Sensations in Phagan Case at Hand

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

The Atlanta Georgian

Tuesday, June 17, 1913

Out-of-Town Trips Believed To Be of Great Importance—Defense Has Strong Evidence.

Frank A. Hooper, associate counsel with Solicitor General Hugh M. Dorsey in the prosecution of the Phagan murder mystery, left Atlanta Monday for a trip to Indianapolis. Attorney Hooper was the third man closely connected with the Phagan case to leave town within a space of three days.

Colonel Thomas B. Felder, who took an active part in the hunt for the slayer of Mary Phagan until the dictograph controversy arose, left Sunday, saying that he was going to Cincinnati. He said that it was a business trip and intimated that it was related either to his quarrel with Chief of Detectives Lanford or directly with the Phagan case.

Solicitor Dorsey left the previous afternoon. He gave out that the prosecution entirely had completed its preparation of the Phagan case and that he was going away for a week’s rest at Atlantic City and New York.

Deny Mystery.

At the Hooper home Tuesday it was admitted that Mr. Hooper’s trip was on business, but denial was made that it was in connection with the Phagan case or that there was any significance in his departure practically at the same time as that of Solicitor Dorsey and Colonel Felder.

Rumors are circulating, however, that material witnesses in the case have been uncovered and that their testimony may have a most important bearing in determining the person who strangled Mary Phagan. It is said that the sudden trips out of town of Solicitor Dorsey and his associate, Attorney Hooper, may not be unrelated to these new developments.

The prosecution has been aware for some time that the attorneys for the defense have been weaving a strong net of damaging evidence around the negro sweeper, Jim Conley.

But Attorney Luther Z. Rosser, following his custom of silence, has let neither the public nor the prosecution in on the secret of the source of this important evidence. He has scores of affidavits. That much is known by the prosecution, but by whom they are signed will probably remain a deep mystery until the Frank trial begins. Continue Reading →

Leo Frank Reported Ready for His Trial

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

Atlanta Constitution

Tuesday, June 10, 1913

Many Witnesses Are Being Examined Every Day by Attorneys for the Defense

That counsel for Leo Frank is ready for trial was freely reported over the city Monday.

Attorney Luther Z. Rosser, his lawyer, when asked regarding this report, gave the reply that has been characteristic of his attitude during the Phagan case.

“I have nothing to say.” He would in nowise commit himself.

It is understood, however, that Mr. Rosser has informed friends that the defense is ready and that there will be no delay in putting it before the jury, which is to try the pencil factory superintendent. In fact, it is stated Frank’s counsel is desirous of an early trial.

Many witnesses are being examined daily by Frank’s attorneys. Pencil plant employees and character witnesses by scores will assist his counsel. Secrecy is thrown around the nature of all testimony.

Chief Lanford said Monday that he had finished examining Jim Conley, the negro sweeper, and that unless the prisoner called for detectives to make further voluntary admissions, he would not again be questioned.

Detectives Harry Scott and John Black spent the early part of last night searching for the victim’s mesh bag. After hours of hunting on the premises of the pencil plant, they were unable to discover a clew. The bag is wanted to examine the finger prints on it.

* * *

Atlanta Constitution, June 10th 1913, “Leo Frank Reported Ready for His Trial,” Leo Frank case newspaper article series (Original PDF)

Conley Re-enacts in Plant Part He Says He Took in Slaying

conley-re-enacts

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

Atlanta Georgian

Thursday, May 29th, 1913

With Detectives Looking On, Negro Shows How He Carried Girl’s Body to Basement at Direction, as He Swear, of His Employer, Leo Frank.

As a sensational climax to the confession of his part of the Mary Phagan tragedy, Jim Conley, negro sweeper, was taken to the National [P]encil Factory Friday afternoon, where he enacted by movement every detail of the event that took place in the building of mystery after the death of the little girl.

With the detectives noting every sentence that fell from the ready lips of the negro, Conley started from the exact point at the top of the stairs on the second floor where he says Leo Frank met him, and went through the grim drama with a realism that convinced all who listened and watched that he at last was telling the whole truth.

He reproduced the conversations that passed between him and Frank. He lay down full length at the rear of the metal room to show precisely how the body of the little girl lay when he first saw it. He lay partly on his face, with his right leg slightly drawn up, to portray the position of the dead girl when he first saw her as he was led to the rear of the building, as he says, by Leo Frank.

Show How Body Laid.

