Attorney for Conley Makes a Statement

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

The Atlanta Georgian

Sunday, July 20, 1913

“Not Necessary to Indict Negro to Close His Mouth,” Declares William Smith.

William M. Smith, attorney for Jim Conley, the negro now being held as a material witness in the Phagan murder case and whose indictment for complicity in the crime will be considered by the Grand Jury Monday, brought to the office of The Sunday American Saturday night a statement in behalf of his client.

In a letter accompanying the statement, Mr. Smith conveyed a doubt as to whether this newspaper would print what he had to say.

The attorney’s statement in full follows:

The Grand Jury list published showed the names of some men whom I know, and know they are on the square, and, if they once understand the real situation, there will be a bear fight before Jim Conley is indicted at this time.

Of course it would be great work, if the State could be forced to so indict Conley as to make his testimony legally inadmissible against Frank. What a beautiful technical advantage for the Grand Jury to work to close Conley’s mouth against Frank.

Code of Georgia, section 1035: “Confessions of conspirators. The confession of one joint offender or conspirator, made after the enterprise is ended, is admissible only against himself.”

How long would the good people of this county stand for such legal jugglery to save a brutal murderer from the gallows? It is right that both men shall talk. The Grand Jury can name Conley as a joint offender or conspirator, they can give him a “legal status,” which we have heard so much howl about for the last few days, and save Frank from the embarrassment of having to face Conley, even when he is tried. The Grand Jury may know more about what is legally proper to do in this matter than the men who have been playing this game for a living for years, but they had better move slow. We have been studying the principles underlying this fight for months, and they are fresh hands, just on the job for a few days.

It is not necessary to indict Conley to close his mouth. I can close it and help Frank to go free, and then Mr. Mincey and others of his type can be run off by the friends of Mr. Frank, and be inaccessible as witnesses when Conley is tried, and then Conley can go free. This could be done, but it won’t be. Unless they get me fired from my representation of Conley, and unless the Grand Jury fixes his “legal status” so he can’t swear, Conley will answer the roll call as a witness and tell the whole truth as he knows it. It is evident that a trade whereby Conley would close his mouth would be advantageous to both. With Mr. Mincey and others non est inventus, as I imagine they will be if they are not held after swearing, by some process, Conley could not possibly be convicted of murdering the girl himself, and with Frank free Conley could not even be indicted and punished as an accessory after the fact. Such a trade might even be made interesting to Conley’s lawyer, from a financial viewpoint. In fact, everybody but society and the administration of justice would be helped.

We are not looking for trades. Let everybody tell the whole truth, as they see it, and then let justice take its full course, unhampered by ringers or other influences, permeating either the grand or petit juries of this county. When this is done, the fiendish murder of Mary Phagan will be avenged and the civic conscience of our good people satisfied.

WILLIAM M. SMITH.

* * *

The Atlanta Georgian, July 20th 1913, “Attorney for Conley Makes a Statement,” Leo Frank case newspaper article series (Original PDF)

Counsel of Frank Says Dorsey Has Sought to Hide Facts

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

The Atlanta Georgian

Sunday, July 20, 1913

Attorneys Rosser and Arnold, in a Statement to the Press, Make Bitter Attack on Solicitor for His Conduct of Phagan Case.

Call Attention to Secrecy Maintained by Prosecution, and Declare Action of State’s Attorney Has Inflamed Public Opinion.

Luther Z. Rosser and Reuben R. Arnold, attorneys for Leo M. Frank, who will be tried July 29 on the charge of killing Mary Phagan, joined Saturday in a bitter attack upon the policy of Solicitor Hugh M. Dorsey, whose procedure in the case, they said, had inflamed public opinion and had placed the Solicitor far below the dignity of his office.

In a formal statement, they charged that Dorsey had ignored his constitutional and legal functions and had sought to usurp those of the Grand Jury by his attempt to block the indictment of Jim Conley by that body.

