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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Mrs. Coleman Tells of Cooking Cabbage for Dr. H. F. Harris

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

Atlanta Constitution
August 7th, 1913

Mrs. J. W. Coleman, mother of Mary Phagan, followed Dr. Harris to the stand. She told of cooking an amount of cabbage at the chemists request for his experiments with the four men.

She stated that it had been ground finely as she had prepared it on the day of Mary’s last meal and had boiled it for an hour. She remained on the stand but for a few minutes and was asked but a few questions by either the state or defense.

She was asked to describe Mary’s pocketbook answering that she had already given a description when she first went upon the stand at the opening of the trial.

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Atlanta Constitution, August 7th 1913, “Mrs. Coleman Tells of Cooking Cabbage for Dr. H. F. Harris,” Leo Frank case newspaper article series (Original PDF)

Mary Phagan Was Strangled Declares Dr. H. F. Harris

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

Atlanta Constitution
August 7th, 1913

Dr. Roy F. Harris, the pathologist, head of the state board of health, and the expert who exhumed and examined the body of Mary Phagan, went on the stand at the close of the argument over Judge Roan’s reserved decision to continue the testimony from which he was interrupted Friday by a fainting spell in the courtroom.

He still suffered from weakness and was allowed to sit in a heavily-upholstered armchair.

He was questioned first by Solicitor Dorsey.

“Dr. Harris, what is your particular branch of medicine?”
“My usual line is pathology, chemistry and chemical work, as well as diagnosis.”

“Can you indicate the signs of what you saw on Mary Phagan’s body which showed strangulation?”

Died by Strangulation.

“It was out of the question that her death was caused by a blow on the head—it was not sufficient to even produce noticeable pressure. The only thing evident from which death could have resulted was the deep indentation along the throat, obviously inflicted during life. There were other signs as well—the protruding tongue, congested blood in the face and hands, all of which indicated that strangulation had caused death.”

“Did you notice the larynx?”

“Yes; there seemed no damage done.”

“Did you see the windpipe?”

“Did you take it out?”

“No; there seemed but little damage to it. I did not remove it because I did not want to mutilate the poor child any more than necessary.”

“Did you see the lungs?”
“Yes, but the lungs were congested, due to the use of formaldehyde used in embalming.”

The solicitor asked the defense for the bloody stick found by Pinkertons on May 10 in the pencil factory. It was produced and shown to the physician.

“Do you think the blow you found on the child’s head could have been inflicted by a cudgel like this?”
“In my opinion, I would think not—the gash evidently was inflicted with some sharp instrument.”

“Did you make a scientific examination of the female organs?”

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Spontaneous Applause Greets Dorsey’s Victory

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

Atlanta Constitution
August 7th, 1913


Reuben Arnold Threatens to Call for Mistrial if There Should Be Recurrence of Applause Which Marked Reception of the Decision. Judge Announces That the Court Room Would Be Cleared if There Was Any More Disorder.


Dr. Roy Harris Testifies in Afternoon, Declaring That Death Was Caused by Strangulation—Tells of Experiments With Four Men in Digestion of Cabbage Cooked by Mrs. Coleman, Mother of Girl Who Was Murdered—C. B. Dalton Testifies Today.

When, shortly after the noon recess Wednesday, after he had heard lengthy argument on both sides, Judge Roan reversed his decision of the day previous thereby admitting as evidence the statements of Jim Conley that on numerous occasions he had acted as “lookout” for Leo M. Frank while he was engaged with women on the second floor of the National Pencil factory, the state and Solicitor Dorsey won a victory which was perfectly patent to every one in the court room, and the news was quick to reach the street and to be circulated by word of mouth all over the city.

As soon as Judge Roan announced his decision spontaneous applause broke out in the court room and Reuben Arnold jumped to his feet, exclaiming:

“If that happens again I shall move for a mistrial.”

Judge Roan announced that he would have to clear the room if there was a recurrence of the disorder.

Interest at Keen Pitch.

At no single stage of the long drawn-out trial has interest been so keen as when Judge Roan announced on Tuesday that he would reverse his decision on the admissibility of this evidence until Wednesday morning. The evidence was of such an important nature and its introduction came as such a complete surprise that it was the sole topic of conversation all day Monday and Tuesday. When Conley had blandly told of the occurrences which would seem to indicate a course of conduct on the part of the defendant which would throw light on the crime, and stamp him as apart from other men, there was profound surprise in the court room that the astute attorneys for the defense did not strenuously object.