Later in the basement he lay down again to show the detectives just how the body was dropped to the ground as though it had been a sack of salt. The negro lay on his face. His right arm was curled up under his body. The left arm was partly under his body, but straight. His feet pointed toward the rear door and his head toward the front of the building.

The announcement that this spectacular reproduction of the crime was to take place was made at the end of another third degree session in the office of Chief Lanford. The negro was put in Chief Beavers’ automobile. All the curtains were drawn and the utmost secrecy was maintained. Only those in authority in the factory were aware that the tragedy was to be re-enacted, step by step.

Conley was handcuffed to Chief Beavers when he stepped from the car. Many of the employees, at leisure during the noon hour, were congregated at the foot of the stairs on the first floor when the strange procession filed up the stairs. The city detectives had come on foot. Chief Lanford and Chief Beavers, with the negro, arrived a few minutes later. Continue Reading →

Negro Sweeper Tells the Story of Murder Notes

Negro Sweeper Tells

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

Atlanta Constitution

Thursday, May 29th, 1913

James Conley Makes New Affidavit, Swearing That He Wrote at the Dictation of Leo M. Frank.

EVIDENCE CHAIN NOW COMPLETE, SAY POLICE

Conley Declares Frank Gave Him $2.50 for Writing the Notes—He Writes “Night Witch” for Night Watchman.

James Conley, the negro sweeper at the National Pencil factory, in which little Mary Phagan was murdered, made a new affidavit Wednesday morning in which he threw additional light on the case, incriminating Leo M. Frank, and which detectives think will solve the long-drawn-out mystery.

“Write ‘night watchman,’” he is said to have been commanded by detectives Wednesday morning. The result was ‘night witch,’ just as in the note found by the body of the murdered girl. This, the detectives declare, is the strongest corroboration of his statement that he wrote the notes at the direction of Frank, the factory superintendent.

The city detectives are said to put full credence in his statements now, as in the new affidavit he is said to have sworn that the notes were written on Saturday, about 1 o’clock, and not on Friday, as he first declared.

Feared for His Neck.

His reason for deception the first time is said to be that he feared for his own neck if he admitted the truth. As matters stand now, he is regarded by the detectives merely as an unwilling tool, and not as an accomplice of the murderer, whomever he may be.

According to this new affidavit, the negro’s complete story of his part in the affair is said to be as follows: Continue Reading →

Conley Says Frank Took Him to Plant on Day of Slaying

Conley Says

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

Atlanta Georgian

Wednesday, May 28th, 1913

Negro Sweeper in New Affidavit Denies His Former Testimony and Makes Startling Assertions; Now Declares He Wrote Notes Saturday.

James Conley, negro sweeper, in an affidavit made Wednesday, said that he was lying when he said he went to the National Pencil Factory on Friday. He said that he made the statement that it was Friday when Frank (as he says) told him to write the death notes, because he was afraid he would be accused of the murder of Mary Phagan if he told the truth.

He said he felt that if he said he was there Saturday the police would connect him with the murder. Conley said he got up between 9 and 9:30 o’clock Saturday morning, he knew the time because he looked at the clock on the Atlanta University from his front door. He returned indoors and had breakfast.

He got three silver dollars from his wife to exchange for paper money so that she would not lose it. He continued: Continue Reading →

Conley Reported to Admit Writing Notes Saturday

Conley Reported to Admit

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

Atlanta Constitution

Wednesday, May 28th, 1913

Negro Sweeper, It Is Stated, Acknowledges That He Erred in Former Statement to the Detectives.

POLICE NOW SATISFIED WITH NEGRO’S EVIDENCE

Conley Is Taken to Frank’s Cell, But Prisoner Refused to See Him Except in the Presence of His Lawyer.

In a gruelling three-hour third degree at police headquarters last night, James Conley, the negro pencil factory sweeper, is reported to have made the statement that he erred in the date of his original confession and that he wrote the murder notes at Leo Frank’s dictation at 1 o’clock on the Saturday of Mary Phagan’s disappearance instead of the preceding Friday.

In an effort to confront the suspected pencil plant superintendent with this acknowledgement, Chief Beavers, Chief Lanford and Harry Scott, of the Pinkertons, took the negro to the Tower at 8 o’clock, where they tried to gain admission to Frank’s cell. Sheriff Mangum refused entrance unless permitted by Frank.

When word came to him that the police chiefs and the Pinkerton man desired to confront him with Conley, the prisoner positively refused them an audience, declaring that he would have to first consult his counsel, Attorney Luther Rosser.

