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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Findings in Probe are Guarded

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

The Atlanta Georgian

Wednesday, July 2, 1913

No Indication Given of Results of Investigation of Reports of Disorderly Houses.

The result of the Grand Jury’s sensational vice probe of a few weeks ago will be made known Wednesday when the presentments are returned to Superior Judge W. D. Ellis, who two months ago charged that an extensive investigation be made.

Save when an indictment was returned against Police Commissioner W. P. Fain, which charged him with keeping a disorderly house and beating one of the women inmates, no inkling of the general trend of the probe got beyond the closed doors of the jury room.

When the probe first started the jury expected it to be completed in a day. It took a sensational turn when Colonel Thomas B. Felder charged Chief of Detectives Newport Lanford and his detectives with openly protecting vice, and the attorney stated he could submit to the jury a “vice list” that would “stand Atlanta on its head.”

List Given to Jury.

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Facts Do Not Indicate Indictment of Conley

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

The Atlanta Journal

Tuesday, July 1, 1913

Rumor About Negro in Phagan Case Not Confirmed—Grand Jury Is Through

The publication to the effect that the negro sweeper, Jim Conley, probably would be indicted by the Fulton county grand jury for the murder of Mary Phagan, is apparently without any justification.

The grand jury, according to its foreman, Lewis H. Beck, will make its presentments to the court Wednesday morning and in all probability will be discharged then.

It is not likely, therefore, that the jury will consider any further bills. Mr. Beck declined to comment on the publication and referred the reporter to the solicitor.

As Solicitor Dorsey is known to be opposed to an indictment of Conley at this time, there seems to be no basis for the report that the case will be taken up.

Solicitor General Hugh M. Dorsey vigorously asserted Tuesday afternoon that no attempt had been made by the grand jury toin dict [sic] the negro Conely [sic] for the murder of Mary Phagan nor had any suggestion been made by the jurymen in this direction.

He said positively that he had heard of no intention on the part of jurors to go over his head in the Conley matter.

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The Atlanta Journal, July 1st 1913, “Facts Do Not Indicate Indictment of Conley,” Leo Frank case newspaper article series (Original PDF)

Felder Leaves Atlanta on Trip to Cincinnati

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

The Atlanta Journal

Monday, June 16, 1913

Thomas B. Felder, the attorney, left Atlanta for Cincinnati Sunday afternoon to be away from the city on a business trip for several days.

The absence of Mr. Felder from the city is taken as indication that the grand jury will not take up an investigation of the famous dictograph episode this week, if it makes such a probe at all.

Mr. Felder declared that his trip has nothing to do with the dictograph case. He stated that he expected to return within a week.

The foreman of the grand jury, L. H. Beck, has intimated that the jury may take up the dictograph matter if it is able to dispose of its routine business before its term of service expires, June 30.

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The Atlanta Journal, June 16th 1913, “Felder Leaves Atlanta on Trip to Cincinnati,” Leo Frank case newspaper article series (Original PDF)

Hooper Wants a Rest For Public From Case

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

The Atlanta Journal

Monday, June 16, 1913

Attorney Associated With Prosecution, Says State Is Ready for Frank Trial

With Solicitor General Dorsey away on a short vacation, the state’s case against Leo M. Frank, who is charged with the murder of Mary Phagan, is now in charge of Frank A. Hooper, the well known attorney, who is associated with the solicitor.

“The state’s case is complete,” Mr. Hooper said Monday morning, “and we are waiting quietly for the trial on the 30th of the month to come.”

“If the defense will stop writing cards,” continued Mr. Hooper, “and stop having their friends write them, the public can be given a needed rest from the case until the trial.”

Mr. Hooper’s statement that the prosecution is quietly waiting for the trial on June 30 is the most authoritative announcement of the date of the trial yet made.

Solicitor General Dorsey has steadfastly refrained from any definite announcement about the time of the trial, but it has been generally understood for some time that the solicitor set the case on the court’s calendar for June 30, and it will then remain with the defense as to whether there is a postponement.

While Mr. Hooper’s name was not publicly connected with the case until Sunday, it is understood that the solicitor general has been consulting with him for several weeks, and it is said that Mr. Hooper is familiar with every phase of the investigation.

With the state’s case regarded as complete, it is said that the attorneys and detectives identified with the prosecution are now devoting their energies to preparing for any surprises the defense may spring when the case goes before the court.

It was rumored Monday that the grand jury on Tuesday would take up the case of James Conley, the negro who is a self-confessed accessory after the fact in the killing, but this rumor was without foundation. It was occasioned by an error in the issuance of subpenas. The grand jury, according to its foreman, will devote the entire session Tuesday to routine cases, which have piled up during the vice investigation.

The grand jury foreman, L. H. Beck, also denied the rumor that it had taken up any investigations of third degree work by the detectives in the Phagan or in any other case. “No such investigation is even likely,” he said.

