Detective Harry Scott’s Hunch — Thrilling Story of How it Secured James Conley’s Confession

Caption reads: Detective Harry Scott (in Panama hat), of the Pinkertons, who played the hunch that Jim Conley, the negro, knew something of the girl’s murder. The accompanying figure is Detective John Black, of police headquarters, whose work in co-operation with the Pinkerton man did much to solve the crime. Great dependence will be put in their testimony at the coming trial of Leo Frank, charged with the murder of Mary Phagan.

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

The Atlanta Constitution

Sunday, July 13, 1913

By Britt Craig.

Have you ever had a hunch that there wasn’t anybody around the table that held a higher hand than your Jacks over tens and consequently you shoved a ‘blue’ to the mahogany with the result that every hostile hand went to the discard?

Have you ever had a hunch that it was going to rain and you pulled in the rugs and took the clothes off the line and let down the windows just in time to see the elements express themselves in a downpour?

Have you ever had a hunch of any kind—one of those real, undeniable inner promptings that chases round and round in your bonnet and worries the life out of you and invariably forces you to do something that you really intended doing but about which you were sorely undecided?

If you’re human, you have.

Detective Harry Scott had one about Jim Conley, the negro sweeper in the Phagan mystery. It was one of those irresistible hunches that buzzes about like a June bug. He took it for its word with the result that he found the key that is predicted to unlock the secret of Atlanta’s most hideous murder.

Detectives are very normal beings. They have hunches like the weakest of us. They’re superstitious, too. You can’t find a single one that will walk under a ladder or fail to knock wood when he brags about himself.

A hunch is one of the most common of human afflictions. It is the very essence of a frailty that affects every normal somebody. The very fact that it is a weakness requires a nerve of steel and backbone of similar fortitude to play one to the limit like Detective Scott played his.

Good detectives, like genius, are utterly human. Genius frequently stalks about in its shirt sleeves without a shave and wearing suspenders. It has been known to chew tobacco and cuss volubly. Sometimes, it has a red nose and a thirst. It can sleep as contentedly on Decatur street as on Peachtree.

Detectives Very Human.

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Affidavits to Back Mincey Story Found

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

The Atlanta Georgian

Sunday, July 13, 1913

Attorney Leavitt Declares Tale That Conley Admitted Killing Girl Will Stand Test.

NEWT LEE STILL HELD IN JAIL

Solicitor General Hugh Dorsey Promises to Present a Bill Against Him as Suspect.

That several negro women overheard Jim Conley when he ran the insurance agent, Mincey, away with the alleged statement that he had just killed a girl and didn’t want to kill anyone else, and that the affidavits from the women are in the hands of the attorneys for the defense, was stated Saturday by Attorney J.H. Leavitt, who aided in obtaining the sensational affidavit from Mincey.

Attorney Leavitt defended the character of the man who made the affidavit and denied emphatically that Mincey even asked about the money he would receive as a witness, except whether his railroad fare would be paid if he were out of the city.

Explains Dukes’ Doubts.

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Lee Must Remain Behind the Bars

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

The Atlanta Constitution

Sunday, July 13, 1913

Solicitor Dorsey Does Not Believe the Negro Guilty of Any Part in Crime.

That Solicitor General Hugh M. Dorsey does not believe that Newt Lee, negro night watchman at the National Pencil factory, who was bound over by the grand jury with Superintendent Leo M. Frank for the murder of Mary Phagan, is guilty, was the only matter of importance brought out yesterday at the hearing of the habeas corpus before Judge W.D. Ellis by which Lee’s attorneys, Graham & Chappell, sought to free him.

Judge Ellis denied the motion for habeas corpus and remanded Lee back to the custody of the sheriff to await the outcome of Frank’s trial. Attorneys L.Z. Rosser and Reuben Arnold were also successful in their fight to prevent Frank being brought into court to testify.

Solicitor Dorsey declared that he had not brought a bill against Lee before the grand jury because he believed he had no evidence which would indict Lee.

The negro’s attorneys secured from the sheriff a statement that Lee would be given more eexrcise [sic], as the darkey declared that this was all that was troubling him. He said he was getting stiff from staying in his cell.

“Frank has the entire freedom of the jail whenever he wants it,” declared Attorney Chappell, “and Lee ought to be allowed some chance to take exercise.”

