Defense Slips Load by Putting up Character of Leo Frank as Issue

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

Atlanta Georgian
August 14th, 1913

By JAMES B. NEVIN.

The defense in the Frank case did the expected thing when it boldly and unequivocally put Frank’s character in issue.

It indicated its confidence in the justice of the defendant’s cause in doing that, and it met thus a crisis that it hardly could have successfully overcome otherwise, if it so happen that it does overcome it eventually.

Having taken the initiative in the matter of thrashing out Frank’s character, the State will now be forced to make out an unmistakable case of bad character against Frank, or it is likely that the State’s injection of the sinister charge against him, in addition to the charge of murder, may operate as a boomerang to the State’s great hurt finally.

It is not to be wondered at that the defendant’s mother, tried and racked in spirit and pride as she surely must have been, should have let her feelings overcome her for an instant during the course of Wednesday afternoon’s hearing. I do not suppose it is even remotely possible for any person not a mother to understand all she has gone through.

Her vehement protest against the vile things being said and hinted about her boy—true or untrue, though such things always are untrue in mother love, I take it—serves to illustrate, however, how very vital to the defense now is the establishing of Frank’s good character.

I doubt that anything thus far said to the jury has so profoundly impressed it as the unspeakable thing Conley said of the defendant. The jury is only human, and it can no more dodge impressions than other people can.

Impression Must Be Erased.

The defense is up against the herculean task of removing all of that impression from the mind of the jury—the twelve minds of the jury, indeed—for it will not do to leave even a fraction of Conley’s story undemolished!

Manifestly, therefore, the defense could not, if it would get away altogether from the matter of Frank’s character. It found itself necessarily forced to the other extreme of the situation set up by the State.

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Frank’s Character Made Issue by the Defense

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

Atlanta Journal
August 13th, 1913

ACTION A CHALLENGE TO STATE TO PUT UP WITNESSES IN REBUTTAL WHO OTHERWISE COULDN’T TESTIFY

Lemmie Quinn, Foreman In Metal Room, Tells the Jury He Visited Factory on Saturday, April 26, and Found Frank at His Desk Writing at 12:20 o’Clock, the Very Minute Almost That State Claims Mary Phagan Must Have Been Killed

EFFORTS TO SHOW EXPERIMENTS OF WITNESSES WHO RE-ENACTED CONLEY’S STORY BRING FIGHT

Judge Roan Delays Decision Until Both Sides Can Submit Authorities—Dr. W. S. Kendrick Declares Dr. H. F. Harris Was Guessing in Conclusions He Gave About Mary Phagan’s Death—Three School Mate Friends of Frank Tell of His Good Character

The character of Leo M. Frank was put in issue Wednesday morning by his attorneys during the fifteenth day’s session of his trial for the murder of Mary Phagan.

While not unexpected the fact that the defense has thrown down the bars and challenged the state to put a blot on the character of the young factory superintendent was decidedly the feature of the morning session. Generally the defense in important criminal cases does not put the defendant’s character in issue, for few people can stand the searching investigation to which the accused is generally subjected by detectives. Since Frank was first accused of the Phagan murder there have been constant rumors that the detectives have found witnesses who are ready to attack the character of the accused. These witnesses, if the detectives have found them, could never have testified had the defense not paved the way by putting his character in issue and practically challenging the state to its weaknesses. This action on the part of the defense means that Frank’s attorneys are confident that the defendant’s life will stand the white light of investigation.

The direct case of the defense is almost finished. When the noon recess was taken Wednesday, Attorney Luther Z. Rosser and Reuben R. Arnold expected to be through with all except character witnesses in less than a day’s time.

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Interest Unabated as Dramatic Frank Trial Enters Third Week

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

Atlanta Georgian
August 11th, 1913

By JAMES B. NEVIN.

The third week of the most remarkable murder trial ever known in Georgia opened to-day with no apparent lessening of the acute interest and grim appeal heretofore attaching to it.

The public has come to realize thoroughly and completely that the issue is a battle not only between the State and the defendant, Leo Frank, but between Leo Frank and the negro Jim Conley.

Presumably, the defense will take the entire week rounding out its case and perfecting its undermining of Conley’s story.

If it does get through within the week, it will have employed approximately the same amount of time in telling its story that the State employed in telling the other side.

The first powerful and bewildering shock of Conley’s tale, unanticipated in its full sinister detail, has passed away in a measure, it seems.

