Condition of Girl’s Body Described by Dr. J. W. Hurt

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

Atlanta Constitution
August 3rd, 1913

Dr. J. W. Hurt, county physician, who examined the body of Mary Phagan, took the stand following Detective Waggoner. Dr. Hurt not only made an examination on the Sunday morning that the body was found, but he was present several days later when the girl’s body was disinterred at Marietta by Dr. Roy Harris.

“How long have you been a physician?” asked Solicitor Dorsey after he had put the formal questions to establish the physician’s connection with the case.

“Since 1884.”

“What are your duties as county physician?”
“To attend all inquests and examine the bodies of the dead.”

“Did you see Mary Phagan’s body?”
“Where did you first see it?”
“At P. J. Bloomfield’s undertaking establishment on the Sunday morning that the body was found.”

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Mistrial Near When Jury Saw a Newspaper in Judge’s Hands

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

Atlanta Constitution
August 3rd, 1913

Inadvertent Action of Judge Roan Caused Quick Conference Between Attorneys for the Defense in Frank Case.


Dr. J. W. Hurt, County Physician, Takes Stand to Tell of Examination of the Dead Body of Girl—Testimony Conflicts With Harris’ at Times.

Practically nothing new was adduced from the testimony at Saturday’s session of the Leo M. Frank trial.

But by far the session—which lasted from 9 o’clock until 1 o’clock, adjournment being had until Monday—was fought with the keenest interest of any thus far held.

This was due to the fact that for a time it looked as if a mistrial might be called for by the attorneys for the defense, when inadvertently Judge Roan held up a copy of one of the afternoon newspapers containing a conspicuous headline in red ink in such a position that members of the jury could see it.

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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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Dr. J. W. Hurt, Coroner’s Physician, Gives Expert Testimony

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

Atlanta Journal
August 2nd, 1913


On Cross-Examination, Dr. Hurt Admits That Cabbage Is Considered Very Difficult to Digest and That Under Some Conditions as Much as Three Hours and a Half Might be Required Before the Process of Digestion Was Completed


He Found No Evidence of Violence, He Declared — Detective Waggoner, Chief Beavers, Detective Bass Rosser, Patrolman Lassiter and Miss Ferguson Testify — Court Adjourns Until Monday Morning at 9 o’Clock

Dr. J. W. Hurt, coroner’s physician, who examines the body of little Mary Phagan, was the principal witness introduced by the state at the Saturday morning session of the Frank trial. Dr. Hurt’s expert testimony was the subject of fierce contention between the lawyers for the defense and the state. Attorney Reuben R. Arnold succeeded in drawing from the physician testimony to offset that given on Friday by Dr. H. F. Harris. While Dr. Harris testified that he found evidence of violence of some sort having been committed, Dr. Hurt declared he did not find any evidence that would show a criminal attack of nay [sic] kind.

Dr. Hurt further admitted, in answer to Mr. Arnold’s questions, that cabbage was a difficult article of food to digest and that under some circumstances it might require three and one-half hours before the process of digestion was complete. This testimony was brought out by Mr. Arnold fro the evident purpose of disputing Dr. Harris’ conclusion that the state of digestion the cabbage was found in showed that Mary Phagan must have been killed within a half hour or forty-five minutes after eating.

When court convened Miss Helen Ferguson was cal[l]ed to the stand and testified that Frank refused to let her have Mary Phagan’s pay on Friday afternoon, the day prior to the murder, and that she was told by some one in Frank’s office that Mary would have to come to the factory Saturday and draw her own pay. Attorney Rosser drew from the witness on cross-examination the admission that she had never before drawn the Phagan girl’s pay and that she didn’t know whether Frank knew her name or not.

R. L. Waggoner, one of the city detectives, was next called and told of how Frank twisted his hands on Tuesday, April 29, at the National Pencil factory. The witness said that he accused appeared at the window of his office twelve times in a half hour and each time twisted his hands and looked down as if he was in a very nervous state. Detective Waggoner said that he had been sent there to watch Frank and the factory prior to the accused’s arrest.

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Defense Threatens a Mistrial

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

Atlanta Georgian
August 2nd, 1913

Newspaper on Judge’s Desk Causes Protest


A genuine sensation was sprung at the trial of Leo M. Frank Saturday morning when Luther Rosser and Reuben Arnold, attorneys for the defense, asked the State to consent to a new trial on the ground that Judge Roan had allowed the jury to catch a glimpse of a headline in the first extra of The Georgian.

Judge Roan had laid the paper on the stand in front of him, and, according to the defense, the headline across the first page could be read by the men in the jury box.

The headline said: “State Adding Links to Chain.”

The defense’s lawyers went into immediate conference with the judge, and a few minutes later asked Solicitor Dorsey to consent to a new trial. The Solicitor refused.

Rosser Asks Explanation.

Rosser and Arnold then came into the courtroom and asked that the jury be withdrawn.

Rosser addressed the court:

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First Two Days of Frank Trial Only Skirmishes Before Battle

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

Atlanta Constitution
July 30th, 1913

During the two days’ progress of the Frank trial public interest has centered around the case and all eyes seemed turned to it. To date, the interest has really been in watching the struggle between the skilled attorneys who are fighting for position and whose clashes over the preliminary witnesses are merely the skirmishes of the pickets before two mighty armies come together.

Thus far the interest, while to a certain extent centered on the maneuvering, has been mostly of the future tense. Every one is looking forward to what is to come. A fierce skirmish that almost engaged the two sides in real and earnest conflict came over the cross-examination of Newt Lee, and in it the state won. It was rather through the rare character of the negro testifying and his unbreakable spirit that the state won its first skirmish than through the efforts of its lawyers.