But on second thought the impression seemed to be that Mr. Rosser and Mr. Arnold, confident they could break the negro down, were opening wide the bars and were giving Conley all the rope necessary to hang himself.

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Judge Roan Decides Conley’s Testimony Must Stand

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

Attorney William M. Smith, who clashed in the court room Tuesday with Attorneys for Leo M. Frank, who didn’t want him to consult with client until Conley had finished his testimony.

Atlanta Journal
August 7th, 1913

Defense Asks Mistrial When Crowd in the Court Applauds Announcement of the Decision

Judge Roan, However, Refuses to Stop Trial—Dr. Harris on Stand During Afternoon and Again Asserts that Mary Phagan Suffered Violence Just Before Death—Dalton Called to Corroborate Conley But Court Adjourns Before He Testifies

Dr. H. F. Harris, secretary of the state board of health, was the first witness called for the Wednesday afternoon session after the jury was called into the room. The direct examination under Solicitor Dorsey was resumed.

Dr. Harris again asserted very positively that Mary Phagan had suffered violence of some kind immediately preceding her death, and explained in detail his reasons for reaching this conclusion.

The secretary of the state board of health was excused from the witness stand at 5 o’clock before his cross-examination had been finished. He was very weak, he said in response to the court’s inquiry, and was permitted to stop his testimony, which was resumed Thursday. Mrs. J. W. Coleman, mother of Mary Phagan, was the last witness examined before adjournment.

C. B. Dalton, mentioned by Conley, as having visited the factory in company with two women, was called just before court adjourned but did not testify.

Great excitement prevailed in the court room Wednesday afternoon when Judge L. S. Roan announced his decision to reverse himself on his ruling of Tuesday, striking out parts of Conley’s testimony. From the spectators gallery the crowd cheered the decision, but quieted down after Attorney Arnold, for the defense, made a motion to clear the room. Judge Roan refused to clear the court of spectators but warned the spectators not to repeat the demonstration. Attorney Arnold then moved for a mistrial, in this he was also overruled by the judge.

Judge Roan, in his ruling, held that all of Conley’s testimony would remain in the record of the case and that Solicitor Dorsey would be allowed to introduce witnesses to corroborate the negro’s charges against Frank’s conduct in his presence. As to allowing the Epps boy to testify as to what Mary Phagan told him regarding her fears of Frank, the judge held that inadmissible and the newsie will not be recalled.

When court reconvened at 2 o’clock, Solicitor Dorsey resumed his argument. The solicitor renewed his contention, citing authorities to back it up, that as a general rule failure to make objection to incompetent evidence at the time of introduction is a waiver of that right.

In this instance, said he, the court should hold that the defense had waived the right to object. In case of doubt as to the relevancy of evidence, said he, it should be left to the jury for that body to determined its weight.

The solicitor said that he cited several Georgia cases, among them some very old decisions. The solicitor stated that no fixed rule can be observed regarding the introduction of evidence of acts similar to the crime charged. The law says simply, says he, there must be some logical connection which proves or tends to prove the other. It must be one of a system of mutually dependent crimes, said he.

“I intend to show,” said he, “that this crime was one of a system of mutually dependent crimes.”

The solicitor contended that he had the right to introduce evidence of transactions which serve to illustrate the state of mind of the defendant or his intention or purpose.

“The fact,” he said, “that they are simply crimes, does not make them inadmissible.”


The solicitor asked if he should proceed with argument on his second proposition—involving his right to enter testimony corroborative of Conley’s. Judge Roan told him to proceed with that argument.

While the solicitor argued Attorney Rosser sat in the witness’ chair, lolling back, with his legs crossed, rubbing his head.

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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


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


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.

* * *

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

Roan’s Ruling Heavy Blow to Defense

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

Atlanta Georgian
August 7th, 1913

Judge Roan administered a severe blow to the defense Wednesday when he ruled that all of Conley’s story should stand, although portions of it, he acknowledged, would have been inadmissible had objection been made at the time the testimony was offered.

Judge to Rule as Case Proceeds.

It was a particularly difficult allegation to combat. Unlike many allegations, it was exactly as hard to fight in the event it was false as in case it was founded on fact.

Judge Roan said in regard to the testimony of Dalton that he did not know what it was to be and that he would allow it to be presented so that he might rule on its admissibility as it came up.

Solicitor Dorsey put the final rivet in his case so far as it rested upon the testimony of Conley when at the close of his redirect examination of the negro he brought to light the State’s theory of the disposition that had been made of the Phagan girl’s mesh bag.