Secrecy Shrouds Confession.

Secrecy shrouds the negro’s reported confession amendment. All three men who subjected him to the third degree admit that he has made a statement of importance, but will neither deny nor affirm the rumor of his change of dates. Chief Lanford was seen by a reporter for The Constitution at police headquarters a few minutes after the negro had been returned to his cell.

He admitted that an important admission had been made by Conley, and, that as a result, he would be used as a material witness against Frank. Continue Reading →

Pinkerton Man Says Frank is Guilty

Pinkerton Man Says Frank GuiltyAnother in our series of new transcriptions of contemporary articles on the Leo Frank case.

Atlanta Georgian

Monday, May 26th, 1913

Pencil Factory Owners Told Him Not to Shield Superintendent, Scott Declares.

Harry Scott, assistant superintendent of the Pinkertons, announced Monday his belief that Leo M. Frank was responsible for the slaying of 14-year-old Mary Phagan April 26. He added that his agency had been working on this theory from the time its services were engaged by officials of the National Pencil Company, two days after the crime.

Scott previously had said the Pinkertons were on the case to find the guilty man, even though it might be Frank. His latest statement is believed to have been prompted by the attack on the Pinkertons by Colonel Thomas B. Felder.

Mr. Scott declared he not only believed Frank responsible for the killing, but that he proposed to lay his evidence before the court and assist in the prosecution of the factory superintendent. He is in possession, he said, of considerable evidence which has not been made public.

Soon after the investigation was undertaken, Scott says he went to the men employing him and asked if he was supposed to protect Frank. He said if he was he would have to throw up the job. He was told, he said, that he had been engaged to find the guilty man, whoever he might be. It was on this assurance the Pinkertons continued the investigation, according to Scott.

* * *

Atlanta Georgian, May 26th 1913, “Pinkerton Man Says Frank is Guilty,” Leo Frank case newspaper article series (Original PDF)

Leo Frank Trial: Week Four

Leo-Frank-closeup-340x264Originally published by the American Mercury on the 100th anniversary of the Leo Frank trial.

Join The American Mercury as we recount the events of the final week of the trial of Leo Frank (pictured) for the slaying of Mary Phagan.

by Bradford L. Huie

ON THE HEELS of Leo Frank’s astounding unsworn statement to the court, the defense called a number of women who stated that they had never experienced any improper sexual advances on the part of Frank. But the prosecution rebutted that testimony with several rather persuasive female witnesses of its own. These rebuttal witnesses also addressed Frank’s claims that he was so unfamiliar with Mary Phagan that he did not even know her by name. (For background on this case, read our introductory article, our coverage of Week One,  Week Two, and Week Three of the trial, and my exclusive summary of the evidence against Frank.)

Here are the witnesses’ statements, direct from the Brief of Evidence, interspersed with my commentary. The emphasis and paragraphing (for clarity) is mine. The defense recommenced with a large contingent of Frank’s friends, business associates, and employees who would say that Leo Frank was of good character and had not, to their knowledge, made any improper sexual approaches to the girls and women who worked under him: Continue Reading →

Frank is Guilty, Says Pinkerton

sept_harry-scottAnother in our series of new transcriptions of contemporary articles on the Leo Frank case.

Atlanta Constitution

Monday, May 26th, 1913

Sufficient Evidence Found to Convict Him, Declares Man Hired by the National Pencil Company.

Announcing that he had secured evidence sufficient to convict his employer Harry Scott, assistant superintendent of the Pinkertons, who has been retained by the National Pencil company since the second day of the Phagan tragedy, said to a reporter for The Constitution Sunday night that it was his intention to help prosecute the suspected superintendent.

Scott has been in command of the Pinkerton forces working on the investigation. His employment came about in answer to a telephone call from Frank on Monday morning following the murder. He was engaged, he states, for the sole purpose of finding the murderer.

Scott’s Connection With Case.

His connection with the case was explained once before when he was called to the stand at the coroner’s inquest. The Constitution Sunday morning published an exclusive story explaining that although Scott was employed by Frank’s defense, and although reports of the Pinkertons daily progress were submitted to the prisoner’s counsel he was working on the theory that Frank was guilty. Continue Reading →

“I Have No Proof of Bribery in Phagan Case,” Says Chief

I have no ProofAnother in our series of new transcriptions of contemporary articles on the Leo Frank case.