The character of the darkey and his love for the juicy fruit of a Georgia watermelon came out when Lee was being taken back to jail in charge of Deputy Plennie Miner.

“Why don’t you get Mr. Miner to buy you a nigh beer, Newt?” said a bystander.

“Ah don’t want no beer; all Ah wants is er watermelon,” replied the negro, and his large eyes rolled hopefully in his head.

“Ah ain’t had er melon this summer, and it’s the fust time that July ever come ’round without me having er melon.”

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The Atlanta Constitution, July 13th 1913, “Lee Must Remain Behind the Bars,” Leo Frank case newspaper article series (Original PDF)

Conley Again Quizzed by Prosecutor Dorsey

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

The Atlanta Journal

Saturday, July 12, 1913

[*Editor’s Note: The first sentence in this article contains two sentence fragments due to a publishing error by the original newspaper.]

Solicitor and Hooper Grill Negro at Police Headquarters for Three Hours

For two hours and a half Solicitor Dorsey did practically all of the ques- […] Phagan case, Frank A. Hooper, quizzed Conley at police headquarters Friday afternoon. Two detectives stood guard on the outside of the door of the police commissioner’s room in which the questioning was done, but no one except the officials and the negro were inside the room.

Conley was grinning when he emerged from the room. The questioning ended shortly before 7 o’clock, and Solicitor Dorsey and Mr. Hooper left the station immediately. They would not discuss the quiz.

While the three were in the room Solicitor Dorsey made frequent reference to various papers which he drew from a leather case that he had brought with him to headquarters. Solicitor Dorsey did practically al [sic] of the questioning, with an occasional suggestion from Mr. Hooper.

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The Atlanta Journal, July 12th 1913, “Conley Again Quizzed by Prosecutor Dorsey,” Leo Frank case newspaper article series (Original PDF)

More Affidavits to Support Mincey Claimed

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

The Atlanta Journal

Saturday, July 12, 1913

Frank’s Attorneys Said to Have Corroborating Evidence, Newt Lee Denied Freedom

Joseph H. Leavitt, an attorney, with offices at 422 Grant building, the man who secured the affidavit of W.H. Mincey, who alleges that James Conley confessed to the killing of a girl on April 26, the day Mary Phagan was murdered, declares that a number of affidavits fully corroborating every word that Mincey has said, are in the hands of counsel for the defense of Leo M. Frank.

Mr. Leavitt states that the Mincey affidavit is really much stronger than the published reports, which have purported to give its substance.

The reports are correct as far as they go, Mr. Leavitt admitted to a Journal reporter, but the affidavit dictated and signed by Mincey contains still more testimony, damaging to Conley.

“Mincey is a good citizen,” Mr. Leavitt told a Journal reporter, “a man of education and of character. However, every assertion which he made in the affidavit has been corroborated.”

“Then you must mean that some one else heard the confession Mincey claims that Conley made?” the reporter asked.

“Yes, others head [sic] it,” was the answer of Attorney Leavitt.

While he states that he doesn’t know his address, Mr. Leavitt says that he is confidence [sic] that Mincey will be here when Leo M. Frank faces a jury on the charge of murdering Mary Phagan.

Mincey in his affidavit claims that he went to see Conley on the afternoon of April 26, the day Mary Phagan was murdered to solicit insurance from him, and that Conley became angered and told him that he had killed a little girl that day and did not want to have to kill another person.

The police make light of the Mincey affidavit, and say that Mincey once came to headquarters to identify a man he had seen drunk in the negro quarter. He saw Conley, they say, and then admitted that he had never seen the engro [sic] before.

Attorney Leavitt says that the affidavit will give a good reason for Mincey’s failure to make known at once the information, which he claims to have on the sensational murder case.

Solicitor General Dorsey and Attorney Frank A. Hooper, who will assist him in the prosecution of Frank, grilled James Conley at headquarters for more than an hour Friday afternoon. While Mr. Dorsey would not discuss the matter, it is understood that he questioned Conley closely about the statements alleged to have been to Mincey, and the negro claims that he never saw [the] insurance agent except at police headquarters.

LEE DENIED FREEDOM.

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Conley Kept on Grill 4 Hours

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

The Atlanta Georgian

Saturday, July 12, 1913

After Gruelling Third Degree, Officials Refuse to Deny or Affirm Negro Confessed.