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The Atlanta Journal, June 16th 1913, “Hooper Wants a Rest For Public From Case,” Leo Frank case newspaper article series (Original PDF)

Solicitor Dorsey Goes to New York

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

The Atlanta Constitution

Sunday, June 15, 1913

Grand Jury Will Probably Take Up the Dictagraph Probe While He Is Away.

With the departure of Solicitor General Hugh M. Dorsey for New York yesterday afternoon, whither he declares he is going for a week’s rest, and the announcement of Foreman L. H. Beck, of the grand jury, that only routine criminal business will be taken up at the meeting on Tuesday, comes a peculiar situation, as hitherto the solicitor’s pretense has been considered necessary for the indictment of the regular class of criminals, and only when investigating on their own accord ddoes [sic] the grand jury usually dispense with his services.

The assurance is continuously given out that the grand jury must finish its routin [sic] business before it can enter into a general investigation such as a renewal of the vice probe or an investigation of the Felder-Beavers dictagraph row, despite the apparent pressing need for clearing up the tangle that has grown from the affair.

It appears that the members of the grand jury intend to take up at their meeting this week some investigation or other work in which the solicitor will not be needed and the general impression is that the dictagraph row will be probed.

This would be in keeping with the vice probe which both the solicitor and the foreman attempted to veil in secrecy until the very day upon which it was started, and their actions upon this occasion strengthen the belief that further investigation will occupy the grand jurors at their next meeting.

On top of this comes the announcement from an apparently responsible source of a demand made by Colonel Thomas B. Felder that the body probe the dictagraph affair, and the refusal of both the solicitor and the foreman of the jury to discuss this matter, or even to admit having received such a communication.

Solicitor Dorsey gave out officially that his visit would be one of personal recreation and that he might possibly spend a short time at Atlantic City before returning home.

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The Atlanta Constitution, June 15th 1913, “Solicitor Dorsey Goes to New York,” Leo Frank case newspaper article series (Original PDF)

Asks Jury to Resume Probe of Dictograph

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

The Atlanta Journal

Saturday, June 14, 1913.

Attorney Felder Wants Gentry Affidavit Weighed—Foreman Beck Non-committal

Thomas B. Felder, the attorney, is said to have requested Foreman L. H. Beck, of the Fulton county grand jury, to take up an investigation of an affidavit alleged to have been signed by George W. [sic] Gentry in which it is charged that the famous dictograph records were padded.

Mr. Felder took up the matter with the grand jury foreman by letter, it is said, and stated that he was ready to produce young Gentry whenever the jury needs him. Gentry is said to be in Washington, and Felder states that he is in daily communication with him.

Another figure in the dictograph episode who now is missing from the city is A. S. Colyar. At the Williams house, where he lived in the city, Colyar left no address, but reserved a room, saying that he expected to return to the city.

Chief of Detectives Lanford declares that he does not know the whereabouts of either Colyar or Gentry, although he is conducting a vigorous search in Washington for the latter.

Foreman L. H. Beck of the grand jury has stated again that the term of service of the present body is so short that it is absolutely necessary that it take up the routine business of the solicitor’s office.

The foreman, however, will not make a definite statement relative to the dictograph probe or to the vice probe.

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The Atlanta Journal, June 14th 1913, “Asks Jury to Resume Probe of Dictograph,” Leo Frank case newspaper article series (Original PDF)

Probe of Grand Jury Goes Over One Week

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

Atlanta Journal

Friday, June 6th, 1913

Only Routine Matters Up Tuesday—Dictograph Controversy Not Considered

It will be week after next before the Fulton county grand jury resumes its investigation of the vice situation in Atlanta, if any further investigation is to be made at all.

This was made plain Friday afternoon by Foreman Lewis H. Beck, who stated that Solicitor Dorsey had advised the grand jury that he had sufficient routine works ahead to engage its attention for at least three days next week.

Mr. Beck feels that three days a week is sufficient to ask the members of the jury to give from their business affairs unless matters of very pressing importance demanded attention. The grand jury will meet next Tuesday morning at 10 o’clock, and will consider the business which Solicitor Dorsey has in hand.


No agreement has been reached as to whether the vice probe would be resumed week after next. “We have gone pretty far already,” said Mr. Beck, “but it is possible that there may be some further inquiry which we will desire to make.”

The members of the grand jury apparently do not see much in the dictograph episode to justify their attention. They are inclined to regard it more in the nature of a newspaper controversy than anything else. Continue Reading →

Grand Jury May Drop Vice Probe

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

Atlanta Constitution

Friday, June 6th, 1913

Foreman Beck De[c]lines to Talk of Probable Action of Jury—Felder to Issue a Public Statement.

“The grand jury has finished its questioning of witnesses with its adjournment, and unless members of the jury should desire that those of the several witnesses summoned, who have not been heard, should be brought before them, there is nothing more to do.” This was the statement made yesterday by L. H. Beck, foreman of the grand jury, which adjourned at 2 o’clock after a three-day probe in vice conditions in Atlanta.

