Bits of Circumstantial Evidence, as Viewed by State, Strands in Rope

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

Atlanta Georgian
August 8th, 1913

By O. B. KEELER.

They call it a chain that the State has forged, or has tried to forge, to hold Leo Frank to the murder of Mary Phagan.

But isn’t it a rope?

A chain, you know, is as strong as its weakest link. Take one link out, and the chain comes apart.

With a rope, it’s different.

Strand after strand might be cut or broken, and the rope still holds a certain weight. Then might come a time when the cutting of one more strand would cause the rope to break.

The point is, the finished rope will sustain a weight that would instantly snap any one of its several strands.

Bits of Evidence Threads.

And that is what the various bits of circumstantial evidence might better be called—strands or threads.

Edgar Allen Poe, in “The Mystery of Marie Roget,” has nearly exhausted the philosophical phase of accumulative circumstance and its relation to evidence.

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State, Tied by Conley’s Story, Now Must Stand Still Under Hot Fire

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

Atlanta Georgian
August 8th, 1913

By JAMES B. NEVIN.

As the defense in the Frank case gets under way, it is evident enough, as it has been from the beginning of this case, that there is but one big, tremendously compelling task before it—the annihilation of Conley’s ugly story!

The State climaxed its case thrillingly and with deadly effect in the negro.

He came through the fire of cross-examination, exhaustive and thorough, in remarkably good shape, all things considered. He unfolded a story even more horrible than was anticipated. Certainly, in every conceivable way, he has sought to damage the defendant—even going to the extent of lodging against him another crime than murder!

Through the cross-examination, however, there an an evident vein of deadly purpose upon the part of the defense. Conley was given full limit to go his length. He went it—no disputing that!

The question is, did he go TOO FAR?

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New Video from The American Mercury: Leo Frank Is Guilty


by Philip St. Raymond

WE ARE very pleased to present here a new American Mercury video based on the widely reprinted 2013 Mercury article by Bradford L. Huie, 100 Reasons Leo Frank Is Guilty, and using the audio book read by Miss Vanessa Neubauer as its basis. The article was written for our centenary retrospective of Mary Phagan’s 1913 murder. It provides in cinematic form an assessment of the Leo Frank case — perhaps the most amazing and intriguing murder mystery in American history — that simply cannot be found in the controlled media.

This ultra-high-resolution video is freely available to download so that you may keep it on your personal hard drive and re-upload it to video sharing platforms.

Today, the noose of censorship is being pulled ever-tighter by a media/government complex that is desperate to keep its lies and its crimes hidden from the public. Thus this video — exposing one of the first major operations on American soil of that complex — is very timely and important today. The American Mercury is proud to, once again in our 97-year history, bear witness to the truth.

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Source: The American Mercury

Judge Roan Rules Out Most Damaging Testimony Given By Conley Against Leo Frank

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

Atlanta Journal
August 6th, 1913

Solicitor Dorsey in Vigorous Speech Protests Against Striking Evidence, Declaring He Has Witnesses to Corroborate the Negro and That Striking of Testimony Will Prevent His Getting Their Statements Before the Jury

Sustaining a motion made by the defense in the trial of Leo M. Frank, Judge L. S. Roan Tuesday afternoon announced that he would rule out all of Conley’s testimony charging the accused superintendent with perversion, and the negro’s testimony that he acted as a “lookout” for Frank on days previous to the murder. The judge ruled that Conley’s testimony that he watched for the accused on the day of the tragedy would remain in evidence.

Attorney Arnold entered the court about two minutes late. Mr. Rosser had not arrived. Mr. Arnold asked that the jury be sent out and stated that he had several motions to make. The jury went out. The first, he said, was a motion to exclude certain testimony from the record on the ground that it was wholly irrelevant, incompetent and inadmissible. Mr. Arnold held a long typewritten document in his hands.

“We move, first,” he said, “to exclude from the record all the testimony of Conley relative to watching for the defendant, and we withdraw our cross-examination on that subject.”

Second, Mr. Arnold moved that a portion of the negro’s testimony attacking Frank’s character, which was brought out through questions propounded by the solicitor, be ruled out.

Mr. Arnold concluded the argument by saying, “Before anything else is done, we move to exclude this from the record.”

Judge Roan spoke up, “As I understand it, Mr. Arnold, what you want to withdraw is testimony about watching on other occasions.”

Before this question was answered, Attorney Arnold turned to Mr. Hooper and showed him that part of Conley’s evidence which the defense wished to exclude.

