Resume of Week’s Evidence Shows Little Progress Made

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

Atlanta Constitution
August 3rd, 1913

Place and Time of the Murder Only Big Facts Brought Out in the Mass of Evidence.

One week of the battle Leo M. Frank, accused of the murder of Mary Phagan in the factory of the National Pencil company, for his life has elapsed, and his fate is yet a question for future developments to decide.

The first week of the trial has been markedly free from sensations.

The two big facts that the week’s evidence would seem to show are that Mary Phagan was murdered in the second floor of the pencil factory, and that she was murdered within one hour after she ate her breakfast at home shortly after 11 o’clock.

The principal features of the week’s evidence are as follows:

Mary’s Mother Testifies.

The examination of witnesses began with the most pathetic scene in the whole week, when Mrs. J. W. Coleman, mother of the murdered girl, took the stand.

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Trial of Leo M. Frank on Charge of Murder Begins; Mrs. Coleman, George Epps and Newt Lee on Stand

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

Atlanta Constitution
July 29th, 1913

WATCHMAN TELLS OF FINDING BODY OF MARY PHAGAN

Trial Adjourns for the Day While Lee Is on the Stand, and His Cross-Questioning Will Be Resumed Today.

MOTHER AND THE WIFE OF PRISONER CHEER HIM BY PRESENCE AT TRIAL

Jury Is Quickly Secured and Mrs. Coleman, Mother of the Murdered Girl, Is First Witness to Take Stand.

With a swiftness which was gratifying to counsel for the defense, the solicitor general and a large crowd of interested spectators, the trial of Leo M. Frank, charged with the murder of Mary Phagan on April 26, in the building of the National Pencil factory, was gotten under way Monday.

When the hour of adjournment for the day had arrived, the jury had been selected and three witnesses had been examined. Newt Lee, the nightwatchman who discovered the dead body of Mary Phagan in the basement of the National Pencil factory, and who gave the first news of the crime to the police, was still on the stand, undergoing rigid cross-examination by Luther Z. Rosser, attorney for Frank.

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Mother’s Sorrow and Newsie’s Wit Play on Emotions at Frank Trial

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

Atlanta Journal
July 29th, 1913

Each of First Three Witnesses In Case Shows Distinct Personality and Entirely Different Side of Human Nature, Some Character Studies

Three of the witnesses who testified Monday afternoon at the Frank trial were more distinct as personalities than the characters you could see portrayed in any theater, except that very tragic one of a criminal court room.

Much testimony and such individuality as that of these witnesses, has kept the court room crowded by at least 200 people during every minute of the Frank trial—crowded with well dressed men who lean forward in their seats, intent on every detail of the trial, every question that the attorneys ask, every answer that the witnesses give.

They are first attracted to the court room by different reasons for curiosity: but they remain because of their common interest in “character.” In having a glimpse of distinct personalities, in seeing the stubbornness with which Newt Lee adheres to his testimony while lawyers try to confound him.

SORROW OF MOTHER.

Mrs. J. W. Coleman, mother of Mary Phagan, was first of the three witnesses who testified Monday afternoon. She spoke in a low voice, telling of how her daughter had left home on the day of the murder, and she seemed to have finished her testimony, when a court officer drew forth a suitcase which had been hidden behind several chairs.

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Lawyers Hammer Lee for Two Hours at Monday Afternoon Session

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

Atlanta Journal
July 29th, 1913

Negro Nightwatchman Who Found Mary Phagan’s Body in National Pencil Factory on Stand—Girl’s Mother and Newsboy Examined

Newt Lee, the negro nightwatchman who found Mary Phagan’s body in the pencil factory basement, was hammered by the defense for over two hours, on the witness stand Monday afternoon.

Mrs. J. W. Coleman, mother of the murdered child, and George W. Epps, a playmate who came to town with her on the fatal day, testified in that order. Mrs. Coleman being the first witness called to the stand when the trial started.