They described his action as unprecedented and dangerous in the extreme, and represented Dorsey and Conley as partners in “a harmonious concert.”

The document, which is one of the few public statements issued by the defense, is bristling with criticism of the Solicitor’s conduct throughout the investigation of the murder mystery, and charges that Dorsey has maintained his belief in Frank’s guilt apparently for no other purpose than to convict Frank.

Call Attention to Secrecy.

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Grim Justice Pursues Mary Phagan’s Slayer

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

The Atlanta Constitution

Sunday, July 20, 1913

As Famous Murder Case Nears Trial the Public Mind Again Reverts to the Discovery of the Crime; and Again the Great Question Comes Up:

“What Happened in the Pencil Factory Between Noon Saturday and 3:15 Sunday Morning?”

By Britt Craig.

Automobile in which detectives and newspaper men went to the scene of the murder. In the machine are Detective Starnes, Harry Scott, W. W. (Boots) Rogers and John Black.

There are things that happen right before our eyes that defy the pen of a god to describe. The mind of a master would find itself lamentably incompetent, and the words of a Demosthenes would become panic-stricken in the attempt.

One of these was the night Mary Phagan’s body was found. It was a night as dramatic as the fury of a queen and poignant as her sorrow. It wrote the first thrilling chapter of Atlanta’s greatest criminal case, and it will live forever in the minds of those who knew it.

This story is no effort at description, because description is impossible. It is just a plain, ordinary story of the happenings that night when Newt Lee went down into the basement to wash his hands and emerged, overcome with fear, the discoverer of a crime that put an entire state in mourning.

A week from tomorrow, Leo Frank, manager of the pencil factory, where Mary Phagan’s body was found, will be placed on trial charged with the murder of the young girl, and interest in this mysterious crime again goes back to the night when Newt Lee startled police headquarters with news of his grewsome find.

Finding the Body.

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Mrs. Nina Formby Will Not Return for Trial

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

The Atlanta Constitution

Sunday, July 20, 1913

Woman Swore That Leo M. Frank Tried to Engage Room on Night of Murder

Mrs. Nina Formby, who signed an affidavit in the Frank case in which she swore the superintendent has endeavored to engage a room at her house, 400 Piedmont avenue, during the Phagan murder night to which he might bring a girl has fled to Chattanooga and will not appear at the coming trial on July 28. This announcement was made to a Constitution reporter last night by the woman’s legal representative, John Gossett. Gossett states that she is fearful of facing cross examination on some phases of her story.

A letter has been placed on file in Gossett’s office in which the Formby woman asks for a continuance of a trial in which she will be arraigned before a justice court. August or September are the months to which she asks the case be put. The letter says that she will not be in Atlanta until that time. She has obtained a position in the Tennessee city, she says, and intends making Chattanooga her future home.

At first it was intimated that the state would put credence in the affidavit, but on account of the woman’s character it was later considered of but little value.

* * *

The Atlanta Constitution, July 20th 1913, “Mrs. Nina Formby Will Not Return for Trial,” Leo Frank case newspaper article series (Original PDF)

Frank’s Lawyers Score Dorsey for His Stand

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

The Atlanta Constitution

Sunday, July 20, 1913

Luther Rosser and Reuben Arnold Declare He Is Going Out of His Way to Dictate to the Grand Jury.

EXCEEDS PROVINCE OF SOLICITOR GENERAL

Grand Jury Will Meet at 10 O’Clock Monday Morning to Take Up Conley Case. Call Is Sent Out.

In reply to Solicitor General Hugh M. Dorsey’s statements in regard to the proposed indictment by the grand jury of James Conley, the negro who has confessed complicity in the murder of Mary Phagan, Attorneys Reuben R. Arnold and Luther Z. Rosser issued a statement Saturday afternoon in which they openly attacked the stand taken by the solicitor in protesting against the indictment of the negro.