Habeas corpus proceedings to release Newt Lee collapsed in the court of Judge Ellis Saturday morning.

By agreement, Bernard L. Chappell, representing Lee, withdrew his application for a habeas corpus; Solicitor Dorsey promised to present a bill against Lee as a suspect in the Phagan murder case, with the expectation that a “no bill” would be returned. This appeared satisfactory to the attorneys for Lee, as well as to the State.

Luther Z. Rosser, Reuben R. Arnold and Herbert J. Haas, of counsel for Frank, were in court to fight against the appearance of Frank as a witness. William M. Smith represented Conley, one of the witnesses subpenaed.

Jim Conley underwent a racking third degree late Friday afternoon at the hands of Solicitor General Hugh M. Dorsey and Attorney Frank A. Hooper in an effort to verify or discredit the W.H. Mincey affidavit, in which the negro was charged with confessing to the murder of a girl on the afternoon that Mary Phagan met her death.

The grilling of nearly four hours followed The Georgian’s publication of the details of Mincey’s accusations and was undertaken with the utmost secrecy, an attempt being made to avoid knowledge of the “sweating” becoming public by taking Conley to the Commissioners’ room on the second floor of the police station by a circuitous route.

Negro’s Most Severe Ordeal.

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Says Women Heard Conley Confession

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

The Atlanta Georgian

Saturday, July 12, 1913

*Editor’s Note: This article also ran with the headlines “Says Women Overheard Conley Confess” and “Says Women Heard Conley Confess” in the Final and Home Editions, respectively. The headline used here is from the Night Edition.

AFFIDAVITS SUPPORT MINCEY STORY

Attorney Leavitt Declares Tale That Negro Admitted Killing Girl Will Stand Test.

That several negro women overheard Jim Conley when he ran the insurance agent, Mincey, away with the alleged statement that he had just killed a girl and didn’t want to kill any one else, and that the affidavits from the women are in the hands of the attorneys for the defense, was stated Saturday by Attorney J.H. Leavitt, who aided in obtaining the sensational affidavit from Mincey.

Attorney Leavitt defended the character of the man who made the affidavit and denied emphatically that Mincey even asked about the money he would receive as a witness, except whether his railroad fare would be paid if he were out of the city.

Explains Dukes’ Doubts.

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Mincey’s Story Jolts Police to Activity

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

The Atlanta Georgian

Friday, July 11, 1913

*Editor’s Note: The following column ran in the final edition of the Georgian with the title “Georgian’s Story Stirs Officials to Action,” and contains the following bracketed text in lieu of the first two paragraphs and preceding sub-headline.

[Mincey Affidavit Leads to Another Cross-Examination of Phagan Case Suspect.

[As a result of the publication by The Georgian exclusively Thursday of the sensational affidavit of W.H. Mincey, the insurance agent, which declared that Jim Conley had confessed on the afternoon of the Phagan murder, that he had killed a little girl, the negro sweeper was again put on the grill late Friday afternoon. The cross-examination was conducted by Solicitor General Hugh M. Dorsey personally at the police station and was attended by utmost secrecy.

[Conley was taken into the Police Commissioners’ room on the second floor of the station house by a circuitous route to avoid being seen. In the room awaiting him were the Solicitor, his assistant, Frank J. Hooper, and Chief of Detectives Lanford. The negro was questioned for more than an hour. The result of the inquiry was not made known.

[That Mincey’s affidavit is of the utmost importance became obvious with this latest move by the prosecution. Undoubtedly its startling accusations, directing guilt at the negro, have shown themselves to the State to have foundation of more strength than Mr. Dorsey and his colleagues have so far cared to admit.]

Steps Taken Immediately to Discredit Affidavit Published Exclusively in The Georgian.

The Georgian’s exclusive publication of the sensational details of the W.H. Mincey affidavit, in which Jim Conley was alleged to have confessed to the killing of a girl the afternoon that Mary Phagan was slain, created a big stir Friday in police circles and immediate efforts were made to discredit the accusations against the negro.

Detectives set out at once on a still hunt for Mincey. Lines were thrown out to produce witnesses who would swear that Mincey’s word was not to be depended upon. The detective force, which virtually had been resting on its oars in the Phagan case for several weeks, was galvanized into action by the startling charges made in the affidavit of Mincey, which was first made public by The Georgian.