Atlanta Journal

Monday, May 26th, 1913

Chief Detective Declares He Has No Direct Evidence of Attempt to Influence Witnesses, as Published

CONLEY STICKS TO STORY UNDER SEVERE GRILLING

His Statement That He Wrote Notes at Frank’s Dictation a Disturbing Element—Search for Evidence Continues

Chief of Detectives Lanford positively denied to The Journal Monday afternoon that he has secured any proof of efforts to bribe witnesses in the Phagan case proper.

The official made this statement, when questioned about the numerous rumors and reports of bribery of witnesses, some of which have been published and given general circulation.

Chief Lanford states that he is in possession of no affidavits relating to attempts to bribe Phagan witnesses, nor has he proof of any sort, he says, which would show that friends of the man indicted for the murder or anyone else, had sought to bribe any witness.

Chief Lanford says, however, that he personally believes that efforts to influence witnesses have been made, and that he is vigorously probing the rumors.

The indictment of Leo M. Frank, on a charge of murdering Mary Phagan has not halted the several investigations of the case. Monday morning neither the city detectives, the Pinkertons nor the Burns forces ceased their efforts to unearth new and cumulative evidence in the case.

The principal efforts of the detectives are now as they have been since from the beginning, directed towards securing evidence to building up the state case against the factory superintendent. Continue Reading →

Frank Indicted in Phagan Case

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

Atlanta Constitution

Sunday, May 25th, 1913

He Will Not Go to Trial Before the Latter Part of June, According to Solicitor General Dorsey.

Leo M. Frank, indicted Saturday afternoon for the murder of Mary Phagan, the 14-year-old girl whose dead body was found at 3 o’clock on the morning of April 27 in the basement of the National Pencil factory, will not go to trial before the latter part of June, according to a statement which Solicitor General Hugh M. Dorsey made last night.

Newt Lee, the negro night watchman, who called the police to the place, was left under consideration by the grand jury. A bill of indictment charging him with the same murder was presented to the grand jury with the bill against the factory superintendent, but the grand jury failed to act, and it is believed that his case will be allowed to rest, pending the trial of the indicted man.

Both Confined in Tower.

Both Superintendent Frank and the negro, Lee, have been confined in the Tower since they were ordered held by the coroner’s jury for the murder of the girl.

In discussing the time of Frank’s trial, the solicitor stated that he could not say when it would be started.

“It will not be possible to hold it before the latter part of June,” he asserted, “and whether or not it is held then depends on a number of things. I have much work to do to get the case ready and there is also the defense to be considered, as they may secure additional time. Continue Reading →

The Leo Frank Trial: Week Two

jim-conley-340x264Originally published by the American Mercury on the 100th anniversary of the Leo Frank trial.

The trial of Leo Frank for the murder of Mary Phagan ended its second week 100 years ago today. Join us as we delve into the original documents of the time and learn what the jurors learned.

by Bradford L. Huie

THE EVIDENCE that National Pencil Company Superintendent Leo Frank had murdered 13-year-old child laborer Mary Phagan was mounting up as the second week of Frank’s trial began in Atlanta, and passions were high on both sides as star witness Jim Conley (pictured) took the stand.

The attempt to frame the innocent black  night watchman, Newt Lee, had failed, despite 1) the “death notes” left near the body implicating him, 2) the bloody shirt planted in his trash barrel, and 3) the forged time card supposedly showing that he had left his post for several hours the night the murder was discovered. Although no one of significance suspected Lee at this point, the defense would still try to attack the medical testimony that placed the murder near midday on April 26, and would introduce Lee’s second alleged time card, provided by Frank, purporting to show that Lee had many hours unaccounted for on the night of the 26th and the early morning hours of the 27th of April.

Newt Lee’s testimony of Frank’s peculiar behavior that afternoon and evening was compelling. Another African-American was about to become pivotal in this case: factory sweeper Jim Conley would testify that he had helped Frank by keeping watch while Frank “chatted” with Mary alone in his office, and by assisting Frank in moving her body to the basement after she was accidentally killed. Conley was about to become central to the defense’s case, too — they would allege that Conley was the real killer. (For background on this case, read our introductory article, our coverage of Week One of the trial, and my exclusive summary of the evidence against Frank.) Continue Reading →

The Leo Frank Trial: Week One

Newt-lee-custody1-340x264

Originally published by the American Mercury on the 100th anniversary of the Leo Frank trial.