That the solicitor is exceeding his legal functions as a state officer is one point that the lawyers defending Leo M. Frank make in their statement, and they also severely criticise the solicitor for his detective work in the Phagan murder.

The card also contains a reference to the statement made in The Constitution Saturday morning by Attorney William M. Smith, representing the negro Conley. The card of the Frank defense takes Attorney Smith to task for rushing to the aid of the solicitor.

Solicitor General Dorsey also issued a statement in which he declared that he no more believed that the grand jury, when it meets Monday, would indict James Conley than he believes that Judge J.T. Pendleton will accede to the request of Frank attorneys to draw the venire for the trial jury from the box containing names of grand jury veniremen.

Roan Out of City.

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Jury Is Determined to Consider a Bill Against Jim Conley

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

The Atlanta Journal

Saturday, July 19, 1913

Protest of Solicitor Fails to Stop Session to Consider Phagan Evidence on Monday

DORSEY STILL BELIEVES JURY WON’T INDICT

Solicitor Says Frank Defense Wants Jury to Try Him Drawn From the Grand Jury List

Grand Jurors Who Will Consider Conley’s Case

This is the Fulton county grand jury which has been called to meet Monday over the protest of the solicitor to take up the case of Jim Conley, the negro sweeper at the National Pencil factory:
W.D. Beatie, foreman.
T.C. Whitner.
John S. Spalding.
W.C. Carroll, East Point.
H.B. Ferguson.
Garnet McMillan, East Point.
Edward H. Inman.
A.W. Farlinger.
M.A. Fall.
Julius M. Skinner.
Oscar Elsas.
George Bancroft.
W.H. Glenn.
S.E. McConnell.
Thomas J. Buchanan.
Sameuel A. Carson.
Eugene Oberdorfer.
A.Q. Adams.
W.O. Stamps.
W.T. Ashford.

There are only twenty citizens on the grand jury which has been called to meet Monday by Foreman W.D. Beattie to consider indicting James Conley, the negro sweeper, for the murder of Mary Phagan.

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Dorsey Resists Move to Indict Jim Conley

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

The Atlanta Georgian

Saturday, July 19, 1913

GRAND JURY SPLIT BY LATEST MOVE

Public Opinion Forces Consideration of Move to Indict Conley for Phagan Slaying.

Solicitor Dorsey is fighting vigorously the movement in the Grand Jury to indict Jim Conley Monday for the murder of Mary Phagan, despite the bombardment of letters from many citizens and by the sentiment of some of its own members.

It is for the consideration of these letters and petitions, asking the reopening of the Phagan matter, that the meeting has been called. That it will result in the indictment of the negro is thought certain.

It was in the face of Solicitor Dorsey’s bitterest opposition that the meeting was called at all. Foreman Beattie issued his den [sic] after a previous Grand Jury had been defeated in its efforts to reopen the case with a view of indicting Jim Conley and after Dorsey explicitly had expressed his strongest disapproval of such a move.

Crucial Battle Coming.

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Grand Jury Meets to Indict Conley

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

The Atlanta Constitution

Saturday, July 19, 1913

Call Is Issued After Solicitor General Hugh Dorsey Had Flatly Refused Request of Foreman.

A call for the Fulton grand jury to meet at 10 o’clock Monday to take steps leading to the indictment of James Conley, the negro sweeper of the National Pencil factory who accuses Leo M. Frank, its superintendent, of the Mary Phagan murder was issued yesterday by Foreman W.D. Beatie [sic] after Solicitor General Hugh M. Dorsey had flatly refused the foreman’s request to call the meeting.

The move to indict Conley is wrong and should not be made, the solicitor told the grand jury foreman when discussing the matter with him and the call which went out was over the head of the state’s legal representative in Fulton county.

Smith Attacks Action

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Scott Believes Conley Innocent, Asserts Lanford

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

The Atlanta Constitution

Saturday, July 19, 1913

Chief’s Statement Follows the Publication of Report That Pinkertons Are Now of the Opinion Sweeper Is Guilty.