Police Deny Being Told.

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Slaying Charge for Conley Is Expected

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

The Atlanta Georgian

Friday, July 11, 1913

Speedy Indictment of Negro Is Likely Following Publication of Mincey Affidavit.

The speedy indictment of Jim Conley on the charge of murdering Mary Phagan was the strong possibility discussed in court circles Friday following the sensational turn given the strangling mystery by The Georgian’s publication Thursday of the accusation of William H. Mincey, an insurance solicitor, that he had heard the negro boast on the afternoon of the crime of killing a girl.

For nearly two months a self-confessed accessory after the fact of the murder of the little factory girl, Conley has been allowed to go without an attempt at bringing an indictment against him. The startling new evidence which indicates most strongly, if the credibility of the defense’s witness can be established, that Conley was not the accessory after the fact, but the actual principal in the crime, is expected to result in a thorough investigation by the Grand Jury of all the rumors and stories which have been in circulation of the negro’s connection with the pencil factory tragedy.

Counsel Relies on Mincey.

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Conley Not Right Man, Says Mincey

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

The Atlanta Constitution

Friday, July 11, 1913

Insurance Man Who Made Affidavit Says Conversation Was With Some Other Negro—Saw Conley at Station.

It was disclosed Thursday afternoon that William H. Mincey, the insurance agent who has made an affidavit to the effect that Jim Conley on the date of the Phagan murder drunkenly admitted that he had slain a girl had appeared at police headquarters during Conley’s grilling and had positively failed to identify the negro.

This was told a Constitution reporter by Detective Harry Scott of the Pinkertons and Detective Chief Newport Lanford. The insurance agent, they declared, had come to the police station while Conley was being cross-examined and had asked to see the prisoner.

He wanted to see if he could identify Conley as the negro whom he had seen drunk at the corner of Electric and Carter streets on the afternoon of Saturday, April 26. He was admitted to Conley’s presence. After asking the negro a number of questions pertaining to a conversation he had held with the black encountered at Electric and Carter streets, Mincey, the detectives assert, declared he could not identify the suspect.

He’s not the man I saw, Lanford and Scott say the insurance man declared.

Conley was asked by Mincey on that date if he had not talked with him about the issuance of a life insurance policy. Conley denied having ever seen the man. Mincey, the detectives say, was positive in his declaration that Conley was not the negro with whom he had held the conversation.

Did Not Approach Detectives

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No Finger Prints Found by Expert on Phagan Envelope

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

The Atlanta Journal

Thursday, July 10, 1913

Examination of Portion of Slain Girl’s Pay Envelope Fails to Throw Any Light on the Murder Mystery

FLETCHER, AT FEDERAL PEN MAKES EXAMINATION

Fight for Release of Newt Lee on Habeas Corpus Resumed and Hearing Will Be Given Saturday Morning

That the murderer of Mary Phagan can never be identified by finger prints on the pay envelope found in the factory, and the “re-setting” of Newt Lee’s habeas corpus for 10 o’clock. Saturday morning, were two important developments of the sensational murder mystery Thursday.

According to Attorney Bernard L. Chappell, of Graham & Chappell, counsel for the negro night watchman, fifty witnesses among them the negro James Conley, confessed accomplice, and Leo M. Frank, accused of the crime, will be subpenaed for the habeas corpus hearing.

It is known that the solicitor general, Hugh M. Dorsey, will oppose the release from the Tower of Lee on the ground that he is a material witness.

Counsel for Frank will take no part in the fight to secure the release of Lee, but Attorney Reuben R. Arnold stated when the case was postponed that he would oppose any effort to bring Frank into the court for the habeas corpus hearing.

It is said that the counsel for Frank will oppose bringing him to the court on the ground that it is not lawful to force a defendant to give any testimony which relates to or bears on the crime for which he is to be tried.

This, as a result, will prevent the much talked of meeting of Frank and Conley.

According to the attorney for Lee, subpenas will be issued to the many detectives who have worked on the case, to the solicitor general and to the foreman of the grand jury that failed to indict Lee.

EXAMINED BY EXPERTS.

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Says Conley Confessed Slaying

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

The Atlanta Georgian

Thursday, July 10, 1913

*Editor’s Note: Articles with the titles “Tells of Conley Confession” and “Says Conley Confessed” also appeared in other editions of the Georgian.

