State Faces Big Task in Trial of Frank as Slayer

Luther Z. Rosser, who is leading attorney of counsel for the defense of Leo M. Frank, indicted for the murder of Mary Phagan at the National Pencil factory. Mr. Rosser, as usual, is playing a game of silence. He has not indicated his line of defense.

Luther Z. Rosser, who is leading attorney of counsel for the defense of Leo M. Frank, indicted for the murder of Mary Phagan at the National Pencil factory. Mr. Rosser, as usual, is playing a game of silence. He has not indicated his line of defense.

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

Atlanta Georgian

Tuesday, May 27th, 1913

What will be the defense of Leo M. Frank when he is called upon next month to answer to the charge of strangling little Mary Phagan?

With the confident announcement of the police Monday that they had completed a case against the factory superintendent that was as conclusive as it possibly could be without the testimony of actual eyewitnesses of the crime, this question naturally is being asked to-day by everyone who has any interest in the mystery, and that means practically every person in Atlanta.

The people will not get their answer from Luther Z. Rosser, the close-lipped and able attorney of Frank, until the trial actually begins. But even at this early date, when only the vaguest of hints have been given as to the course that will be followed in the battle to free Frank from all suspicion, it is patent that there are many openings offered the defense for attacks upon the theories of the State.

Burden of Proof on State.

Those who are close to the daily developments in Atlanta’s baffling murder mystery and who venture to predict the line of defense that will be offered are bearing in mind that, in the first place, the great burden of proof is upon the prosecution and not upon the defense.

It is absolutely necessary, due to the protection with which the law has hedged everyone under suspicion of crime, that the State in some manner, by some piece of evidence, connect Frank directly with the crime or establish his connection beyond a reasonable doubt.

Until the State is able to do this, Luther Z. Rosser may rest on his oars if he so desires. Leo Frank is innocent this moment in the eyes of the law. His innocence does not need to be proved. It is presumed. Continue Reading →

Solicitor Dorsey is Making Independent Probe of Phagan Case

Solicitor Dorsey is Making Independent Probe of Phagan Case

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

Atlanta Journal

Friday, May 2nd, 1913

Outside of Solicitor’s Activity There Have Been No Developments Since the Suspects Were Transferred to Tower

GROUNDLESS RUMORS DENIED BY OFFICIALS

Chief Lanford’s Busy Running Down Tips—Coroner’s Inquest Will Be Resumed on Monday Afternoon at 2

The Atlanta Journal has published every fact and development in connection with the mysterious murder of Mary Phagan. The Journal will continue to print news of further developments and additional evidence as the investigation proceeds. No fact has been suppressed nor will any news relating to the hunt for solution of the crime be withheld from the public. Many silly reports about a confession having been made by one or both of the prisoners held on suspicion in the case have been circulated, but they are without the slightest foundation.

AN INDEPENDENT INVESTIGATION.

Forces in the employ of the solicitor general, Hugh M. Dorsey, are making an independent investigation of the Phagan murder case, it was learned Friday. Continue Reading →

Terminal Official Certain He Saw Girl

Terminal Official Certain He Saw GirlAnother in our series of new transcriptions of contemporary articles on the Leo Frank case.

Atlanta Georgian

Thursday, May 1st, 1913

O. H. Clark, in charge of the check room at the Terminal Station, is convinced that the girl who created a scene there last week, when the man she was with attempted to board a train, was Mary Phagan.

Clark came out to-day with a story that substantiates, in part at least, the story told by the two station guards who watched the couple’s peculiar actions.

Clark asserts that the incident occurred on Saturday rather than Friday, and the man, when he finally abandoned his trip at the girl’s expostulations, went to the check room and put in his traveling bag.

Clark says he remembers distinctly that the identification tag on the bag bore the mark of the “National Pencil Company.”

New Evidence is Favorable to Mullinax.

Further evidence favorable to Arthur Mullinax, one of the suspects held in connection with the Phagan mystery, developed to-day when D. W. Adams, a street car conductor, asserted that E. L. Sentell, on whose identification Mullinax has been held, admitted immediately after the inquest that he was not sure that he saw Mullinax with Mary Phagan on Saturday night.

Adams said that Sentell seemed in doubt as to whether the girl with Mullinax was Mary Phagan or Pearl Robinson, Mullinax’s sweetheart.