It is but the simple truth to say that the day of and the day following Conley’s awful charge, in addition to the one of murder, marked the climax of the State’s case and the zenith of feeling against Frank.

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Introduction by Defense of Host Of Character Witnesses Probable

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

Atlanta Constitution
August 10th, 1913

The introduction of character testimony in behalf of Leo Frank at present seems very probable. It is not thought, however, that witnesses of this nature will be put on the stand until the middle of the week.

Attorneys for the defense, as in the past, who have withhold their plans until the exact moment of performance, have refused to discuss whether or not character witnesses will be called. It is the general impression, however, that a wealth of this evidence will be presented—more, in fact, than has been produced in any trial in the state.

At the opening of the case the roll of witnesses named by the defense included some of the city’s foremost business figures, who, it was freely stated, had been called only in defense of the accused man’s character.

The solicitor has never intimated whether or not he has evidence to produce in rebuttal of character testimony in case it is presented. Such evidence, however, can never be produced by the prosecution unless the issue is opened by the defense.

* * *

Atlanta Constitution, August 10th 1913, “Introduction by Defense of Host of Character Witnesses Probable,” Leo Frank case newspaper article series (Original PDF)

Interest in Trial Now Centers in Story of Mincey

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

Atlanta Georgian
August 10th, 1913

Question of Time Considered of Paramount Importance in Defense Theory of Frank Case

EVERY EFFORT WILL BE MADE TO ACCOUNT FOR ALL HIS MOVEMENTS

As all interest centered in the dramatic story of Jim Conley while the case of the prosecution in the Frank trial was being presented, so the public now is awaiting with the keenest expectancy the tale that W. H. Mincey, pedagogue and insurance solicitor, will relate when he is called this week by the attorneys for Leo M. Frank.

Conley swore as glibly as though he were telling of an inconsequential incident in one of his crap games that Frank had confessed to him the killing of Mary Phagan. Then the negro went on in elaborate detail to tell the horrible story of the disposal of the girl’s body.

Mincey will tell a similar story, except that Conley will be named as the man confessing the crime and there will be none of the grewsome descriptions of carrying the limp body from second floor to basement in a piece of crocus bagging.

The coming week of the trial will have other witnesses galore. Some of them may be of much more importance than Mincey. Some of them may contribute in a much greater degree to the strength of the defense’s case. But the appearance, on the stand of no person is being awaited with higher interest than that of Mincey.

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Study of Frank Convicts, Then It Turns and Acquits

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

Atlanta Georgian
August 10th, 1913

Readers of Human Nature See Anything They Want, but Personal Equation Is Forgotten.

By O. B. KEELER.

Leo Frank sits in the prisoner’s dock and all men may read his face.

A great many of them do.

Here are two of the things they read:

(1) No innocent man could remain calm under such fearful charges.

(2) No guilty man could remain calm under, etc.

Leo Frank admittedly was nervous and agitated that morning the murder of Mary Phagan was discovered.

There are two inferences drawn from that fact:

(1) A guilty man naturally would be nervous.

(2) An innocent man naturally, etc.

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Frank or Conley? Still Question

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

Atlanta Georgian
August 10th, 1913

Issue Firmly Drawn Between Two Men

Defense Starting to Mould Its Case

Theory That Negro Attacked Mary Phagan With Motive of Robbing Her Will Be Shown; Two Charges Against Accused Must Be Refuted

By AN OLD POLICE REPORTER.

The second week of the trial of Leo Frank, charged with the murder of Mary Phagan in the National Pencil Factory on the afternoon of April 26, came to a close Saturday noon.

The State’s case has been entirely made up in its primary aspects, and the defense has gone into its story of the great crime sufficiently to make clear both its theory and probable line of pleading.

The public, as the case has progressed, has been swayed this way and that, and to-day the remarkable mystery of Mary Phagan’s untimely and tragic end remains, in hundreds of minds, quite as much of a mystery as ever.

The Battle Is a See-Saw.

The State has had its good days and its bad days, and the defense has met the same fate. At times things have seemed dismally dark and gloomy for Frank, while at other times the clouds apparently have lifted from about him decidedly.

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Hinchey Tells of Seeing Frank on Car on Day of the Murder

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

Atlanta Constitution
August 9th, 1913

H. J. Hinchey, of 391 Peachtree street, a business acquaintance of Leo Frank, and manager of the South Atlantic Blow Pipe company, was put upon the stand by the defense. He stated having seen Frank on the murder date as the superintendent rode into town on a Washington street trolley car, meeting him at Washington and Hunter streets.