Newt Lee was the third witness. The testimony of the others had been brief, under direct and cross-examination. Newt Lee’s direct testimony was not extensive, but his evidence under cross-examination by Attorney Luther Rosser filled out the rest of the afternoon, and he still was on the stand under cross-examination when court recessed for the night.

At 3 o’clock court re-convened.

The jury, which had lunched in a downtown restaurant under guard of two deputy sheriffs, and then had been locked in its room, entered court.

Leo M. Frank, the accused, re-entered court and resumed his seat between his wife and his mother.

Mrs. J. W. Coleman, mother of Mary Phagan, the murdered girl, was called as the first witness. She took the stand at 3:05 o’clock.

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Mary Phagan’s Mother Testifies

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

Atlanta Georgian
July 28th, 1913

Newt Lee Repeats His Story in Court Room

Negro Watchman Swears Frank Acted Oddly Day of Crime

Here are the important developments in the trial of Leo M. Frank for the murder of Mary Phagan.

Jury chosen at 1:30 p. m.

Mrs. Coleman, girl’s mother, takes stand after recess, at 3:15, and tells of Mary leaving for the factory 11:45 a. m. on April 26.

George W. Epps, boy companion of Mary Phagan, repeats his story that he had an engagement to meet her on the afternoon of the fatal day.

Newt Lee, night watchman at the factory, begins his story of the finding of the body and subsequent developments.

Mrs. J. W. Coleman, mother of murdered Mary Phagan, was the first witness for the prosecution at the trial of Leo Frank Monday afternoon. After answering several questions she broke down completely when the solicitor exhibited the little lavender skirt worn by her daughter when she last saw her alive. She covered her face with a fan and for several minutes could not answer a question.

The first question asked her was:

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Detectives Seek Corroboration of Conley’s Story

detectives-seek-corroboration
Another in our series of new transcriptions of contemporary articles on the Leo Frank case.

Atlanta Journal

Thursday, May 29th, 1913

They Declare That They Are Anxious to Get at the Truth of the Murder Case, Regardless of Who Is Guilty

Little if any credence is placed by the city detectives in the theory of the officials and employes of the National Pencil factory that Mary Phagan was killed by James Conley, the newro [sic] sweeper, and that his motive was robbery.

The detectives have accepted as true Conley’s second affidavit, in which he swears that he wrote the notes found by Mary Phagan’s body, and that he did so about 1 o’clock on the day of the murder, at the dictation of Superintendent Leo M. [F]rank, who is now under indictment by the grand jury.

However, they are somewhat puzzled by the discrepancies in the time of certain occurrences as sworn by Conley and testified at the coroner’s inquest by other witnesses.

Harry Scott, the Pinkerton detective who is working with the city detectives on the Phagan murder case and who developed the fact that Conley could write, notwithstanding his denials, declared that the shortest route to a complete solution of the mystery is to bring the negro Conley and Superintendent Frank face to face. He says the negro insists that he is anxious and willing to confront Mr. Frank with his story, and that if Mr. Frank and his attorneys agree, they (Conley and Mr. [F]rank) will be brought together to discuss the truth or falsity of the negro’s declarations. Continue Reading →

Weak Evidence Against Men in Phagan Slaying

Solicitor General Hugh Dorsey, in a characteristic pose, examining a witness. On Solicitor Dorsey is placed dependence for the solving of the puzzling Phagan slaying case. He is making every effort to unravel the mystery.

Solicitor General Hugh Dorsey, in a characteristic pose, examining a witness. On Solicitor Dorsey is placed dependence for the solving of the puzzling Phagan slaying case. He is making every effort to unravel the mystery.

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

NO REAL SOLUTION OF PHAGAN SLAYING MYSTERY

EVIDENCE AGAINST MEN NOW HELD IN BAFFLING CASE WEAK, SAYS OLD POLICE REPORTER

Atlanta Georgian

Sunday, May 11th, 1913

Detectives in Coroner’s Jury Probe Admit They Have Nothing on Which to Convict Anyone in Mysterious Tragedy of Atlanta.