“OPEN TO CONVICTION,” SCOTT TELLS REPORTER

“Our Testimony in Case Will Be Fair and Impartial,” He Says—Grand Jury Called to Consider Indicting Conley.

DEVELOPMENTS OF DAY IN MARY PHAGAN CASE

Meeting of grand jury called to take steps leading to indictment of James Conley on the charge of murder, over protest of Solicitor General Hugh Dorsey, who declares that indictment of Conley will be useless procedure.

Reported on Friday that the Pinkertons have changed their opinion in case, and now believe Conley guilty of murder, and Leo M. Frank innocent.

Harry Scott, field manager of Pinkertons, is denied permission to see Conley in his cell and subject him to quiz, although always allowed this privilege in past.

“Scott told me he still believes Conley innocent and Frank guilty,” says Chief of Detectives Lanford. “Pinkertons will give fair and impartial testimony at coming trial,” Scott tells Constitution. “Whether it affects Frank or the negro is no concern of ours; we were employed to find the murderer.”

“Conley is dealing fairly with the state of Georgia,” says his attorney, William M. Smith, in making attack on action of the grand jury.

That Harry Scott, field manager for the Pinkertons, came to police headquarters yesterday afternoon immediately following the publication of a story to the effect that the Pinkertons now believed in Conley’s guilt, and declared that he still held to the theory that the negro was innocent and Frank guilty, was the assertion made by Newport Lanford, chief of detectives, last night.

“Scott told me,” said the chief last night, “that there was no truth in the article so far as he personally was concerned, and that he continued firm in the belief that Conley was innocent.

“He has maintained throughout the investigation that Frank is guilty, and that Conley had nothing more to do with the crime than the complicity to which he confessed. He came to me Friday especially to deny the story.

Why Scott Was Barred.

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Pinkertons Now Declare Leo M. Frank Is Innocent

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

The Atlanta Journal

Friday, July 18, 1913

*Editor’s Note: Small sections of text are missing due to scanning near a crease.

NOTED SLEUTHS WHO HAD ACCUSED FRANK NOW CHANGE THEORY

Harry Scott, Field Chief of the Pinkertons, Refuses to Discuss the Agency’s Change of Theory.

AGENTS HAVE WORKED ON CASE ALONG WITH POLICE

The Pinkertons Were Employed by the National Pencil Factory Immediately Following the Murder

That the Pikerton [sic] detectives, who for so many weeks held to the theory that Leo M. Frank is guilty of the Mary Phagan murder, now lay the crime to the door of Jim Conley, is a recent development of interest to the students of the murder mystery.

While Harry Scott, the field chief of the Pinkerton operatives, who have been working on the case practically from the first, employed by the National pencil factory to find Mary Phagan’s murderer, regardless of who the criminal might be, refuses to discuss the case, the Journal has learned from unquestioned authority that the theory of the Pinkertons has undergone a change.

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Grand Jury Is Called Monday to Indict Jim Conley

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

The Atlanta Journal

Friday, July 18, 1913

*Editor’s Note: Small sections of text are missing due to scanning near a crease.

GRAND JURY CALLED TO TAKE UP MATTER OVER DORSEY’S HEAD

Foreman W.D. Beattie Calls Body to Meet Monday and Take Up Evidence Against Negro in Phagan Girl’s Case derer [sic]

SOLICITOR REFUSED TO ISSUE THE CALL

Notwithstanding the Solicitor’s Protest, Foreman Calls a Meeting Anyhow—Dorsey Issues a Statement

Over the vigorous protest of Solicitor General Hugh M. Dorsey, the foreman of the grand jury has called a meeting for Monday for the specific purpose of considering an indictment against James Conley, the negro sweeper, who claims that he assisted Superintendent Leo M. Frank in disposing of the body of Mary Phagan, after she had been murdered in the National pencil factory on April 26.

