adjourned for Day—Cross-Examination Fails to Shake Dr. Harris.

Shortly after Dr. H. F. Harris had completed his testimony for the state and was cross-examined in detail by Reuben Arnold, the state rested its case against Leo M. Frank.

Solicitor Dorsey had called for Frank’s bank book to show that he had in his possession approximately $200—the sum Jim Conley says he gave him and then took back—but the book was not produced, and the state rested. Later the solicitor may introduce other witnesses, but not until after the defense has closed.

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Dr. Childs Differs with Harris As to Processes of Digestion

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

Atlanta Constitution
August 8th, 1913

Following Dr. H. F. Harris, the final witness of the state, DR. L. W. Childs also an expert on matters pertaining to the various processes of digestion was placed on the stand by the defense to refute what Dr. Harris had said about the food in Mary Phagan’s stomach showing that she had been killed in about half an hour after she ate.

Dr. Childs took a decidedly opposite stand from that of his brother physician and declared that he would hazard no guess within two hours of the time that death occurred after eating and also after looking at the sample of cabbage taken from the girl’s stomach stated that he had seen cabbage look that way after it had remained in a person’s stomach for 12 hours.

After ascertaining for the benefit of the jury that Dr. Childs graduated in 1906 from the medical college of the University of Michigan and that his occupation was that of surgery and general medicine Mr. Arnold propounded a number of hypothetical questions.

“If a person dies and the body is found at 3 o’clock in the morning when rigor mortis has set in to a certain extent: said the attorney “and the body is then embalmed at 10 o’clock that day and later disinterred nine days after and a physician finds a wound in the back of head say about 2 inches long and cut through to the skull with perhaps a drop of blood on the skull but with no pressure on the brain and injury to the skull could that physician determine whether or not that a would had caused unconsciousness before death?”

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Defense Begins Introduction of Evidence

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

Atlanta Journal
August 8th, 1913

Afternoon Session of Frank’s Trial Thursday Is Without Any Interesting Development

Pinkerton Detective Harry Scott Testifies That Conley Never Told Him New Features of Story—Dr. Leroy Childs Testifies in Effort to Break Dr. Harris’ Story

When court adjourned Thursday afternoon at 5:10 o’clock Detective Scott, called by the defense to impeach Jim Conley, had just concluded his examination by the solicitor. Scott had been put through a long series of questions by Attorney Rosser, the purpose of which was to show the discrepancies between what Conley told Scott and what he swore on the witness stand.

Harry Scott, of the Pinkertons, was called as the second witness for the defense of Leo M. Frank Thursday afternoon when Dr. Leroy Childs left the stand. Scott testified that he informed the detectives immediately upon learning that Mrs. White had seen a negro sitting on a box at the foot of the second floor stairs. The state has contended that this information was withheld from the city detectives until May 7 or 8, and that Scott learned it from Frank on April 28.

Dr. Childs while under the examination of Attorney Arnold characterized testimony similar to some of that given by Drs. Hurt and Harris as remarkable guess work. When the wound on Mary Phagan’s head was described to the physician by Attorney Arnold, Dr. Childs declared that it would be guess work to say that the wound would have caused unconsciousness; when the wound was described to him by Solicitor Dorsey he declared that it would not have caused death. He declared that the conditions upon which Dr. Harris based his opinion that violence had been done the girl, might have been caused by the examination made by Dr. Hurt prior to Dr. Harris’ examination and by the process of embalming.

At 2 o’clock the trial resumed, with Dr. L. W. Childs still on the stand under direct examination by Attorney Arnold.

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Dorsey Forces Childs to Admit Certain Portions of His Testimony Could Not Be Considered Expert

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

Atlanta Constitution
August 8, 1913

Dr. LeRoy W. Childs who was the first witness placed on the stand by the defense underwent a rigorous cross examination by Solicitor Dorsey.