Practically no mention of the mesh bag had been made during the week and a half of the trial. The only reference made to it was in the examination of Mrs. J. W. Coleman, mother of the slain girl, and of the officers who visited the scene of the crime immediately after police headquarters was called by the negro nightwatchman, Newt Lee.

Tells of Mesh Bag.

Mrs. Coleman testified that Mary left home with the mesh bag in her hand. The detectives and policemen all testified that they were able to find no trace of it either the morning after the crime or in the search that had been conducted since then.

“Did you ever see the murdered girl’s mesh bag?” Dorsey asked Conley, just as it appeared that he had finished his questioning.

“Yes, sah, I see it,” Conley replied.

“Where was it?”
“It was right on Mr. Frank’s desk when I went in there to write the notes.”

“Did you see what became of it?”
“Yes, sah; Mr. Frank went and put it in his safe.”

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State Ends Case Against Frank

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

Atlanta Georgian
August 7th, 1913

Dalton Corroborates Jim Conley’s Story


With the cross-examination of Dr. H. F. Harris, the State Thursday afternoon rested its case against Leo M. Frank accused of the murder of Mary Phagan.

Dr. L. W. Childs was called by the defense as its first witness to rebut the testimony of Dr. Harris.

The mysterious C. B. Dalton, who was expected to make sensational revelations of incidents in which Leo Frank was alleged to have participated in the National Pencil Factory, proved a very tame and commonplace witness when he was called Thursday.

The most that Dalton could say was that, on several of his visits to the factory, he had seen women in Frank’s office. He told of no compromising situations. He was not even able to identify the women. He did not know whether or not they were members of Frank’s own family. All that he knew was that they did not appear to be stenographers as he never saw them writing.

Dalton, when he was questioned by Luther Rosser, was not even sure of his own birthplace. He thought it was somewhere in Laurens County. He explained his presence by saying that he had gone to the factory with a Miss Daisy Hopkins. He said that he saw Frank in the office with two or three women, and that cool drinks generally were in evidence. On one occasion he said Frank and his visitors were drinking beeer.

Detective Rosser on Stand.

Detective Bass Rosser was on the witness stand for a few minutes and was questioned briefly. He testified that when he saw Mrs. Arthur White the Monday after the crime she failed to tell him that she had seen a negro in the factory the Saturday the girl was killed. He said he did not get possession of this information until May 6 or 7. It is the contention of the State that the defense suppressed these facts.

At the conclusion of Detective Rosser’s testimony, Solicitor Dorsey announced that he was prepared to rest as soon as Dr. H. F. Harris had completed the testimony which was interrupted by adjournment Wednesday afternoon. Dr. Harris was unable to appear when court opened at 9 o’clock. The prosecution had nothing more to present at 9:45 and a recess was taken until Dr. Harris arrived at 11:10.

Reuben Arnold began at once on a cross-examination of Dr. Harris as soon as the physician took the stand. He forced Dr. Harris to say that there is much uncertainty in drawing conclusions about digestive functions and their time limitations.

Solicitor Dorsey also asked for the submission of the National Pencil Company’s cash book and bank book before he rested his case. This was agreed to by Frank’s lawyers.

The defense announced that its first witness probably would be Dr. L. W. Childs, who would be called to start an immediate attack upon the testimony presented by Dr. Harris.

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Dr. H. F. Harris Will Take Stand This Afternoon

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

Atlanta Constitution
August 4th, 1913

Secretary of State Board of Health Will Resume Testimony Interrupted by His Collapse on Last Friday.


Friends and Relatives Besiege Prisoner in Cell on Sunday. Shows Little Evidence of Strain of Trial, Say Jail Officials.

The state will open this afternoon’s session of the Frank trial with Dr. Roy Harris on the stand, it is stated, if the physician’s health is as much improved as it was on Sunday.

The solicitor had not finished his examination of Dr. Harris on Friday afternoon when he collapsed upon the stand and necessitated the support of Deputy Sheriff Plennie Miner in moving from the courtroom.

A sharp clash is expected between the state and defense over Dr. Harris’ testimony. In an exacting cross examination of Dr. J. W. Hurt Saturday morning, the defense proved that many of the opinions held by the two physicians were conflicting.

State Will Use Photo.

The solicitor has requested a reporter of The Constitution to produce in court this morning a photograph taken by The Constitution staff photographer on the morning of the discovery of the murder of the spot in the pencil factory basement at which Mary Phagan’s body was found. Just what use to which the picture will be put has not been divulged.

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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


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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Dorsey Pleased With Progress

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

Atlanta Constitution
August 3rd, 1913

Solicitor Will Put Dr. Roy Harris on the Stand Again on Next Tuesday Afternoon.