The solictior [sic] general was approached Friday morning by W. D. Beattie, real estate dealer, who is the foreman of the present jury. Mr. Beattie asked Mr. Dorsey to call a meeting of the jury, and the solicitor flatly refused. Then Mr. Beattie informed the county’s highest prosecuting official that he, as foreman of the grand jury, would call the body together to consider the Conley [m]atter.

After the conference Solicitor Dorsey authorized one of the few statements which he has made since he took up the Phagan case. He said that he told Mr. Beattie that the move to indict Conley was […] should not be […]

“Its only purpose,” the solicitor said, “will be to exploit the evidence and embarrass the state, and I hope the grand jury when it meets will decide to leave the matter alone.

“The indictment of Conley at this time will be a useless procedure that will not stop the trial of Frank. It will only have a mild, but undesirable effect on the state’s case.

“Conley is in jail and is going to stay there for some time. He is where the authorities can put their hands on him, and he can be indicted much more properly after the Frank case has been disposed of than before, and by the delay there is no danger of a miscarriage of justice.”

It has long been known that the defense of Frank will be in a measure the prosecution of Conley, and naturally it is of importance to the defense to have the man it will accuse under a grand jury indictment.

AS THE MURDERER.

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Detectives Working to Discredit Mincey

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

The Atlanta Georgian

Friday, July 18, 1913

POLICE HALT GRILLING OF CONLEY

Detective Bent on Questioning Negro Is Barred From Cell by Chief Lanford.

With Pinkerton detectives taking the trail in search of W.H. Mincey, whose startling accusations against Jim Conley stirred the police department and won the negro another “sweating” from Solicitor Dorsey, the Mincey affidavit Friday became the storm center about which the prosecution and defense in the Frank case waged their battle.

Despite the degree of indifference with which the detectives and prosecuting officials affected to look upon the remarkable statements of Mincey, it became known Friday that every effort was being bent toward locating him and turning the light on his past history.

Pinkertons Have Clew.

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Many Rumors Afloat Regarding Grand Jury

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

The Atlanta Constitution

Friday, July 18, 1913

Among These Is One That Effort Will Be Made to Indict Conley.

That the grand jury would meet possibly today or tomorrow and take steps toward indicting James Conley, the negro sweeper of the National Pencil factory, was a persistent rumor in circulation Thursday. From Foreman W.D. Beattie came the statement that he had not called for a meeting of the grand jury and that as far as he knew there would be no such action taken. Solicitor Hugh M. Dorsey also declared that he had issued no call for the grand jury and knew nothing of any such action.

“I have not issued a call for a meeting,” explained Mr. Beattie, “and as far as I am concerned the grand jury will not take steps to indict Conley. Of course, the members of the grand jury have the right to come together and to take any steps they may desire, and I am speaking only for myself in saying that no steps will be taken to start an investigation of Conley’s alleged connection.”

“There is nothing new in the Mary Phagan murder case, as far as I know,” said the solicitor, “and I have issued no call for the grand jury. The state is continuing its work and will be ready on July 28 for the trial of Leo M. Frank.”

Attorneys Reuben R. Arnold and Luther Z. Rosser held a consultation Thursday afternoon in Mr. Arnold’s office at which they discussed the phases of their case, according to Mr. Arnold. At the courthouse it was said that Judge L.S. Roan, who is due to preside over the Frank trial, was in consultation with lawyers on both sides and that there was a possibility of the case being postponed.

Both Solicitor Dowrsey [sic] and Attorney Arnold denied this, and Attorney Arnold stated that the only consultation was that between him and Mr. Rosser.

* * *

The Atlanta Constitution, July 18th 1913, “Many Rumors Afloat Regarding Grand Jury,” Leo Frank case newspaper article series (Original PDF)

Effort Being Made to Indict Negro Conley

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

The Atlanta Journal

Thursday, July 17, 1913

Foreman Beattie of Grand Jury, However, Says He Knows of No Such Move

W.D. Beattie, foreman of the grand jury, declares that “so far as he knows” there is no intention on the part of the grand jury to consider an indictment of Jim Conley, the negro sweeper, who figures so prominently in the Phagan murder mystery.