100 years ago today the trial of the 20th century ended its first week, shedding brilliant light on the greatest murder mystery of all time: the murder of Mary Phagan. And you are there.

by Bradford L. Huie

THE MOST IMPORTANT testimony in the first week of the trial of National Pencil Company superintendent Leo Frank for the murder of Mary Phagan was that of the night watchman, Newt Lee (pictured, right, in custody), who had discovered 13-year-old Mary’s body in the basement of the pencil factory during his nightly rounds in the early morning darkness of April 27, 1913. Here at the Mercury we are following the events of this history-making trial as they unfolded exactly 100 years ago. We are fortunate indeed that Lee’s entire testimony has survived as part of the Leo Frank Trial Brief of Evidence, certified as accurate by both the defense and the prosecution during the appeal process. (For background on this case, read our introductory article and my exclusive summary of the evidence against Frank.) Continue Reading →

Leo M. Frank is Indicted by Grand Jury for Mary Phagan’s Death; Negro, Newt Lee Held

Solemn Frank

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

Atlanta Journal

Saturday, May 24th, 1913

True Bills Against Pencil Factory Superintendent Returned Less Than Ten Minutes After Evidence Was Closed, at Noon, Saturday — Authority Quoted That He Will Be Tried During Third Week in June—Negro to Stay in Jail

SOLICITOR DORSEY DID NOT ASK JURY TO ACT ON BILL PENDING AGAINST NIGHT-WATCHMAN

Grand Jury’s Session Began Friday Morning — Many Witnesses Examined, but Not All That Solicitor Has Were Introduced Into Grand Jury Room—Charge Is That Frank Killed Mary Phagan by Choking Her With a Cord That He Tied

Leo M. Frank [pictured], superintendent of the National Pencil factory in the basement of which the slain body of Mary Phagan was found in the early morning of Sunday, April 27, stands formally charged with her death.

A grand jury indictment, a true bill charging that he killed Mary Phagan, was returned by the Fulton county grand jurors at 12:23 Saturday afternoon.

Less than ten minutes earlier, the jury had gone into executive session and Solicitor Dorsey, who had been conducting the examination of witnesses, had left the room. In the interval, the jury reached its verdict, and each of the jurors signed his name to the formal document upon which Frank will be arraigned on the charge of murder.

NO ACTION AGAINST NEWT LEE.

No action was taken with regard to the negro night watchman, Newt Lee, held by the coroner on a “suspicion” warrant for the grand jury.

Mr. Dorsey stated afterward that he had not asked the grand jury to take action with regard to Lee. It is probable, seemingly, that the grand jury will not return a “true” or “no” bill in Lee’s case until after the trial of Superintendent Frank. Continue Reading →

Officer Swears He Found Frank With Young Girl

Officer Swears He Found Frank With Young Girl

Robert House

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

Atlanta Constitution

Sunday, May 11th, 1913

Robert House, Now a Special Policeman, Tells the Atlanta Detectives of an Incident of Over a Year Ago.

SEES FRANK IN TOWER AND RECOGNIZES HIM

Three More Pinkertons Are Put on the Phagan Case, Under the Supervision of Harry Scott.

Detectives have procured in Robert P. House, a special policeman, a witness who has testified that he once apprehended Leo M. Frank, the suspect in the Mary Phagan mystery, and a young girl in a desolate spot of the woods in Druid Hills Park.

The policeman declares he obtained admission from Frank that he and his companion had come to the woods for immoral purpose.

House is a special officer in the employ of the Druid Hills Land company. Several days ago, he went to the tower in which the suspected superintendent was imprisoned to identify him. When he emerged from the jail, he declared he recognized the prisoner as the man he apprehended in Druid Hills.

Volunteers His Testimony.

He volunteered his testimony. Upon first reading of the Phagan murder, he recalled the incident in the woods. Recollecting that the man had told that he was superintendent of the National Pencil factory, he says he went immediately to the detective department, and an officer escorted him to Frank’s cell in the Tower.

The policeman says the incident occurred a year or more ago, some time after 2 o’clock one summer afternoon. He declares he had seen Frank enter the park frequently with a girl, and on that particular occasion decided to shadow him. As the superintendent and his girl companion stepped from the Ponce de Leon to Druid Hills trolley car at the end of the line, House says he followed them to a swampy section of the woodland, considerable distance from the roadway. Continue Reading →

Detective Harry Scott’s Testimony as Given Before Coroner’s Jury

Detective Harry Scott's Testimony as Given Before

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

Atlanta Journal

Friday, May 9th, 1913

An unexpected turn was given to the coroner’s inquest into the mysterious murder of Mary Phagan, Thursday afternoon, when Harry Scott, the Pinkerton detective who has been representing that agency in its work on the case, was called to the stand by the coroner. Mr. Scott was in the room at the moment.

