Conley’s Status in Phagan Case May Be Changed Wednesday

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

The Atlanta Journal

June 11, 1913

Petition Will Be Presented to Judge Roan by Solicitor Dorsey but Its Nature Is Not Made Known


Negro May Be Put Back in the Tower – Solicitor Dorsey Says: “I Am Trying to Run State’s Case Myself”

The report became current Wednesday afternoon shortly after 3 o’clock that the new development in the Phagan case would be a withdrawal by the state of its petition in court whereunder James Conley, the negro, is held as a material witness.

Shortly before 3 o’clock, William Smith, attorney for the negro, and Solicitor Dorsey appeared at the court house together, for this purpose, it was said.

Attorney Smith does not want the negro confined in the Fulton county jail, where he declares he was menaced during the one night that he spent there after his affidavit became public. There has been no insistence from Attorney Smith. It is said, that any damage whatever be made in the status of the negro.

As the result of the clash between the prosecution and the defense of Leo M. Frank, over James Conely, it is expected that the negro’s legal status will be changed in some way, probably Wednesday afternoon.

It is also barely possible that Conley will be indicted Thursday by the grand jury as an accessory after the fact of Mary Phagan’s murder, but this is not considered probable.

Conley is now at police headquarters, held by authority of an order from Judge L. S. Roan, of the criminal division of the superior court. Conley is held as a material witness in the case against Frank.

The negro sweeper was transferred soon after he made his sensational confession, charging Frank with being the principal in the Phagan murder, from police headquarters to the Tower, where he remained about twenty-four hours.

Then he was transferred again, on a superior court order, to police headquarters, his attorney, William M. Smith, consenting to the move.

The obvious reason for the transfer was to prevent the negro’s talking to interviewers, who are allowed into the jail if the prisoner has no objection to talking to them.

At police headquarters only the detective and sometimes the prisoners lawyer, is allowed to see him.

Conley’s attorney, William M. Smith, stated Wednesday that he would prefer for the negro to be incerated at police headquarters rather than at the tower. Continue Reading →