NEGRO MADE BOAST OF KILLING A GIRL, AGENT DECLARES

Attorneys for Frank Will Put Main Reliance of Defense on the Startling Affidavit Made by W. H. Mincey and Now in Their Possession.

That Jim Conley, negro sweeper at the National Pencil Factory, made a virtual confession to him that he attacked and killed Mary Phagan is the startling allegation made in an affidavit by William H. Mincey, until recently a solicitor for the American Insurance Company, of 115 1/2 North Pryor Street.

It became known Thursday that this affidavit, which is in the hands of the defense, will be the principal reliance, aside from the alibis which have been established for Frank, in bringing an acquittal of the accused man and obtaining a conviction against the negro.

No other evidence, in all of the more than two months’ investigation of the mystery, has been so damning and so direct. The defense has practically only to establish the credibility of Mincey to assure itself of victory.

Said He Had Killed Girl.

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Mary Phagan’s Pay Envelope is Found

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

The Atlanta Constitution

Thursday, July 10, 1913

Discovery Made by Detectives Weeks Ago, But Is Just Announced

The discovery of the pay envelope given Mary Phagan on the day of her murder is believed by detectives to furnish the missing link in the chain of circumstancial [sic] evidence they declare they have forged.

The envelope was found by Detectives Harry Scott and John Black. It is now in possession of the solicitor general. It was discovered on the first floor of the plant building behind a radiator that is situated in immediate vicinity to the spot at which James Conye [sic], the negro sweeper, says he sat in waiting for his superintendent’s summons.

The production of the envelope as evidence will be a strong point in behalf of Frank’s defense according to his friends, however. It is rumored that his counsel is already preparing to use it as a basis of one of their many attacks upon the negro’s story.

The envelope was found three weeks after the discovery of the girl’s body. It was not made public, however, until Wednesday.

Solicitor Hugh M. Dorsey won his point Wednesday and will keep Newt Lee, the negro night watchman, in the tower until the trial of Leo M. Frank for the murder of Mary Phagan is held on July 28. Attorneys Graham and Chappell for Leo had secured an order directing that the sheriff show cause why he should hold their client but the solicitor held a conference with the negro’s lawyers shortly before the hearing and by mutual consent the affair was indefinitely postponed.

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The Atlanta Constitution, July 10th 1913, “Mary Phagan’s Pay Envelope is Found,” Leo Frank case newspaper article series (Original PDF)

Mary Phagan Pay Envelope Found

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

The Atlanta Journal

Wednesday, July 9, 1913

MYSTERY’S LOST LINK IS FOUND NEAR WHERE CONLEY SAYS HE SAT

Finding of Portion of Salary Envelope Bearing Victim’s Name Expected to Strengthen Defense’s Contention

CONTENTS OF ENVELOPE HAVE NEVER BEEN FOUND

Find Was Made by Pinkertons Just Three Weeks After the Murder, but Was Kept a Secret Until Wednesday.

The pay envelope, which was the quest of Mary Phagan’s visit to the National Pencil factory on April 26, when she met her death, has been found.

At least enough of the envelope to definitely identify it is in the hands of the authorities.

The upper corner of the pay envelope, bearing the name of the victim of the sensational murder mystery, was found on the first floor of the factory by Pinkerton detectives three weeks after the commission of the crime.

While attorneys for the defense and the prosecution have known of the find for weeks, the fact only became public Wednesday.

The corner of the pay envelope was found on the first floor of the factory, behind a radiator, about 15 feet from the stairway and about 8 feet from the place, where James Conley, the negro sweeper, says he sat for more than an hour on the day of the tragedy.

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New Evidence in Phagan Case Found

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

The Atlanta Georgian

Wednesday, July 9, 1913

iGrl [sic] Called to Tell of Negro She Saw in Pencil Factory—Lee Stays in Jail.

A sensation in the Phagan murder mystery developed Wednesday afternoon when Solicitor Dorsey summoned Miss Mattie Smith under a special subpena to question her in regard to a negro she saw in the National Pencil Factory the morning of the Saturday that Mary Phagan was murdered.

Miss Smith told a Georgian reporter that she saw a negro there that morning and believed it was between 9 and 10 o’clock. She thought she might be asked to identify Conley. If she identifies the negro, it will disprove Conley’s statement that he did not go to the factory until after he had met Frank Saturday.