While Solicitor Hugh M. Dorsey declined to make an expression of what he believed would be the outcome of the case against Leo M. Frank, which he has been prosecuting all the week, he expressed himself yesterday afternoon as thoroughly satisfied with the present progress.

The solicitor held an extended conference immediately after court adjourned with his assistant, E. A. Stephens, and with Attorney Frank A. Hooper, who is aiding him, and together with the lawyers went over what had been done and mapped out their program for the coming week.

With the attorneys were detectives J. N. Starnes and Pat Campbell and others who have assisted in getting up the evidence and working the preparation of the case.

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Fixing Hour of Girl’s Death Through Aid of Modern Science The Prosecution’s Greatest Aid

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

Atlanta Constitution
August 3rd, 1913

By Britt Craig.

When Mrs. J. W. Coleman, mother of Mary Phagan, related a simple story on the witness stand the first day of the Frank trial of the slain child’s frugal meal of cabbage and biscuit which she ate upon leaving home that fateful day, she paved the way for the most thrilling development thus far in the entire case.

Her story was as devoid of thrills as any yet told. It was an ordinary recitation of a common meal and told in the mother’s plain, simple manner. Had she not broke into tears her connection would have been completely devoid of interest, except for the fact that she was Mary Phagan’s mother.

But her statement of the meal the murdered child had eaten, prepared an opening for the startling testimony of Dr. Roy F. Harris, the state chemist, who testified that the cabbage found in the stomach, and which Mrs. Coleman stated the child had eaten at the noon meal, indicated that she had met her death within 45 minutes after eating.

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State’s Case Against Frank As It Stands After Week’s Testimony Is Shown Here

Photo-diagram of court room in old city hall building, where Leo M. Frank, superintendent of the National Pencil factory, is on trial for his life charged with the murder of Mary Phagan. Although the available seats are taken soon after court convenes, the crowd waits without all day for some weary spectator to give up a seat. On the second floor the many witnesses await their turn for a grueling examination by attorneys on either side.

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

Atlanta Journal
August 3rd, 1913

Most Important Points State Sought to Prove Are That Mary Phagan Was Killed Shortly After Entering Factory—That Crime Was on Second Floor, and That Frank Was Not in His Office at the Time He Saw He Gave Her the Pay Envelope

An entire week has been given over to the trial of Leo M. Frank, charged with the murder of Mary Phagan, and so far the state has not shown or attempted to show any direct connection on the part of the defendant with the crime. Solicitor Dorsey has worked systematically to weave a chain of circumstantial evidence about Frank.

Those who have watched the progress of the trial day by day are impressed with the fact that he has endeavored by the introduction of circumstantial evidence to pave the way for the testimony of James Conley, the negro sweeper, who will be the climax witness for the state and upon whose evidence the case against Frank will largely stand or fall.

The state swore but twenty-six witnesses when the trial began Monday afternoon, but up to date it has called thirty and the indications are that still others are to be put upon the stand. The defense has not put up a single witness and can not do so until the state rests its case. However, Attorneys Rosser and Arnold, counsel for Frank, have administered severe cross-examinations to the more material of the state’s witnesses and in many instances have succeeded in minimizing the evidence given by them on their direct examination.

The state has sought to show by its witnesses:

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Defense Will Introduce Witnesses

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

Atlanta Journal
August 3rd, 1913


Indications Saturday, When Court Adjourned Until Monday Morning at 9 o’Clock, Were That State Would Require at Least Two More Days Before Concluding Presentation of Its Case Against the Factory Superintendent


Dr. H. F. Harris Will Take the Stand Again Monday Afternoon and Will Probably Be Under Cross-Examination for Several Hours—Conley Will Be State’s Last Witness, and a Big Battle Will Rage Around His Testimony


Leo M. Frank is apparently standing the strain of the tedious trial remarkably well, and the expression of his face seldom changes during the introduction of evidence. According to his jailers he still sleeps soundly every night, and he has never lost his appetite.

Few people have ever discussed the actual evidence in the case with him, and no expression of an opinion from him about the case, which the state has put up against him, has reached the public.

Frank is quoted as having made only this comment before Saturday’s session started: “It is terrible for an innocent man to be charged with a most damnable crime. Even if he is cleared he can never get over the fact that he was charged and tried for the crime.”

Solicitor General Hugh M. Dorsey admits that he was practically completed his “circumstantial” case against Leo M. Frank, although the state has several witnesses who will be put on the stand this week before the state’s case is concluded.