The Journal has learned, however, on excellent authority, that a determined effort is being made to have the Conley case passed upon by the present grand jury. Whether the effort will or will not be futile is a matter of conjecture.

Foreman Beattie states that no meeting of the jury is expected during the present week, but that the body will probably be called together early next week to consider matters of a routine nature.

Solicitor General Hugh M. Dorsey is said to be making every effort to block the proposed indictment of Conley, who will be used as the principal witness against Leo M. Frank when he faces a jury probably a week from next Monday.

The present grand jury has not been called together since its organization several weeks ago, but it is known that a number of its members think that despite the attitude of the solicitor, a meeting should be called, and the evidence against Conley, including the confessions of complicity, submitted for the jury’s consideration.

It is said that the indictment of Conley as a principal would seriously injure the state’s case against Frank, and Solicitor Dorsey is naturally opposing every move in that direction.

CERTAIN TO CONSIDER CASE.

The present grand jury was organized early in July, but since the organization meting [sic] its members have never ben [sic] called together. In the past the majority of grand juries have met weekly.

Further still it is known that the present grand jury will hold no meeting unless the call originates with the members, and if it does it is practically certain that the Conley matter will be considered.

Should the grand jury meet and indict the negro sweeper over the direct and vigorous protest of the solicitor, it will break a long established precedent in the county. While the grand jury has full authority, without even consulting the solicitor, to call a meeting and indict the negro, the solicitor general’s wishes in regard to criminal cases have been respected in the past.

However, there is said to be such a sentiment in the grand jury that its members should consider the Conley case that the calling of a special meeting for that purpose is a strong probability.

SUFFICIENT EVIDENCE.

A very significant point, showing the solicitor’s attitude is the fact that he has not called a meeting of the jury and is not expected to call one until after the Frank case has been called for trial.

Following the trial of the Frank case, the indictment of Conley either as an accessory or as a principal is certain. After the Frank trial the solicitor himself will present the case against the negro to the grand jury.

There is no question about the fact that there is now sufficient evidence against Conley for the grand jury to indict him. It can be shown that he was in the factory on the day Mary Phagan was killed, and his admissions of complicity to the detectives and his alleged admission of the crime to W.H. Mincey would be sufficient to warrant a bill.

* * *

The Atlanta Journal, July 17th 1913, “Effort Being Made to Indict Negro Conley,” Leo Frank case newspaper article series (Original PDF)

Dorsey Blocked Indictment of Conley

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

The Atlanta Georgian

Thursday, July 17, 1913

*Editor’s Note: This article ran in other editions of the Georgian with slight variations in the headline.

GRAND JURY AGREED NOT TO ACT

Solicitor Bitterly Opposes Plan of New Body to Reconsider Slaying Case.

That the most strenuous opposition of Solicitor General Hugh M. Dorsey was all that prevented the last Grand Jury from reopening its investigation of the Phagan mystery with a view of indicting the negro Jim Conley became known Thursday.

It was admitted by persons acquainted with the events in the Grand Jury room that the Solicitor’s determined stand only blocked a consideration of the negro’s connection with the crime. Well-substantiated report also has it that Solicitor Dorsey before he would venture on his vacation took the precaution of insisting on some sort of a guarantee from the jurors that they would take no action in his absence.

Acceding to his request, the Grand Jury of that time passed resolutions pledging itself to waive all consideration of the Phagan mystery until the Solicitor’s return.

Hot Fight Certain.

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Second Phagan Indictment Probable

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

The Atlanta Journal

Wednesday, July 16, 1913

*Editor’s Note: A small section of text is missing from the article due to scanning blur near a page fold.