One new detail that he revealed was in a reply to a direct question from the coroner, when he stated that Herbert Haas, attorney for Leo M. Frank and attorney for the National Pencil factory, requested him and superintendent of the Pinkerton agency in Atlanta to withheld [sic] from the police all evidence they gathered until he, Mr. Haas, would consider it.

Their reply, said Mr. Scott, was that they would withdraw from the case before they would do that.

He proceeded to say that he and his firm still are retained by the pencil company.

Mr. Scott was called to the stand when Assistant Superintendent Schiff, of the pencil factory, left it. Continue Reading →

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 →

With Two Men Held in Tower, Mystery of Murder Deepens

With Two Men Held in Tower, Mystery of Murder Deepens

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

Atlanta Journal

Friday, May 9th, 1913

Belief That the Detectives Had Positive Evidence, Which They Were Withholding, Dissipated by Admissions

SCOTT AND BLACK REFUSED TO NAME MAN SUSPECTED

Case Now Goes to the Grand Jury but No Action Is Expected for a Week—Search for Evidence Will Continue

Coroner Paul Donehoo and the six jurors who investigated the murder of little Mary Phagan in the National Pencil factory on April 26, concluded Thursday the most thorough and exhaustive probe of a violent death ever conducted in this county and probably in the state.

The jury recommended that Leo M. Frank, superintendent of the factory, college graduate and man of culture and refinement, and Newt Lee, an ignorant negro watchman, both be held for investigation by the grand jury.

But the mystery of Mary Phagan’s death has not been solved. Continue Reading →

Frank and Lee Ordered Held by Coroner’s Jury for Mary Phagan Murder

Leo M. Frank, factory superintendent, who, with Newt Lee, the negro night watchman, was held for the grand jury.

Leo M. Frank, factory superintendent, who, with Newt Lee, the negro night watchman, was held for the grand jury.

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

Atlanta Constitution

Friday, May 9th, 1913

Sensational Statements Made at Inquest by Two Women, One of Whom Had Been an Employee, Who Declared That Frank Had Been Guilty of Improper Conduct Toward His Feminine Employees and Had Made Proposals to Them in the Factory.

EVIDENCE IN BAFFLING MYSTERY THUS FAR, IS CIRCUMSTANTIAL, IS ADMISSION MADE BY DETECTIVES

Frank and Lee Both Go on Stand Again and Are Closely Questioned in Regard to New Lines of Evidence and Forced to Reiterate Testimony Formerly Made to Coroner’s Jury. They Will Remain in Jail Pending Action of the Grand Jury.

Leo. M. Frank, superintendent of the National Pencil factory, and Newt Lee, the negro night watchman, suspects in the Mary Phagan murder, were ordered by the coroner’s jury to be held under charges of murder for further investigation by the Fulton grand jury.

With this verdict the inquest closed at 6:28 o’clock yesterday afternoon. Frank and the negro will be held in the Tower until action is taken by the grand jury and solicitor general. The decision was reached within twenty minutes after the jury had retired.

Although much important testimony was delivered at the inquest, probably the most significant was the admission made by Detective Harry Scott, of the Pinkertons, and Detective John Black, of headquarters, both of whom declared in answer to questions that they so far had obtained no conclusive evidence or clues in the baffling mystery, and that their only success had been attained in the forging of a chain of circumstantial evidence. Continue Reading →

Stains on Shirt Were Not Made While Shirt Was Being Worn

Stains on Shirt Were Not Made While Shirt Was Being Worn

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

Atlanta Journal

Thursday, May 8th, 1913

A number of new witnesses had been summoned for the inquest, and the indications were said to be that the session (promised as final in the coroner’s investigation) might last all day.

It became known, before the inquest convened, that several witnesses whom the detectives have discovered would not be introduced there at all. The evidence that they can furnish, whatever it may be, will not become public until some later time, it was said.

It was stated further Thursday morning that the report by Dr. Claude A. Smith, city bacteriologist, upon the analysis by him of stains upon the shirt supposed to have been found at the house of Newt Lee, the negro, had been mailed to Chief of Police Beavers late Wednesday afternoon. The report set forth, it was said, that the stains are not old, and that probably they are stains of human blood. Continue Reading →