Judge W. D. Ellis Wednesday morning postponed indefinitely the hearing on the application for a writ of habeas corpus to liberate Newt Lee, material witness in the Phagan murder mystery.

The action came as a result of an agreement reached between Graham & Chappell, attorneys for Lee, and Solicitor General Hugh M. Dorsey. It is believed to mark the end of all efforts to gain the negro’s freedom before the trial of Leo M. Frank July 28.

The most unconcerned person in the courtroom was Newt Lee. He was brought before Judge Ellis by Deputy Sheriff Miner.

Lee is Unconcerned.

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Girl Springs Sensation in Phagan Case

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

The Atlanta Georgian

Wednesday, July 9, 1913

PART OF PAY ENVELOPE FOUND

Discovered Shortly After Tragedy by Detectives, but Find Was Kept Secret.

*Editor’s Note: The following headlines also appeared:

(Night Edition):

NEW PHAGAN EVIDENCE FOUND

PART OF PAY ENVELOPE HELD BY POLICE

(Extra Final Edition):

PHAGAN PAY ENVELOPE FOUND

Two sensational developments marked the Phagan case Wednesday. One was the testimony of Miss Mattie Smith, an employee of the National Pencil factory, that she had seen a negro sitting on the first floor of the factory betwen [sic] 9 and 10 o’clock, at a time when Conley had denied being there. The second was the announcement of the finding of a part of a pay envelope declared to be the envelope of Mary Phagan.

A piece of an envelope bearing Mary Phagan’s number was found on the first floor of the National Pencil factory behind a radiator, only a few feet from where Jim Conley, negro sweeper at the plant, was sitting on the day the little factory girl was murdered, according to information made public Wednesday afternoon.

Robbery Again Suspected.

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State Sure Lee Will Not Be Released

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

The Atlanta Georgian

Tuesday, July 8, 1913

Dorsey Confident That Move, Which May Confront Frank With Conley, Is Futile.

Solicitor General Hugh M. Dorsey said Tuesday he was confident the State would be able to defeat any attempt to get Newt Lee out of the Tower, where he has been confined since April 27, first as a suspect in the Mary Phagan murder case and later as a material witness. He said he had advised Lee’s attorney not to take the action, as the negro was regarded as an important witness in making a complete chain of evidence against Leo M. Frank.

No petition was filed in behalf of the negro Tuesday forenoon. There was no judge before whom the petition could be brought in the afternoon, although in rare instances writs of habeas corpus are filed with the Ordinary of the county. Lee’s counsel has until Friday to file the application. It was the announced intention to subpena both Frank and Jim Conley to appear at the hearing on the write [sic].

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Grants Right to Demand Lee’s Freedom

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

The Atlanta Georgian

Tuesday, July 8, 1913

Negro’s Counsel Secures Chance to Argue for Habeas Corpus Writ Wednesday.

Reuben R. Arnold, of counsel for Leo M. Frank, communicated with Sheriff Mangum Tuesday afternoon directing him under no circumstances to permit the removal of Frank to appear Wednesday as a witness in the habeas corpus hearing to free Newt Lee.

“There is no law on earth to bring Frank to court under an order as a witness,” said Arnold. Attorney Rosser, chief of counsel, was absent from the city Tuesday.

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Lee’s Attorney is Ready for Writ Fight

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

The Atlanta Georgian

Monday, July 7, 1913

Habeas Corpus Move to Free Negro in Phagan Case Due to Start Monday.

Habeas corpus proceedings in behalf of Newt Lee, negro night watchman at the National Pencil Factory, were promised Monday by the negro’s attorney, Bernard L. Chappell. Settlement of this phase of the Phagan murder mystery will determine definitely the status of the negro.

It is known that the State regards Lee as a material witness in building up its case against Frank. The attitude of Mr. Chappell is that his client knows no more about [the] crime than he already has told, and should therefore be freed. Lee has told the detectives nothing which links any man directly with the crime. By the defense, his story is held to point to the guilt of Leo Frank no more than to the guilt of Conley.

The State, however, will fight any effort to give the negro his liberty. Solicitor Dorsey fears that Lee will get out of the jurisdiction of the court once he is permitted his freedom.