The solicitor showed a keen knowledge of medicine and chemistry in the volley of questions he fired at the medical expert, and, upon one occasion elicited the admission from the witness that he was not informed of a certain phase of laboratory work on which great stress had been laid by Dr. Roy Harris who preceded Dr. Childs to the stand.

In concluding his testimony Dr. Childs when asked by the solicitor who explained the condition in which Mary Phagan’s body had been discovered declared that it was his opinion death did not result from the blow upon the head.

Dr. Childs was on the stand at the opening of the afternoon session under direct examination of Attorney Arnold.

“State whether or not doctor a bruise upon an eye can be inflicted after death?”

“Such a bruise could be produced before the body is cold. Some bodies retain heat longer than others.”

“Can a blow on the back of the head cause a black eye?”

“Such a blow could blacken both eyes.”

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Scott Put Conley’s Story in Strange Light

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

Atlanta Georgian
August 8th, 1913

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

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

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

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

Denied He Had Seen Purse.

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

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Dr. Harris’ Testimony is Attacked by Defense Expert

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

Atlanta Journal
August 7th, 1913

STATE FINISHES TESTIMONY AND DR. LEROY CHILDS BEGINS EXPERT EVIDENCE FOR DEFENSE

Dr. Childs Characterizes Conclusions Similar to Those Made by Dr. H. F. Harris and Dr. J. W. Hurt as Remarkable Guesses—He Says Cabbage Is Most Indigestible of All Vegetables and Might Stay in Stomach for Many Hours

DEFENSE IS EXPECTED TO PUT UP CHARACTER WITNESSES IN VIEW OF JUDGE ROAN’S RULING

Dalton Swears He Has Visited Pencil Factory in Company With Women, That Frank Knew of His Presence and That Jim Conley, the Negro Sweeper, Was There—He Tells of Frank’s Visitors

When recess was ordered at 12:30 o’clock Wednesday in the trial of Leo M. Frank charged with the murder of little Mary Phagan, Dr. Leroy Childs, called by the defense as its first witness, was on the stand. Dr. Childs had already testified in answer to a hypothetical question framed by Attorney Reuben R. Arnold, that a post mortem examination nine days after death would not show whether a blow on the head, such as that described by Attorney Arnold, had produced unconsciousness, or whether it had been delivered before or after death. Dr. Childs declared that such a blow as that described by Mr. Arnold might even have produced death. He characterized any statement to the effect that such a blow procured unconsciousness and that it could not have produced death, as nothing short of a remarkable guess.

Dr. Harris also declared that cabbage was the most indigestible of all vegetables and that it might remain in the stomach as long as four hours and a half. Looking at the cabbage taken from the stomach of Mary Phagan and submitted as evidence at the Frank trial, Dr. Childs said that it was impossible to tell how long this food had remained in the stomach.

Dr. Childs followed Dr. H. F. Harris, secretary of the state board of health, who was the concluding witness for the state. At the close of Dr. Harris’ cross-examination, the state rested. Answering the questions of Attorney Arnold, Dr. Harris reaffirmed the testimony given by him previously, namely, that Mary Phagan was killed within less than an hour after eating the cabbage and bread found in her stoamch; that the cause of her death was strangulation; that the blow on her head produced unconsciousness but could not have produced death and that she had suffered violence immediately before she was killed.

It is the evident purpose of the defense as shown by the testimony already drawn from Dr. Childs to vigorously dispute the evidence of Dr. Harris fixing the time of the little girl’s death. Other medical experts, no doubt, will follow Dr. Childs.

It is now believed that the defense will put Frank’s character in evidence, as the state has already succeeded in making an attack upon it through the testimony of Jim Conley, the negro sweeper, and C. B. Dalton. Should the defense put up witnesses to prove Frank’s good character, the state will be permitted to rebut this testimony with any evidence it may have that is detrimental to Frank’s character.

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Trial Experts Conflict on Time of Girl’s Death

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

Atlanta Georgian
August 7th, 1913

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

Dr. Harris said:

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

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

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

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

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

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