Attorney Hooper took the floor saying, “To allow this motion would be to trifle with the court. When they did not object at the time this evidence was introduced I believe they lost any ground that they had for an objection. If their objection had been entered at the time of the introduction of this testimony, I should say that the objection was well taken, but I do not think that they have a right after letting it all go into the records without protest, now to move for its total exclusion.”

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Frank Very Nervous, Testifies L. O. Grice

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

Atlanta Constitution
August 5th, 1913

Witness Had Gone to the Pencil Factory After Reading The Constitution Extra

L. O. Grice was the first witness put on the stand when court convened Monday morning. He was kept there but a few minutes. He stated that he is employed by W. H. Smith, auditor of the Atlanta and West Point railroad, and that he lives at 270 Houston street.

“Where were you on Sunday, April 27, about 8 o’clock?” Mr. Dorsey started out.

“I was in front of The Constitution building and I saw one of their extras and went on down to the National Pencil factory. I was going in that direction towards the office where I work, anyway,” he replied.

“Did you go in the building?”
“Yes, sir.”

Hadn’t Been in Courtroom.

“Have you been in the courtroom during this trial?” interrupted Attorney Rosser. (Mr. Grice had not been among those witnesses first named by the solicitor.)

“No; I haven’t been in here before this morning,” said Grice.

“Did anything attract your attention down in the factory?” continued the solicitor when his opponent had subsided.

“Yes, sir; I saw Mr. Black, the detective, and a number of men.”

“Did anybody attract your attention by showing nervousness?”
“Yes, sir.”

“Who was it?”
“I didn’t know him then.”

“Is he the defendant, there?” said Mr. Dorsey, pointing to where Frank sat.

“Yes; he was the man,” said Grice.

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Defense Moves to Strike Most Damaging Testimony

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

Atlanta Journal
August 5th, 1913

ON GROUNDS OF IRRELEVANCY ATTORNEY ARNOLD MOVES TO STRIKE PART OF TESTIMONY

He Asks That Conley’s Statement That He Acted as “Lookout” for Frank, and Part of Testimony Attacking Frank’s Personal Character Be Blotted From Record — Attorney Hooper eDclares [sic] Defense Has Waited Too Long to Enter Objection

MYSTERIOUS “MR. DALTON” MENTIONED BY CONLEY MAY BE CALLED BY SOLICITOR TO CORROBORATE NEGRO

It Is Said That Dalton Is Within Reach of State—With Conley Still Under Cross-Examination and Other State Witnesses, Including Dr. Harris, Yet to Be Heard, Indications Are Tuesday That Trial Will Last Three Weeks, If Not Longer

Attorney Arnold entered the court about two minutes late. Mr. Rosser had not arrived. Mr. Arnold asked the jury be sent out, and stated that he had several motions to make. The jury went out. The first, he said, was a motion to exclude certain testimony from the record on the ground that it was wholly irrelevant, incompetent and inadmissible. Mr. Arnold held a long typewritten document in his hands.

“We move, first,” he said, “to exclude from the record all the testimony of Conley relative to watching for the defendant, and we withdraw our cross examination on that subject.

“Second, Mr. Arnold moved that a portion of the negro’s testimony attacking Frank’s character, which was brought out through questions propounded by the solicitor be ruled out.”

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Traditions of the South Upset; White Man’s Life Hangs on Negro’s Word

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

Atlanta Georgian
August 5th, 1913

By L.F. WOODRUFF.

Sinister as a cloud, as raven as a night unaided by moon, planet or satellite, Jim Conley is to-day the most talked-of man in Georgia.

His black skin has not been whitened by the emancipation proclamation. The record of his race for regarding an oath as it regards a drink of gin, something to be swallowed, remains unattacked.

But Georgia is to-day listening to the words of Jim Conley with breathless interest. His every syllable has ten thousand of eager interpreters. His facial expression is watched as keenly as he answers the questions of Luther Rosser as would be the physiognomy of the President of the United States be watched as he signed a declaration of war against Japan.

Jim Conley has upset traditions of the South, even as the Phagan case has upset traditions that have lived for years through the length and breadth of the country.

The South Listens.

A white man is on trial. His life hangs on the words of a negro. And the South listens to the negro’s words.

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Conley’s Charge Turns Frank Trial Into Fight ‘To Worse Than Death’

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

Atlanta Georgian
August 5th, 1913

By JAMES B. NEVIN.