The battle over Lee is the only outward sign of activity in the Phagan case etiher [sic] by the defense or the prosecution, but it is known that the defense is busily engaged completing its case. One new witness was interviewed Saturday by Frank’s lawyers, and his affidavit taken before a notary public. A strong net is being woven about Conley. The nature of the testimony is being kept secret, but it is known that the defense expects to free Frank by showing that it was Conley who committed the crime. The negro is said to be enmeshed in the testimony in the hands of the defense.

Despite rumors of another postponement, attorneys for the defense and prosecution said Monday that they would be ready to go ahead with the case at the time set for trial, July 28, and that they knew of no reason for further delay.

Jury to Consider Indicting Conley.

What was considered a direct reference to the Phagan case was made in the charge of Superior Judge George L. Bell to the Grand Jury Monday morning. He said he wanted to place particular emphasis on recent “horrible homicides” and urged the jury to probe deep in an effort to find clews that would lead to perpetrators.

The Grand Jury was organized at 9 o’clock Monday morning with W. D. Beattie foreman. Judge Bell made one of the shortest charges ever delivered in a Fulton County courtroom.

Immediately following the charge the jury went into executive session to consider bills presented by the Solicitor’s office. After to-day’s session the calendar of criminal business will be disposed of, and the jury will have every opportunity to take up any matters it might see fit.

A meeting will be called later in the week when a definite plan of action will be outlined for the term. It was regarded as likely that the Phagan case would be reopened and an indictment against Jim Conley considered.

Other matters that might be taken up are recent developments with the police department, in which eight patrolmen were suspended for alleged corruption, the counter charges of corruption made by them and charges of open vice.

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The Atlanta Georgian, July 7th 1913, “Lee’s Attorney is Ready for Writ Fight,” Leo Frank case newspaper article series (Original PDF)

New Move in Phagan Case by Solicitor

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

The Atlanta Georgian

Sunday, July 6, 1913

Dorsey Will Endeavor to Force Defense to Disclose Their Documentary Evidence.

ACT IS COUNTERSTROKE

Frank’s Attorneys Said to Have Affidavits Exonerating Frank and Indicating Conley’s Guilt.

A sensational turn in the Phagan murder mystery, according to one of the attorneys for the defense, will develop next week when Solicitor General Hugh M. Dorsey issues a subpena duces tecum on Attorneys Luther Z. Rosser and Reuben Arnold, citing them to produce all the affidavits they have secured that bear on the crime.

The movement is in the nature of a counterstroke to block the pending subpenas duces tecum filed by the defense, citing the State to produce all the affidavits that have been secured.

The defense strongly maintains that it will win its point and that the prosecution will suffer. The attorneys say that the Constitution of the State clearly outlines the action of the court in such matters—”that the defendant is entitled to be faced with all the evidence against him”—while the prosecution will labor under the handicap that “a defendant is innocent until he is proven guilty.”

Dorsey Is Silent.

While no announcement would be made by Solicitor Dorsey relative to the contemplated subpenas duces tecum, it was intimated by him that such action might be taken at an early date, and that when it was the defense and the prosecution would lock horns in the first decisive battle in the sensational case.

Affidavits that are sought by the defense are the three different sworn statements of the negro, Jim Conley, the affidavit given by the negro cook at the Frank home, Minola McKnight, the Formby affidavit and the affidavit of Monteen Stover, the girl who stated that she entered Frank’s office at a time when he said he was there, and found the office deserted.

The State will seek to obtain affidavits contradicting their theory and placing the crime on the negro sweeper, Jim Conley. These affidavits are said to deal principally with the time different witnesses entered and left the factory April 26, the most vital question in the trial.

Affidavits of Defense.

The defense is said to be in possession of affidavits that show Monteen Stover entered and departed from the factory before Mary Phagan’s car reached the heart of the city; that the negro Jim Conley entered the factory earlier in the day than he said he did, and that he, instead of the indicted pencil factory superintendent, committed the murder, because the superintendent left the factory at least ten minutes before Conley said he helped him dispose of the body, and that the Formby affidavit, a one-time sensational bit of evidence substantiating the defense, was given by the woman at the behest of the police detectives without regard for its accuracy, and that Mrs. Formby has since admitted that she never knew Leo M. Frank or heard of him until he was held as a suspect in connection with the murder.

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The Atlanta Georgian, July 6th 1913, “New Move in Phagan Case by Solicitor,” Leo Frank case newspaper article series (Original PDF)