He was questioned by Mr. Arnold.

“Do you recollect April 26, Memorial day?”

“Yes.”
“Did you see Leo Frank that day?”
“Yes.”

“Where?”
“Near the capitol.”

“Was he on foot or riding?”
“He was aboard a trolley car.”

“Were you on foot?”
“No, I was driving an automobile.”

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Dorsey Tries to Prove Frank Had Chance to Kill Girl

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

Atlanta Georgian
August 4th, 1913

NEGRO SPRINGS NEW SENSATION, ADDING TO STORY.

James Conley, the negro sweeper in the National Pencil Factory, was called to the stand in the trial of Leo M. Frank, whom he accuses of the murder of Mary Phagan, at 10:15 Monday; under the skillful questioning of Solicitor Dorsey began the recitation of his sensational story.

The negro was taken to the court in Chief Beavers’ automobile and was accompanied by his lawyer, W.M. Smith. It was learned for the first time Monday that Conley would swear that he saw Mary Phagan enter the factory just before Monteen Stover, and that she was there the entire time the Stover girl was there. He will also swear that Frank admitted to him hitting Mary Phagan in the eye with his fist, and that after he helped him carry the body to the basement he promised Frank to come back at night and dispose of the body, but lost his nerve.

James Conley, the negro sweeper about whose sensational statement accusing Leo Frank of the murder of Mary Phagan, the greatest fight of the trial will be waged, was summoned to court this morning. All the indications were that he would go on the stand this morning. The police were notified to bring him to the courthouse shortly after the trial was resumed.

Determined to make his chain of circumstantial evidence strong enough to resist the attacks of the defense, Solicitor General Hugh M. Dorsey Monday proceeded to call witnesses who will give additional testimony to show that Leo M. Frank had the opportunity to kill Mary Phagan at the time the State declares the crime was committed.

Street car men were summoned to show that the little girl had time to arrive at the factory at a time coinciding with the theory supported by the sensational evidence of Dr. Roy Harris that she was slain within forty-five minutes after having eaten her lunch of cabbage and bread.

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Jurors Strain Forward to Catch Conley Story; Frank’s Interest Mild

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

Atlanta Georgian
August 4th, 1913

Dramatic in its very glibness and unconcern, Conley’s story, if it failed to shake or disturb Leo Frank, at least had a wonderful impression upon each member of the jury.

Conley told of seeing Mary Phagan enter the factory. This was the first time he had admitted to this, so far as the public had known.

Frank showed only a mild interest, but the jurors strained forward in their seats.

Conley told of hearing the footsteps from his vantage point on the first floor of two persons coming out of Frank’s office.

Frank still exhibited no sign of concern.

Conley then related hearing the footsteps going back to the metal room and of being startled by the shrieks of a young girl.

Mrs. Frank bowed her head, but gave no other sign. Frank still was the personification of coolness and composure.

* * *

The Atlanta Georgian, August 4th 1913, “Jurors Strain Forward to Catch Conley Story; Frank’s Interest Mild,” Leo Frank case newspaper article series (Original PDF)

Leo Frank’s Eyes Show Intense Interest in Every Phase of Case

Courtroom Studies of Leo Frank: Three typical poses of the defendant in the famous Phagan case are show, while in the upper left of the picture is a study of Luther Rosser, his leading counsel. Here is what a study of Frank’s face reveals: His face is immovable, except, perhaps, for the eyes. But fixity of countenance does not always go with unconcern. In this case it is a part of the man’s nature. Immobility is the essential part of his physiognomy. It is the immobility of the business man given to calculation, of the gambler, of the person given to repression.

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

Atlanta Georgian
August 3rd, 1913

Face Is Immobile, but Gaze Tells Story of Deep Feeling of Man on Trial—A Study of Prisoner at Close Range.

By TABLETON COLLIER.

Everybody says in his heart that he knows human nature, that he can read guilt or innocence, sensuality or asceticism, calm or perturbation in the face of another. Everybody armed to his own satisfaction with this power of divination, has gone to the trial of Leo Frank to watch the man who is charged with the murder of a little girl, the most brutal and conscienceless of murders.

The young man who is thus the center of all eyes sits apparently unconscious of the multiple gaze that continue all day long. Those who go to watch him declare a variety of opinions—that he is calloused or that he is conscience-clear, that he scorns the outcome of the trial whatever it may be, or that he is serene in his innocence.