Black and sinister, depressing in its every aspect and horrible in its gloom, the testimony of Jim Conley in the Frank case was given to the court and the jury under direct examination Monday.

The shadow of the negro had loomed like a frightful cloud over the courtroom for days—the negro himself came into the case Monday. And he came into it in an awful and unspeakably sensational way!

The public was prepared for most that Conley said—it was not quite prepared for all he said.

The State, in its direct examination of Conley, climaxed its case against Frank most thrillingly and most abhorrently. If that climax is not rendered impossible, ridiculous absurd by the defense, then the young factory superintendent is doomed.

It is, indeed, now a battle to the death—and to worse than the death!

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Frank on Stand Wednesday Week

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

Atlanta Constitution
August 4th, 1913

Defense Intimates Trial Will Run Into Middle of Third Week With Defendant Final Witness.

It will probably be Wednesday or Thursday of next week before Leo Frank takes the stand to explain his actions on the day Mary Phagan was slain.

This was intimated last night by attorneys associated with the defense, who stated that the trial very likely would run into the middle of the third week, and that, from present plans, the defendant would be the final witness.

It is understood that the defense will introduce much expert testimony, and that it will be of exceedingly interesting nature. Physicians, it is stated, will testify in rebuttal to evidence produced by the prosecution.

The session this afternoon will begin with the statement of an expert chemist, who is testifying in behalf of the state—Dr. Roy F. Harris, secretary of the state board of health, who testified Friday of examining Mary Phagan’s stomach and of finding undigested cabbage which indicated, in his belief, that death had ensued within an hour after she had eaten dinner.

Thus far, the story told by Dr. Harris is the most interesting in the famous case. It also furnished more thrills than any other phase. A wave of intense interest surged over the courtroom as he explained the minute details of his examination of the corpse, and told of his opinions regarding the cause of death and the time at which it had been committed.

A vigorous battle will be waged over his testimony. In an effort to discredit the statement that Mary Phagan was slain within an hour after her noon-day meal, Dr. J. W. Hurt, coroner’s physician, was kept on the stand for three hours Saturday morning, and examined mercilessly by the defense.

It is intimated that Reuben Arnold will handle the expert testimony introduced by both sides.

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Atlanta Constitution, August 4th 1913, “Frank on Stand Wednesday Week,” Leo Frank case newspaper article series (Original PDF)

Ordeal is Borne with Reserve by Franks

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

Atlanta Georgian
August 4th, 1913

Wife and Mother of the Accused Pencil Factory Superintendent Sit Calmly Through Trial.

By TARLETON COLLIER

Women are brought into a court room, as all the world knows, for one of two purposes. Their presence may have a moral effect in softening the heart of a juror, particularly if they be young, pretty or wistful of countenance. Or they may be there on the affectionate mission of cheering and encouraging a beloved defendant.

Two women sat with Leo Frank through all the hot, weary days of last week. Their object was the one or the other. Which?

A study of these women was the answer. Everybody studied them. Everybody knew that love and trust inspired them. Whether Frank be innocent or guilty, to his credit be it said that he is loved by the women closest to him.

His mother was one of the two, a woman on whose face was written plainly the story of a life in which there was much of grief, much of the tenderest joy, much of loving and being loved.

Tragedy in Mother’s Face.

Her eyes were sad. Her features never lost their tragic composure. But it was plain that smiles had come often to her in the course of her life. The face is common to mothers.

The other woman was his wife, a robust, wholesome young woman. Her face was the placid face of one whose life has been pleasant. No unhappy event had come to mar a single feature. None of the troubles that had been the mother’s had come to her until this calamity.

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Frank Calm and Jurors Tense While Jim Conley Tells His Gastcy [sic] Tale

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

Atlanta Georgian
August 4th, 1913

During the long wait for Conley to appear, Frank, his loyal wife and his no less loyal mother gave no sign of fear. Accuser and accused were about to face each other, a dramatic situation which the authorities had sought to bring about since the negro made his third affidavit charging Frank with the terrible crime.

If Frank at last were on the edge of a breakdown his calm, untroubled features were most deceiving at this time. He seemed no more concerned than when John Black, floundering and helpless on the stand, was making as good a witness for the defense as he was expected to make for the State.

When Solicitor Dorsey announced that Conley would be the next witness the courtroom was electrified with a shock of interest in which the only three persons who seemed not affected were this trio—Frank, his wife and his mother.

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Girl Asked for Mary Phagan’s Pay But Was Refused by Frank

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

Atlanta Constitution
August 3rd, 1913

Miss Helen Ferguson, formerly employed at the National Pencil factory, but now working for Marcus Loeb and company, was the first state witness put on the stand Saturday morning.