It has been shown that Pearl Robinson, on Saturday night when she accompanied Mullinax to the theater, was dressed much like Mary Phagan.

* * *

Atlanta Georgian, May 1st 1913, “Terminal Official Certain He Saw Girl,” Leo Frank case newspaper article series (Original PDF)

Detectives Eliminate Evidence in Conflict with Theory that Phagan Girl Never Left Factory

Detectives Eliminate Evidence in Conflict

The big picture in the center shows the head of the detective department, Chief Newport A. Lanford. To his left is John R. Black, city detective, who was largely instrumental in convicting the Druid Hills murderers. On the extreme left at the top is Detective Pat Campbell, and below him is J. N. Starnes. To the right of the chief is Harry Scott, of the Pinkertons, who are working on the mystery. The top picture at the extreme right is City Detective S. L. (Bass) Rosser, and below is Detective W. F. Bullard.

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

Atlanta Journal

Thursday, May 1st, 1913

All Efforts Will Be Concentrated at Inquest Thursday Afternoon to Show That Testimony of Witnesses Who Claim to Have Seen Girl After She Entered Factory on Fatal Day is Vague and Indefinite and Contradictory

NIGHT WATCHMAN EXPECTED TO TAKE STAND AND GIVE INFORMATION HERETOFORE WITHHELD

This Intimation Came From Detectives Thursday Morning After the Watchman Had Been Vigorously Questioned Behind Closed Doors for More Than an Hour—Women Employees of Factory Will Be Called—Witness Admits Mistake

When the coroner’s jury reconvenes Thursday afternoon at 4:30 o’clock the city detectives will endeavor to eliminate all testimony which tends to refute the theory that Mary Phagan never left the National Pencil company’s factory after she went there to collect her two days’ wages last Saturday about noon.

The testimony of Edgar L. Sentell, employee of the Kamper’s grocery company, has been a stumbling block in the way of the case from the very first. The detectives have never believed that Mary Phagan left the factory, yet they were confronted with Sentell’s positive statement that he saw and spoke to her between 11:30 and 1:30 o’clock Saturday night. Continue Reading →

Newt Lee on Stand at Inquest Tells His Side of Phagan Case

Newt Lee on Stand at Inquest Tells His Side of Phagan Case

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

Atlanta Georgian

Wednesday, April 30th, 1913

Describes finding of body of slain girl and events at Pencil Factory before and at time of discovery of crime

Newt Lee, watchman at the National Pencil Company’s factory, who notified the police of the discovery of Mary Phagan’s body, told his complete story on the stand at the coroner’s inquest to-day.

Lee was on the stand for more than an hour and was plied with questions intended to throw light on the tragedy. He replied to questions in a straightforward way, and in detail his story is substantially the same as he has made to the reporters ever since his arrest. Continue Reading →

Tells Jury He Saw Girl and Mullinax Together

Tells Jury He Saw Girl and Mullinax TogetherAnother in our series of new transcriptions of contemporary articles on the Leo Frank case.

Atlanta Georgian

Wednesday April 30th, 1913

Edgar L. Sentell, the man who identified Mullinax as being the man he saw with Mary Phagan Saturday night was the first witness to take the stand when the coroner’s jury convened at 2:30 o’clock.

The witness said that he worked at Kamper’s grocery store, starting to work there last Thursday. He was questioned as follows:

Q. How late did you work Saturday night? A. To about 10:30 o’clock.

Q. What is your work? A. I drive a wagon.

Q. What time did you get in with your wagon Saturday night? A. About 9:30 or 10 o’clock. Continue Reading →

L. M. Frank, Factory Superintendent, Detained By Police

Leo M. Frank. Superintendent of the National Pencil company, snapped by a Journal photographer on the way to police headquarters. Mr. Frank is not under arrest, but will be a witness at the coroner's inquest.

Leo M. Frank. Superintendent of the National Pencil company, snapped by a Journal photographer on the way to police headquarters. Mr. Frank is not under arrest, but will be a witness at the coroner’s inquest.