The watchers generally admit, however, that he is unconcerned.

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Conley to Bring Frank Case Crisis

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

Atlanta Georgian
August 3rd, 1913

Negro’s Testimony Now Supremely Important

Both Sides Stake Their All on His Evidence

STATE FORGES CHAIN TO TAX ALL THE INGENUITY OF DEFENSES LEGAL ARRAY

First Week of Battle Has Fixed the Time Almost Exactly According to Theory of the Solicitor—Doctors’ Testimony His Important Bearing.

BY AN OLD POLICE REPORTER.

There are two tenable theories of the manner in which little Mary Phagan met her tragic death in the National Pencil Factory on Saturday, April 26.

Either she was murdered by Leo Frank, as charged in the indictment, or she was murdered by James Conley, the negro sweeper, employed in the factory.

If there is another theory, it has not been advanced.

The theory that Frank killed the girl is the one set up by the State; the theory that Conley killed her is the one to be set up by the defense.

Which, if either, is the true theory?

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Mary Phagan Murdered Within Hour After Dinner

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

Atlanta Constitution
August 2nd, 1913

DR. H. F. HARRIS GIVES STARTLING EVIDENCE ABOUT TIME OF MURDER

Wound on Eye of Girl Victim of Pencil Factory Crime Looked as if It Came From Blow of Fist, Secretary of State Board of Health Tells the Jurymen.

WHILE ON THE STAND DR. HARRIS COLLAPSES FROM RECENT ILLNESS

Frequent Clashes Take Place During Testimony of N. V. Darley, Assistant Superintendent of National Pencil Factory, Over the Alleged Nervousness of Frank.

Within three-quarters of an hour after she had eaten her frugal breakfast of cabbage and bread, Mary Phagan was dead.

This startling fact was brought out at Friday’s session of the Leo M. Frank trial, when Dr. Roy Harris, secretary of the state board of health, took the stand to tell of the post-mortem examination he performed on the body of the child.

The time of the murder has always been a mooted question. When Dr. Harris made his declaration and exhibited a small bottle containing particles of cabbage, which had been taken from the stomach and which had not had time to digest, a thrill went through the court room.

Crowd on the Qui Vive.

As soon as Dr. Harris entered the court room during the afternoon session, the crowd seemed to sense the dramatic situation which was to follow.

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Uncle of Frank, Near Death in Far-Off Hospital, Is Ignorant Of Charges, Against His Nephew

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

Atlanta Journal
July 30th, 1913

Moses Frank Has Been Given No Inkling of Circumstances That Now Are About Frank Family—He Is Seriously Ill in German Hospital

Lying at the point of death in a hospital in far-off Germany is the uncle of Leo M. Frank, unknowing that for the last three months his favorite nephew has been imprisoned on the charge of murder and that today he is on trial for his life.

This is what an attorney for the defense says. He declares that uncle how regarded Leo Frank almost as his own son, has been too ill for many months to be given an inkling of the new circumstances about the Frank family and that he still believes his nephew is as he left him.

For a long time Moses Frank has been in bad health. In search of relief he went abroad, hoping that the treatment of European specialists would cure him. But Moses Frank grew worse instead of better, and on the day Mary Phagan was murdered he still was in Europe, while grave fears were entertained for his recovery.

They have been afraid to tell him about his nephew, apprehensive that the shock would cause the spark of life, already so feebly burning, to flicker out.

Trial is No Ordeal for Me, Says Frank’s Mother

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

Atlanta Journal
July 30th, 1913

She Declares Her Confidence in Son’s Innocence Makes It Easy for Her

“My son never looked stronger than at this moment,” said Mrs. Ray Frank, of Brooklyn, Wednesday morning. “The trial isn’t telling upon him because he isn’t worrying. He is confident because of his innocence and because of his certainty of an acquittal.

“Neither his wife nor myself is anxious. Of course, we feel the heat and it is tiring to sit here in the court room throughout the day. But, like my son, we are not afraid. Why should we be? We know that he is innocent and we know that, because of this fact, he will be acquitted.

“I, his mother, know that he is free from all guilt of the charge upon which he is being tried, and that this trial can have only one result—his acquittal.

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Defense Plans Sensation, Line of Queries Indicates

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

Atlanta Georgian
July 30th, 1913

That a sensation is be sprung by the defense by the production of the mysteriously missing ribbon and flowers from the hat of the murdered girl was repeatedly indicated by Attorney Rosser’s line of questioning Tuesday and the afternoon before.