She proved to be a li[t]tle girl in short dresses with her hair hanging in two braids down her back. Her age she gave as sixteen. On the stand she was rather timid and answered questions in an almost inaudible voice, but replied positively to each one. She was only kept on the stand about fifteen minutes.

For two years previous to the murder she declared that she had been working for the National Pencil factory.

“Did you see Frank on April 25, the Friday before the murder?” the solicitor asked after the usual introductory questions of her age and identity.

“Yes,” she replied.

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Detective Waggoner Describes Extreme Nervousness of Frank

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

Atlanta Constitution
August 3rd, 1913

City Detective D. L. Waggoner was called to the stand following Miss Ferguson Attorney Rosser immediately raised the objection that he had been in the court room and the solicitor declared that he did not know whether or not the detective had Waggoner stated that he was present for about 20 minutes Wednesday.

“He was not sworn and put under the rule,” explained Solicitor Dorsey, “because I did not know that I would need him.”

The defense made no further objection and the examination began.

“How long have you been on the force, Mr. Waggoner?” the solicitor asked.

“About four years, in all.”

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Audio Book: The Frank Case, part 3

WE ARE proud to present today, on the 107th anniversary of the foul murder of Mary Phagan, the third and concluding part of our audio version of an extremely rare contemporary book on the murder and the trial of Leo Frank, her killer, entitled The Frank Case — read by Vanessa Neubauer.


It becomes obvious in this concluding segment that this is a pro-Leo Frank book. Not only is Frank’s very odd unsworn statement (in which he literally spent hours going over every irrelevant detail of his company’s financial statement, and which obviously did not make a good impression on the jury) praised to the skies, but long extracts from it are quoted — some of them twice!

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Audio Book: The Frank Case, part 2

A photograph of Leo Frank, as published in The Frank Case

THE AMERICAN MERCURY now presents the second part (of three parts) of our audio version of what is probably the most hard-to-find book on the murder of Mary Phagan and the trial of Leo Frank — 1913’s anonymously published The Frank Case — read by Vanessa Neubauer.

The Frank Case: Inside Story of Georgia’s Greatest Murder Mystery now continues as we get into the detailed story of the trial itself.

One very interesting thing strikes me about this section of the book. Even though the book, I find, is moderately pro-Frank, what it reveals about the atmosphere surrounding the trial tends to strongly disprove the modern “Frank was railroaded by anti-Semitic Southern Whites” theory.

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Audio Book: The Frank Case, part 1

The cover of the book on which our new audio book is based

THE AMERICAN MERCURY is proud to present the first part of our audio version of a rare, almost-suppressed book on the murder of Mary Phagan and the trial of Leo Frank, 1913’s The Frank Case — published almost immediately after the events it details took place, when they were fresh in the minds of Atlantans. Only one original copy is known to survive, though there are rumors of others. This book is also unique as it is the earliest known book published about the case.


Its full title is The Frank Case: Inside Story of Georgia’s Greatest Murder Mystery. It was published anonymously. It highlights the events leading up to the trial and aftermath surrounding the April 26th, 1913, murder of Mary Phagan by her sweatshop boss, the superintendent of the National Pencil Company, Leo M. Frank. The book strives to maintain neutrality and includes a dramatically-rendered history of this sensational crime.

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Tragedy, Ages Old, Lurks in Commonplace Court Setting

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

Atlanta Georgian
July 29th, 1913

Outwardly Quiet and Singularly Lacking in Excitement, Frank Trial is Enactment of Grim Drama.

By JAMES B. NEVIN.

One of the most commonplace things in the world—crime—is riveting the attention of Atlanta and Georgia to-day.

Crime is almost as commonplace as death—and yet death, in a thousand ways, never is commonplace at all.

If I were a stranger in Atlanta and should walk into the courthouse where Leo Frank is being tried for the murder of Mary Phagan, doubtless I should be utterly astounded to discover what I had walked into.

That pale-faced, slight, boyish-looking party over there—the one sitting beside the massive frame of Luther Z. Rosser and the well-groomed person of Reuben Arnold—I should be shocked, I am sure, to learn that he stands charged with one of the blackest, most inhuman and most unspeakable crimes in all Georgia’s somewhat long and varied catalogue of crime.

Yet that is the truth—Leo Frank is answering to the charge of the Grand Jury, and he has pleaded not guilty.