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Startling Statements Made During Testimony of Dr. Harris

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

Atlanta Constitution
August 2nd, 1913

Making the startling declaration that Mary Phagan had been killed within thirty or forty-five minutes after she had eaten dinner, Dr. Roy F. Harris, state chemist, took the stand during the afternoon session yesterday.

It was Dr. Harris who made the autopsy upon the body when it was disinterred in Marietta on May 5. He brought with him into court specimens of predigested cabbage which had been removed from the slain girl’s stomach.

He also testified to the effect that the girl had suffered violence before death and recited the condition in which he had found blood vessels and tissues of the girl’s organs.

He was questioned first by Solicitor Dorsey.

“What is your occupation?”

“I am a physician.”

“How long have you been a physician?”

“Since 1889.”

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Mary Phagan Murdered Within Hour After Dinner

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

Atlanta Constitution
August 2nd, 1913


Wound on Eye of Girl Victim of Pencil Factory Crime Looked as if It Came From Blow of Fist, Secretary of State Board of Health Tells the Jurymen.


Frequent Clashes Take Place During Testimony of N. V. Darley, Assistant Superintendent of National Pencil Factory, Over the Alleged Nervousness of Frank.

Within three-quarters of an hour after she had eaten her frugal breakfast of cabbage and bread, Mary Phagan was dead.

This startling fact was brought out at Friday’s session of the Leo M. Frank trial, when Dr. Roy Harris, secretary of the state board of health, took the stand to tell of the post-mortem examination he performed on the body of the child.

The time of the murder has always been a mooted question. When Dr. Harris made his declaration and exhibited a small bottle containing particles of cabbage, which had been taken from the stomach and which had not had time to digest, a thrill went through the court room.

Crowd on the Qui Vive.

As soon as Dr. Harris entered the court room during the afternoon session, the crowd seemed to sense the dramatic situation which was to follow.

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Dr. Harris Collapses on Stand as He Gives Sensational Evidence

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

Atlanta Journal
August 2nd, 1913

Physician Testifies at Frank Trial That Mary Phagan Met Death Half Hour After Lunch—Describes Wounds

Secretary of State Board of Health Compelled to Leave the Witness Stand on Account of Illness

In the midst of sensational testimony, Dr. H. F. Harris, secretary of the state board of health, collapsed Friday afternoon on the witness stand and was excused until Saturday. Dr. Harris and just testified that his examination of the contents of the stomach of little Mary Phagan showed that the dinner which she had eaten before leaving home was still undigested, and he therefore concluded that he little girl was killed within thirty minutes or three-quarters of an hour after she had eaten. Part of the undigested food taken from the stomach was exhibited in the court room. It had been preserved in alcohol.

Dr. Harris testified that there was no evidence of an assault but there were indications of some kind of violence having been committed. He thought this violence had preceded her death five or ten minutes.

Before he finished his testimony Dr. Harris became suddenly ill, his voice became faint and he begged to be excused. He promised to return Saturday, if possible. He said he had gotten up from a sick bed to come to court. He was assisted from the court room.

Also featuring the opening of the Phagan, was the testimony given by N. afternoon session of the trial of Leo M. Frank charged with the murder of Mary V. Darley under cross-examination of Attorney Reuben R. Arnold, for the defense.

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Harris Testimony May Be Stricken by Court

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

Atlanta Journal
August 2nd, 1913

Question Will Be Solved by Physician’s Recovery and Return to Stand

If Dr. H. F. Harris, secretary of the state board of health, is not physically able to be presented in the court room before the state closes its case, will his testimony be stricken from the record?

This question came for informed discussion at the court house Saturday. Dr. Harris was suddenly attacked with illness while in the middle of his direct examination and had to be assisted from the witness stand. The defense attorneys, therefore, had no opportunity to cross-question him.

Solicitor Dorsey, when asked if the testimony would be withdrawn said that he did not know.

“It would be a question for debate,” he said.

Another prominent local attorney not connected with the case gave as his off-hand opinion that the testimony could not be erased from the records. He also pointed out that, with the permission of the court, Solicitor Dorsey could recall Mr. Harris to the stand to complete his direct examination and for the cross-examination of the defense any time before the final arguments to the jury begin.

At the residence of Dr. Harris, 52 Ponce de Leon avenue, it was Saturday afternoon that the doctor was improved today and expected to be ready to go on the stand Monday morning. He was confined to his bed during the morning and early afternoon, but shortly after 1 o’clock arose with the remark that he was feeling better.

In the event that Dr. Harris’ health will permit him to come to court Monday morning he probably will precede James Conley, negro sweeper, on the stand.

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


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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