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Many Experts to Take Stand in Frank Trial

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

The Atlanta Georgian

Sunday, June 29, 1913

Great Array of Finger-Print and Blood-Stain Students Will Give Their Views.

The trial of Leo M. Frank will bring forth the most prominent array of criminal and medical experts ever grouped in a Southern court room.

This became known Saturday when Solicitor Hugh M. Dorsey began making preparations to have the skilled investigators who have worked in the Phagan case return to Atlanta for the trial, July 28.

The defense has not been idle and is prepared to have an expert on almost every conceivable angle to introduce in rebuttal.

Fingerprint experts were brought into the case almost immediately after it was taken from the hands of the police by Solicitor Dorsey. One of the most prominent of these, who has figured in solving many New York mysteries, was the first to be brought South. He spent several days in a minute investigation of the scene of the crime, articles of clothing and the fingerprints of every suspect in the case. Other experts in the same line followed him.

Solicitor Dorsey did not trust wholly to the examination of Dr. Hurt, the Coroner’s physician, who could not qualify as an expert in the Appelbaum trial, but sent with him some of the most prominent of the Atlanta medical men.

Blood Stains Important.

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Here is Testimony of Witnesses Given at the Final Session of Coroner’s Jury in Phagan Case

Here is Testimony of Witnesses Given at the Final Session of Coroner's Jury

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

Atlanta Journal

Friday, May 9th, 1913

Full Story of Hearing Thursday Afternoon When Frank, Newt Lee, Detectives Black and Scott and Several Character Witnesses Were Placed on the Stand

The verdict of the coroner’s jury that Mary Phagan came to her death by strangulation and its recommendation that both Mr. Frank and Lee be held for investigation by the grand jury was rendered at 6:30 o’clock Thursday afternoon and marked by the conclusion of one of the most remarkable inquests ever held in this state.

Deputy Plennis Minor carried the news of the coroner’s jury verdict to Mr. Frank and to the negro. Mr. Frank was in the hallway of the Tower, reading an afternoon paper, when the deputy approached him and told him that the jury had ordered him and the negro held for an investigation by the grand jury.

“Well, it’s no more than I expected at this time,” Mr. Frank told the deputy. Beyond this he made no comment.

Newt Lee, says Mr. Minor, was visibly affected. He seemed very much depressed and hung his head in a dejected manner.

The jury was empaneled by Coroner Paul Donehoo on Monday, April 28, and has held four long and tedious sessions for the taking of testimony in addition to meeting to inspect the body and the scene of the crime. Twice the body of Mary Phagan was exhumed at the order of the coroner, in order that physicians might search more thoroughly for clues and evidence. Continue Reading →

Inquest Scene is Dramatic in its Tenseness

Miss Hattie Hall, Superintendent Leo M. Frank's stenographer, who testified to-day at the Phagan inquest.

Miss Hattie Hall, Superintendent Leo M. Frank’s stenographer, who testified to-day at the Phagan inquest.

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

Atlanta Georgian

Thursday, May 8th, 1913

Crowd in Small, Smoke-Filled Room Breathlessly Follows the Phagan Slaying Inquiry.


Jurors, Officials and Detectives Manifest Intense Interest in Replies of Witnesses.

In a small, crowded and smoke-filled room at police  headquarters, Coroner Donehoo on Thursday morning began what it is thought will be the last session of the jury impaneled to inquire into the death of Mary Phagan, strangled to death in the basement of the National Pencil Factory April 26.

The situation was tense and pregnant with possibilities. The fact that the investigation of the case is rapidly drawing to a close, coupled with the admissions of officials that new and important evidence would develop the examination of the witnesses to-day, brought out a large and curious crowd.

At one end of the long table, heaped with notebooks and typewriters, sat Coroner Donehoo, flanked on each side by members of the jury. At the foot of the table sat the newspaper reporters and the official stenographers, four in number. Facing Coroner Donehoo and the jury sat the witness. Ranged along the wall were curious spectators, relatives of the dead girl and friends of the witnesses. Long before the inquest was called every available chair in the room was taken, and late comers ensconced themselves on the window ledges.

Dorsey Takes Active Part.

Prominent among the spectators were the attorneys for Frank, Pinkerton and city detectives and county and State officials. Solicitor Hugh Dorsey sat just behind Coroner Donehoo, and took an active part in the questioning of the witnesses. While Mr. Dorsey asked no questions himself, several times he conferred with the Coroner on the best manner in which to examine the witnesses. Continue Reading →

Employe of Lunch Stand Near Pencil Factory is Trailed to Alabama

Employe of Lunch Stand Near Pencil Factory isAnother in our series of new transcriptions of contemporary articles on the Leo Frank case.

Atlanta Georgian

Wednesday, May 7th, 1913

Detectives Figure Strangling Was a Typical Mediterranean Crime—Solicitor Dorsey Grills Watchman Lee in Effort to Get New Points.

A new and sensational interpretation was given the Phagan mystery Wednesday afternoon when it was revealed that Pinkerton detectives are trailing a Greek now missing who was employed in a restaurant near the National Pencil factory before the crime was committed.

The reasons that the city detectives give for the adoption of the new theory are:

The slaying of Mary Phagan was not a negro crime, as the only negro who has been suspected in the case, Newt Lee, would have fled from the scene.

The notes which were left with the evident intention of diverting suspicion from the actual criminal were too subtle for Lee to have framed.

Strangulation, the method by which Mary Phagan was killed, is not a negro method of killing.

But this method is typical of the Mediterranean countries.

Working along these new lines, the detectives are of the opinion that the crime was not committed inside the National Pencil Factory. They believe that the girl was attacked outside the factory and that her body was taken inside with the intention of hiding it ultimately in the furnace, although the body never reached there. Continue Reading →