TESTIMONY BROUGHT OUT NO INCRIMINATING POINTS

BY AN OLD POLICE REPORTER.

The most sensational testimony offered at the Coroner’s inquest in the Phagan case was lost sight of entirely by the newspapers.

Juror Langford asked Detective Black, who was on the witness stand: “Have you discovered any positive information as to who committed this murder?”

Detective Black replied, “No, sir, I have not!”

Coroner Donehoo asked Detective Scott of the Pinkerton force on the witness stand:

“Have you any definite information which makes you suspect any party of this crime?”

Detective Scott replied, “I would not commit myself. I am working on a chain of circumstances. Detective Black has been with me all the time on the case and he knows about the circumstances I refer to.”

As you read this over and consider it carefully, you will be impressed by the fact that the two most important detectives engaged for a period of two weeks on the Phagan case testify under oath that they have no positive information as to who committed the crime—in fact really know nothing about it at all.

I am setting down here my own thoughts and ideas, without intending the slightest disrespect to any official, and further, I believe I am at liberty to do so because of Scott’s and Black’s testimony.

MYSTERY STILL WITHOUT SOLUTION.

In The Sunday American of last week I published an article saying that the developments of the preceding week had led nowhere, and that the mystery was then as dark and deep as any mystery that ever puzzled police and detectives. Continue Reading →

Slayer of Mary Phagan May Still be at Large

Slayer of Mary Phagan May Still Be At Large

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

Atlanta Georgian

Sunday, May 4th, 1913

The mystery of the death of pretty Mary Phagan enters upon its second week to-day with the police authorities admitting that they are still without a conclusive solution. So far as the public has been permitted to learn, the detectives are not even certain that they have in custody the person or persons responsible for her death.

In the light of present developments, the police believe that no more arrests will be made, but they admit that the entrance of another theory might entirely change the aspect of the case. The detectives base their present belief that they have the guilty man or men on the well-supported theory that Mary Phagan never left the National Pencil factory from the time she received her pay envelope on Saturday noon until her lifeless body was taken from the basement of the building.

If this police supposition is correct, guilt can rest only on one or more of the men who were in the building after noon on the day of the tragedy. The police officers have been able to learn only five who were in the factory Saturday afternoon or night, most of the employees being absent because of the Memorial Day parade. Continue Reading →

Impostors Busy in Sleuth Roles in Phagan Case

Impostors Busy in Sleuth Roles in Phagan CaseAnother in our series of new transcriptions of contemporary articles on the Leo Frank case.

Atlanta Constitution

Sunday, May 4th, 1913

Representing Themselves as Pinkertons, Two Men Are Interviewing Leading Witnesses in Mystery.

DETECTIVES WORRIED BY PLANTED EVIDENCE

Men Working on Case Believe That Some Interests May Be Trying to Fix the Crime on Suspects.

What interests are promoting the planting of evidence in the Mary Phagan mystery?

This question confronted police headquarters yesterday. Further evidence of mysterious forces underhandedly at work on the baffling case was revealed when it became known that imposters, representing themselves to be Pinkerton detectives had been questioning leading witnesses.

This new disclosure, coupled with past discoveries of obviously “framed-up” evidence, has stirred the police and solicitor’s staff to action. Arrests are expected at any moment. If the bogus detectives are caught, Chief Lanford declared they will be thrown into prison, held without bond or communication, and put through a gruelling [sic] third degree.

Why Such Methods?

Although many theories have been advanced, the police are at a loss to fathom the cause of such methods. It has even been suggested that the real murderer is at liberty, and, in the effort to avert suspicion which might be cast upon himself, is endeavoring to weave the web tighter around the suspects already under arrest. Continue Reading →

Frank Tried to Flirt With Murdered Girl Says Her Boy Chum

frank-case-2016-03-31-at-1.05.34-PM

At the left top is Detective Black, of the city, and at the right Detective Scott, of the Pinkertons. Below is a scene of the inquest. At the bottom is a sketch by Henderson of the negro, Newt Lee, whose straightforward story at the inquest has tended to lift suspicion from him.