CONLEY NEGRO MAY BE INDICTED OVER DORSEY’S PROTEST

New Grand Jury Will Take Up Case and Make an Effort to Get a True Bill Against Negro as Principal

NEGRO HAS ALREADY ADMITTED COMPLICITY

Solicitor Dorsey Is Expected to Vigorously Oppose Jury’s Move—Negro Sweated Again by Detectives

It was learned Wednesday by The Journal, on reliable authority, that there is a strong probability of the Fulton county grand jury which was recently organized by the election of W.D. Beattie as foreman will take up the case of Jim Conley, negro sweeper at the National Pencil factory, and confessed accomplice to the murder of Mary Phagan, before the trial of Leo M. Frank, who is accused of the crime by the negro, is entered upon.

If the grand jury takes up the negro’s case, it is believed that a bill charging the negro with the crime as a principal will be considered and if an indictment is brought it seems probable that murder will be the charge.

The grand jury will take up Conley’s case over the vigorous protest of Solicitor Hugh M. Dorsey, who it is stated, has not changed his theory about the murder.

Solicitor Dorsey has from the beginning taken the position that Conley should be held as a material witness and that this was not the time for the grand jury to investigate his connection with the Phagan murder. If the grand jury takes up the negro’s case there seems little doubt that the solicitor will bitterly oppose its action.

An indictment of Conley prior to the trial of Frank as principal would undoubtedly greatly weaken the state’s case, and the solicitor is expected to use […] jury to persuade if not to consider an indictment.

MEETS THIS WEEK.

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State to Fight Move to Indict Jim Conley

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

The Atlanta Georgian

Wednesday, July 16, 1913

Grand Jury Foreman Admits That Action Against the Negro Is Considered.

The reported proposal by some of the members of the Grand Jury to meet for an investigation of Jim Conley’s connection with the murder of Mary Phagan has precipitated a sharp struggle in which Solicitor Dorsey has declared himself bitterly opposed to any action looking toward the indictment of the negro as a principal in the crime or even as an accessory after the fact, as the negro admits himself to be.

The fight has resolved itself into a contest to determine whether Conley shall go on the stand in the trial of Leo Frank as a reputable, trustworthy and free citizen, the status in which the Solicitor wishes to maintain him, or as a prisoner with the shadow of an indictment hanging over him.

In the latter aspect, several of the members of the Grand Jury are said to contend that he should appear, inasmuch as he is a confessed accessory and a possible principal.

The defense is said not to be opposed to the review of the case by the Grand Jury at this time nor to the indictment of Conley. Luther Z. Rosser, chief counsel for Frank, has charged from the first that Conley was the man guilty of the slaying of Mary Phagan, and it is presumed that he would be willing to enjoy the tactical advantage that the indictment of Conley probably would give the defense.

W.D. Beattie, foreman of the Grand Jury, intimated Thursday morning that the matter of calling the body together to consider a Conley indictment was under consideration by some of the members, but he said that no formal request had as yet been made for him to convene them. He said that he would issue the call when he had received a sufficient number of requests.

It is understood that the requests will be submitted to the foreman Thursday, on the ground that the evidence connecting Jim Conley directly with the crime is infinitely stronger than the evidence on which Leo Frank was indicted about two months ago, and that for this reason Conley should not be permitted to go before a jury as a free and unsuspected man and testify against Frank.

* * *

The Atlanta Georgian, July 16th 1913, “State to Fight Move to Indict Jim Conley,” Leo Frank case newspaper article series (Original PDF)

Dorsey Adds Startling Evidence

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

The Atlanta Georgian

Wednesday, July 16, 1913

*Editor’s Note: This article also ran in the Final (Box Score) Edition under the headline “State Finds New Frank Evidence.”

Solicitor Declares Prosecution’s Plans Are Unchanged—Doesn’t Expect Conley Indictment.

That affidavits as sensational and direct against Leo M. Frank, accused of murdering Mary Phagan, as the Mincey statement was against the negro, Jim Conley, are in the hands of the State and will be substantiated by witnesses at the trial, July 28, was admitted by Solicitor General Hugh M. Dorsey Wednesday morning.