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

Atlanta Journal

Tuesday, April 29th, 1913

Detectives Building Case on Theory that Frank and Negro Can Clear Mystery

Chief Lanford Believes That Testimony of the Superintendent and Negro Night Watchman May Lead to the Arrest of the Person Guilty of the Atrocious Crime That Has Shocked the Whole City—No Further Arrests Expected Soon

MRS. FRANK IN TEARS AT POLICE STATION WHILE HUSBAND IS UNDER EXAMINATION

Frank Was Confronted by Negro Night Watchman—His Attorney, Luther Z. Rosser, Present at Inquiry, Which Was Conducted by Chief Beavers, Chief Lanford and Detectives Behind Closed Doors—Conference Still in Progress at 2

At 1:35 o’clock Tuesday afternoon Chief of Detectives N. A. Lanford, announced that L. M. Frank, superintendent of the National Pencil company’s factory, where Mary Phagan was found murdered early Sunday morning, would be detained by the police until after the coroner’s inquest. The inquest will be resumed Wednesday morning at 9 o’clock.

Chief Lanford made this statement when he emerged from a conference which had been in progress in his office on the third floor of the police station since shortly after 1 o’clock. Continue Reading →

Mullinax Blundered in Statement, Say Police

Mullinax Blundered in Statement, Say Police

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

Atlanta Georgian

Monday, April 28th, 1913

Mullinax was arrested by detectives late in the afternoon in Bellwood Avenue, near the viaduct, as he was on his way to his boarding house.

His positive identification by E. L. Sentell, of 82 Davis Street, a clerk for the Kemper Grocery Company, as the man he saw with the little Phagan girl in Forsyth Street about 12:20 o’clock yesterday morning, and alleged discrepancies in the statement of the prisoner led Chief Beavers and Chief of Detectives Lanford to order him locked in a cell and held on suspicion.

Sentell, who knew the dead girl well and who said he spoke to her when he passed her and her companion at Forsyth and Hunter Streets, accused Mullinax as the young suspect sat in the presence of Chief Beavers, Chief Lanford, Police Captain Mayo and Detectives Black, Starnes, Rosser and Haslett, who had worked all day on the mystery.

Sentell Positive.

“That’s the man who was with the girl last night. There’s not a doubt about it—I’m positive,” said Sentell as he pointed an accusing finger at Mullinax. Continue Reading →

Lifelong Friend Saw Girl and Man After Midnight

Lifelong Friend Saw Girl and Man After MidnightAnother in our series of new transcriptions of contemporary articles on the Leo Frank case.

Atlanta Georgian

Monday, April 28th, 1913

Edgar L. Sentell, twenty-one years old, a clerk employed in C. J. Kamper’s store, and whose home is at 82 Davis Street, was one of the first to give the detectives a hopeful clue to the solution of the hideous mystery.

Sentell, a well-known young man, had known Mary Phagan almost all her life. When she was just beginning to think of dolls with never a thought of dreary factories and the tragedies of life, he used to see her playing in the streets of East Point when her folks lived there. She was a pleasant, cheerful little girl then and her later years—tragically brief—had not changed her. Her light blue eyes laughed at the world in those days with all the roguishness a Georgia country girl’s can, and the cares and worries that came when she had to make her own pitiful living had not obliterated their smile. Continue Reading →

Where and With Whom Was Mary Phagan Before End?

Where and With Whom Was Mary Phagan Before EndAnother in our series of new transcriptions of contemporary articles on the Leo Frank case.

Atlanta Georgian

Monday, April 28th, 1913

Detectives to-day are using all their resources to learn where Mary Phagan was every minute of Saturday and Saturday night, whom she saw, with whom she talked, and what she said.

There are wide blanks in the story of her movements. These must be filled.

12:10 p. m.—Mary Phagan appeared at the National Pencil Factory at ten or fifteen minutes after 12 o’clock noon, Saturday, and drew the pay due her, $1.60. She chatted a few minutes with friends. The manager is sure she then left the building.

She told her mother she was going to see the Memorial Day parade.

Did she go straight from the factory to see the procession? Who joined her? Where did she stand? When the procession had passed, where did she go? Did someone, that early in the day, start weaving around her the net which later caused her death?

10 p. m.—E. S. Skipper, 224 1-2 Peters Street, saw a girl answering the description of Mary Phagan at about 10 o’clock Saturday night. She was walking up Pryor Street near Trinity with three youths. She was crying, and seemed to be trying to get away from her companions. She seemed to be under the influence of an opiate, not of drink.

Was this, in truth, Mary Phagan? If so, who were the youths? Where had they been, and where did they go? Continue Reading →