Beginning with Mrs. J. W. Coleman, mother of Mary Phagan, the attorney for Frank interrogated every witness who saw the girl alive or dead that day in regard to the ribbon and flowers.

Mrs. Coleman said that the ribbon and flowers were on the hat when Mary left home. Newt Lee said that he had seen no sign of the missing trimmings. The testimony of Sergeant L. S. Dobbs was the same. Detective Starnes, when he was turned over the cross-examination, made the same admission.

It is believed that Rosser will produce the ribbon and will attempt to establish that it was found in a place throwing suspicion upon the negro Conley.

Frank was brought to the courthouse at about 8 o’clock Wednesday morning. There was no change in his demeanor or physical appearance. If the trial has been any strain upon him he does not display the effects. He was dressed in the dark mohair suit he wore Tuesday. He greeted his friends cheerily and spoke confidently of acquittal.

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Frank’s Mother Pitiful Figure of the Trial

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

Atlanta Georgian
July 30th, 1913

Defendant Perfect in Poise, His Wife Picture of Contemptuous Confidence.

By L. F. WOODRUFF.

Arm akimbo; glasses firmly set, changing position seldom, Leo M. Frank sits through his trial with his thoughts in Kamchatka, Terra del Fuego, or the Antipodes, so far as the spectators in the courtroom can judge.

He may realize that if the twelve men he faces decide that he is guilty of the murder of Mary Phagan, the decree of earthly court will be that his sole hope of the future will be an appeal to the Court on High. His mind may constantly carry the impression of the likelihood of the solemn reading of the death warrant, the awful march to the death chamber, the sight of the all terrifying gibbet, the dreadful ascension of its steel stairs, the few words of religious consolation—and then the drop.

Frank’s Face a Mask.

But if he does realize these things, his face is as completely masked against emotion as that of a skilled poker player.

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Rabbi Marx Asserts His Belief in Frank

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

Atlanta Journal
July 29th, 1913

Can’t Build Case on Pack of Lies Any More Than House on Cards, Rabbi Says

In the room directly above the one where Leo M. Frank was on trial for the murder of Mary Phagan Monday afternoon were gathered a score of friends of the accused who eagerly discussed his chances for and against acquittal.

Prominent among them was Dr. David I. Marx, rabbi of the Jewish synagogue to which Frank belonged. With other friends of the prisoner he declared emphatically his belief in Frank’s innocence.

“There is no man in Atlanta,” said Dr. Marx, “more eager to see justice done or to find the guilty man in this case than am I, and the very fact of this and of my presence here shows my deep belief in the innocence of Mr. Frank. The truth is obliged to come out at last. You no more can build a case on a pack of lies than you can build a house on a pack of cards without a downfall.”

Frank’s Undistur[b]ed Face Wonder of the Court Room

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

Atlanta Journal
July 29th, 1913

His Brow Does Not Wrinkle, His Eyes Do Not Quail or Even Flicker—He Is Cool and Quiet

Leo M. Frank’s expression of quiet confidence has surprised every visitor to the court room where he is being tried for murder.

He sites for the most part with his hands crossed, and listens coolly to the testimony or to the argument of attorneys.

Not since the trial began has he seemed the least perturbed. His manner has been quiet and contained, like that of one who is sure of himself and sure of his cause.

Yet he has not seemed indifferent. He has been attentive at all times, but his attention has been marked by as little excitement or distress as that of any spectator.

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Mrs. Leo Frank and Her Mother Cheer Prisoner at Courthouse

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

Atlanta Journal
July 28th, 1913

Accused Neither Care-Worn Nor Haggard—His Eyes Meet Those of Crowd Without Faltering

There was one question on the face of every member of the big crowd in and around the courthouse Monday morning. To those standing without in the street, to those crowding the corridors and hallways, to witnesses flowing through rooms on the second floor, to the packed courtroom, the query was, where is the prisoner.

The man to whom the trial meant more than it meant to any other human being, had been brought to the courthouse early in the morning.

He was in a bare walled little room a few feet from the doorway leading to the court. With him sat two deputy sheriffs, his father-in-law, Emile Selig, and a friend.

From time to time during the morning the curious slipped to the door and gazed in at the accused. They saw a little man whose dark eyes gazed at them unwinking through big glasses. He was pale, but neither care-worn nor haggard. He wore a light gray suit striped with darker gray, black shoes, and a black and white four-in-hand tie.

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