The Solicitor and Frank A. Hooper, associated with him in the prosecution, made it plain that in their opinion the Mincey affidavit had in no way hurt the State’s case against Frank, and that they could anticipate no development that would make Conley instead of Frank the principal in Atlanta’s greatest murder mystery.

They say they do not expect the Grand Jury to indict the negro before the trial of Frank, and do not hesitate to say that any move in that direction will meet with opposition from the Solicitor, who would necessarily have to introduce witnesses to secure the indictment.

State’s Case Complete.

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No New Indictment Says Jury Foreman

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

The Atlanta Constitution

Wednesday, July 16, 1913

State Has No Intention of Changing Plan of Action in Phagan Case.

The declaration of W.D. Beattie, foreman of the grand jury, that the grand jury had no intention of taking steps to indict James Conley, and a statement from Solicitor General Hugh M. Dorsey that as far as he was concerned the state would continue its present plan of action in regard to the Mary Phagan murder, apparently put a block to the rumor that the grand jury would go over the solicitor’s head and indict the negro sweeper for murder.

The same rumor was put into circulation in regard to the former grand jury which served during the May term, but nothing ever came of the reporta [sic].

Solicitor Dorsey stated positively that he had no intention of shifting the present plan and would continue to prosecute on the indictment returned against Leo M. Frank by the previous grand jury. Newport Lanford, chief of detectives, also declared that as far as the detective department was concerned that there would be no shift.

It apparently means that the state will continue an even course in the matter with the intention of threshing out the matter of the guilt of Superintendent Frank before taking up the question of the guilt of the negro.

It was rumored Wednesday that the solicitor had given Conley another grilling with a view to extracting further statements from him in regard to the case. He declined to discuss this feature of the case and also refused to state anything further in regard to the Mincey affidavit.

Should the solicitor in the week and a half left before the Frank trial obtain a confession from Conley or secure evidence from another source that would brand him as the guilty party that would, of course, change the entire affair.

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The Atlanta Constitution, July 16th 1913, “No New Indictment Says Jury Foreman,” Leo Frank case newspaper article series (Original PDF)

Mincey Affidavit Not New to the Solicitor

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

The Atlanta Journal

Tuesday, July 15, 1913

State Officials Refuse to Consider Seriously Statement of Insurance Agent

Despite the claim that many witnesses to corroborate the assertions of W.H. Mincey, the insurance agent and school teacher who claims that Conley confessed to him can be produced by the defense of Leo M. Frank, state officials refuse to consider seriously Mincey’s testimony as an important element in the case.

Details of the Mincey affidavit are corroborated by E.F. Holloway, an employe of the National Pencil factory, who states that he remembers Mincey’s visit to the scene of Mary Phagan’s murder on the Tuesday following the crime.

Mincey states that he was told that 20 negroes were on duty at the factory on the day of the murder, although about eight of them were employed by the concern. He further detailed a conversation with a factory employe, who allowed him to look about the place that day.

Holloway says that he remembers the visit of a man who asked particularly about the negroes employed at the factory, and otherwise fully corroborates the details of the visit to the factory as given by Mincey.

Solicitor Dorsey, it was learned Tuesday, has known for some weeks that the Frank defense possessed the Mincey affidavit and as a result he has made a vigorous probe of the affiant’s past career, and of his movements on the day that Mary Phagan was murdered, the day that the negro Conley is supposed to have told him that he had killed a girl.

Solicitor Dorsey will not discuss his investigation of the man, but it is known that he does not consider the man’s probable testimony as important.

The solicitor spent Tuesday morning examining a number of the state’s witnesses, and he is spending practically his entire time in preparing the Frank case. He expects to be ready when the case is called on July 28, a week from next Monday.

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The Atlanta Journal, July 15th 1913, “Mincey Affidavit Not New to the Solicitor,” Leo Frank case newspaper article series (Original PDF)