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

Atlanta Constitution

Thursday, May 1st 1913

Mary Phagan Was Growing Afraid of Advances Made to Her by Superintendent of the Factory, George W. Epps, 15 Years Old, Tells the Coroner’s Jury.

BOY HAD ENGAGEMENT TO MEET HER SATURDAY BUT SHE DID NOT COME

Newt Lee, Night Watchman, on Stand Declared Frank Was Much Excited on Saturday Afternoon—Pearl Robinson Testifies for Arthur Mullinax—Two Mechanics Brought by Detectives to the Inquest.

LEO FRANK REFUSES TO DISCUSS EVIDENCE

When a Constitution reporter saw Leo M. Frank early this morning and told him of the testimony to the effect that he had annoyed Mary Phagan by an attempted flirtation, the prisoner said that he had not heard of this accusation before, but that he did not want to talk. He would neither affirm nor deny the negro’s accusation that never before the night of the tragedy had Frank phoned to inquire if all was well at the factory, as he did on the night of the killing.

Evidence that Leo M. Frank, superintendent of the pencil factory in which the lifeless body of Mary Phagan was found, had tried to flirt with her, and that she was growing afraid of his advances, was submitted to the coroner’s jury at the inquest yesterday afternoon, a short time before adjournment was taken until 4:30 o’clock today by George W. Epps, aged 15, a chum of the murdered victim. Continue Reading →

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 →

Boy Sweetheart Says Girl Was to Meet Him Saturday

Boy Sweetheart Says Girl Was to Meet Him Saturday

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

Atlanta Georgian

Wednesday April 30th, 1913

G. W. Epps, Jr., 14 years old, of 248 Fox Street, who lives just around the corner from Mary Phagan, and who was her boy sweetheart, testified before the Coroner’s Jury this afternoon that Mary Phagan had asked him to come down by the factory and go home with her a few days ago. She told him, he said, that Mr. Frank had been in the habit of going down to the front door and waiting there until she came out and looked suspicious at her and winked. He was asked:

Q. When did you see Mary Phagan last?—A. Saturday morning. We came to town on the car together. We got to town at 12 o’clock. When we got off the car she told me that she was going to the pencil factory to get her pay and would meet me at the (Falkin?) Drug Store at Five Points to see the parade at 2 o’clock. I looked for her all around at that time. I could not find her. I stayed there until about 4 o’clock selling papers. She never appeared. There wasn’t much of a crowd and I would have seen her if she had come.

Q. Where did you go at 4 o’clock?—A. I went to the ball game.

Q. Where did you go after that?—A. I went home, reaching there at 7 o’clock.

Q. Did you go over to Mary’s house?—A. Yes, I went over there immediately.

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Atlanta Georgian, April 30th 1913, “Boy Sweetheart Says Girl Was to Meet Him Saturday,” Leo Frank case newspaper article series (Original PDF)

Neighbors of Slain Girl Cry for Vengeance

Neighbors of Slain Girl Cry For VengeanceAnother in our series of new transcriptions of contemporary articles on the Leo Frank case.

Atlanta Georgian

Monday, April 28th, 1913

Slaying of Mary Phagan Arouses Friends of Family to Threats of Violence.

“I wouldn’t have liked to be held responsible for the fate of the murderer of little Mary Phagan if the men in this neighborhood had got hold of him last night,” was the statement to-day of George W. Epps, 246 Fox Street, whose home adjoins that of Mrs. Coleman, mother of the slain girl.

By to-day the first hot wave of indignation that cried for the blood of the criminal had had time to subside, but the feeling still ran high in the neighborhood of the Coleman home.

The murder was the sole topic of conversation. Men who knew the family and others who had seen Mary go to her work in the morning congregated in excited groups on the street corners. At first they were not willing that the law should take its course. They feared that the murderer, if he were caught, might in some way escape the consequences of his crime. Continue Reading →