Foreman Beck stated that the body would meet again Tuesday, but at the instance of the solicitor, and to take up the criminal business which the present probe and the lengthy examination preceding the indictment of Leo M. Frank had greatly delayed.

Asked as to the nature of the action that the grand jury would take in regard to the results of its vice probe, the foreman replied that he was not in a position to state this.

“We have tried to follow the words of Judge W. D. Ellis, who requested this jury to look into alleged vice conditions here,” he replied, “and whether we make definite indictments against offenders, or take action by giving a general report to a judge of the superior court, is something that has not been determined.”

Lanford Makes Statement.

Newport Lanford, chief of detectives, was the first witness to be called Thursday morning. According to his statement the grand jury members questioned him about conditions here principally, although they also asked him in regard to the pictograph affair, and also asked why there was a bitterness between him and Colonel Thomas B. Felder.

A. L. Collar, Jr., who sprung into prominence as a result of the recent dictagraph row, and who is now under arrest on forgery charges in Knoxville, was next called before the grand jury. With Collar and G. C. February, secretary to Chief James L. Beavers, the grand jury closed its examination and hearing of testimony. Continue Reading →

Grand Jury Calls for Thos. Felder and Police Heads


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

Atlanta Constitution

Tuesday, June 3rd, 1913

Subpoenas Served Monday Night on the Principals in Dictagraph Case and in Charges of Corruption.


Mayor Woodward, Col. Felder, Chief Beavers, Chief Lanford, Carl Hutcheson and Jno. Black Subpoenaed

That the Fulton county grand jury will undertake today an investigation of both sides of the Beavers-Felder controversy was made apparent by the formal summons issued last night to all the principals in the affair.

An added element of mystery to the investigation comes in the attempt made to summon Mrs. Mima [sic] Formby, the woman who made affidavit that Leo M. Frank, now indicted for the murder of Mary Phagan, attempted to rent a room from her for himself and a girl on the night of the murder.

Many Subpoenas Issued.

Mayor Woodward, Chief Beavers, Colonel Felder, Chief Lanford, Charlie Jones, proprietor of the “Rex” saloon; Attorney Carl Hutcheson, City Detective, John Black and Mrs. Formby were the principals upon whom Foreman Beck ordered subpoenas served Monday night.

Charlie Jones was served in person with a summons to attend the grand jury this morning in the case of “The State versus John Doe,” the orders, with the exception of Mrs. Formby, who is said to have left the city, were notified by telephone that their presence was required Tuesday morning before the grand jury.

The charges made by Chief Lanford and other detectives in his force that Colonel Felder had offered a bribe of $1,000 for an affidavit made by Mr. and Mrs. J. W. Coleman, parents of the murdered Phagan girl, and also for other affidavits in the case, and the ensuing charges hurled at the police department by Col. Felder and Attorney Hutcheson, in which the department was charged with graft and corruption stirred Atlanta.

Beavers Asks Probe.

Chief Beavers immediately asked that the grand jury take the matter up and go to the bottom of the charges against himself and the men under him, and Colonel Felder declared that he was ready at any time for the charges against him to be investigated.

That the grand jury would take up the matter at an early date and probe, it has been the general belief of Atlantans who read of the various charges, and when it was announced last week by Solicitor Dorsey that the grand jury would meet on Tuesday morning it immediately became the general belief that the special session would be for this purpose. Continue Reading →

Grand Jury Ready to Investigate Charges

grand-jury-readyAnother in our series of new transcriptions of contemporary articles on the Leo Frank case.

Atlanta Journal

Monday, June 2nd, 1913

Foreman Beck States Position, Probe Awaits Request From Chief Beavers

The Fulton county grand jury will investigate the Felder-Beavers controversy if any of the interested parties ask an investigation, according to Foreman L. H. Beck.

Mr. Beck has not yet been approached on the matter by Chief J. L. Beavers, who has declared that he will ask a grand jury investigation of the charges made against him and his department by Colonel Thomas B. Felder, and unless the police officials make a formal request for an investigation there is little likelihood of the grand jury taking up the matter at the special meeting to be held on Tuesday morning.

The specific object of the meeting, according to the foreman, is the appointment of routine committees, which have not yet been named, owing to the pressure of criminal business, although the jury has only a month more to serve.

Mr. Beck frankly stated his position to The Journal Monday, saying that if the solicitor or any individual member of the jury brings the matter up officially it will be investigated. Also an investigation will be inaugurated, he says, if Chief Beavers or Chief N. A. Lanford request a probe of him as foreman of the jury.

Up to a late hour Monday Chief Beavers had not seen Solicitor Dorsey nor Mr. Beck. The chief stated that he had been extremely busy Monday, but that he would certainly take the matter up during the week. Continue Reading →