Crime and wrongdoing began, of course, when Mother Eve, through no motive other than curiosity, and without malice aforethought, either expressed or implied, bit a small and toothsome morsel from the first apple.

Cain performed the first murder not so very long afterward.

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Frank Fights for Life Monday

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

Atlanta Georgian (Hearst’s Sunday American)
July 27th, 1913

Dorsey Ready to Avenge Mary Phagan

Mystery of Months Is Still Unsolved

Most Bitter Legal Battle in History of Atlanta Courts Is Expected—Case Will Probably Last for Weeks.

After three months of mystery in the death of Mary Phagan, a climax is at hand more tense, more dramatic, more breathlessly interesting to Atlanta and all Georgia than any situation of fiction. Leo M. Frank, employer of the little girl whose tragic death, April 26, stirred a State, will be brought to trial Monday on the charge that he killed her.

Frank’s trial is the crowning event of the hundred thrilling circumstances surrounding the tragedy. Whatever the outcome, regardless of Frank’s conviction or acquittal, the incidents that follow the trial will come as an anti-climax. The prosecution has cast almost all its chances for solving the mystery into the case it has prepared against Frank. Its heavy guns are trained against the factory superintendent. It has opposed the indictment of the single other suspect, the negro Jim Conley. The enthralled interest of a public has been pitched about the question: Is Leo Frank guilty?

FRANK DRAMA’S CENTRAL FIGURE.

Even the pitiful figure of the little factory girl, mysteriously slain, has become subordinate in interest to that of Frank. The young man’s own personality, his steadfastly loyal and loving family, his friends who affirm his innocence in the face of a dark suspicion, all have become factors in making Frank the central figure of the crime drama.

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Story of Phagan Case by Chapters

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

Atlanta Georgian
July 22nd, 1913

Slaying of Factory Girl, South’s Most Baffling Crime Mystery, Reviewed in Detail.

CHAPTER I.

Will the veil of mystery be lifted when the curtain rises next Monday on another scene in Atlanta’s darkest tragedy?

A vast audience, shocked by the horror of Mary Phagan’s fate on a Saturday of last April and held through the succeeding weeks in the thrall of the baffling crime drama, in keen suspense awaits this question’s answer.

Will Fulton County’s Solicitor General be able to point his finger at Leo M. Frank and exclaim, “That is the man who strangled Mary Phagan!” backing his damning accusation with such abundance of evidence that there can remain no shadow of doubt?

Or will Luther Rosser, certain to be a towering and masterful factor in the titanic struggle that is to be staged, unmask his strength, bring to bear the secret evidence that has been in his possession for weeks, beat down every bulwark of suspicion that the State has erected about its prisoner and, as a dramatic finale, assail the negro, Jim Conley, cowering in the witness stand, with a ranking volley of questions that will leave the negro man shaken and terrified, a confession of the crime upon his lips?

Whole State Stirred.

All of Atlanta—most of the State—is hanging with the most intense interest on the outcome.

No other crime ever stirred Georgia to its depths as has the slaying of the little factory girl.

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Defense Asks Ruling on Delaying Frank Trial

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

Atlanta Georgian
July 22, 1913

Hearing of Crawford Case May Conflict

Conference Planned to Decide Which Shall Take Precedence. Ready to Draw Venire.

Reuben R. Arnold, of counsel for Leo M. Frank, announced Tuesday that he proposed to seek a conference of the attorneys in the Frank case and in the Crawford will hearing to determine which case should be postponed next Monday, the date set for the beginning of the trial of Frank on the charge of slaying Mary Phagan.

Mr. Arnold, Luther Z. Rosser, chief of counsel for Frank, both also are attorneys in the Crawford will case, and it would be impossible on this account to conduct the two cases simultaneously. The Crawford hearing will resume Wednesday before a special auditor in a branch of the Superior Court, and undoubtedly will be in progress next week if it is not stopped by a postponement.

The will hearing, because of the fact that it already is under way, would have a natural precedence over the Frank trial. This may be waived, however, in order to take up the Phagan mystery.

None of the attorneys for the defense will say that they intend to ask for a postponement of the Frank trial, but the hot weather and the fact that the Crawford case is in progress at this time appear to be combining to bring about such a consummation.

Judge Roan has stated that the case would be called Monday, but he probably will accede to the request for a conference some day this week to discuss the matter.

Court Likely to Accede.

Attorney Arnold will ask that the jurymen be not summoned until a definite decision is reached as to which of the cases is to take precedence.

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