Another in our series of new transcriptions of contemporary articles on the Leo Frank case.
August 7th, 1913
On the opening of court Wednesday morning when Judge L. S. Roan announced that he would postpone his final decision in regard to the admissibility of Jim Conley’s evidence in regard to Leo Frank’s alleged misconduct and also to the negro’s acting on previous occasions as his “lookout,” Luther Rosser began his final effort to break the negro down.
Conley stayed on the stand until 10 o’clock and was then excused. He had been testifying for fifteen hours in all and of this thirteen hours had been under the merciless grilling of Attorney Rosser.
The negro stuck to the last to the main points of his story, and, while admitting that he had lied on previous occasions, swore that he had only tried to save himself and that about the murder he was telling the whole truth. No amount of effort could break him from this declaration.
Conley also added a new point to his story when under additional questioning from Solicitor Hugh Dorsey he swore that he had seen Frank hide Mary Phagan’s meshbag in his safe. Before that both sides had declared that they could not account for the disappearance of the pocketbook or bag in which the girl had carried her money.
Reads Black Affidavit.
Mr. Rosser opened the morning cross-examination by reading to the negro the second affidavit he made to Detective John R. Black and Harry Scott. It was in this that the darkey swore he had left home at about 9 o’clock and after visiting several saloons and poolrooms, among which was one bearing the name of the “Butt-In” saloon, he had won 90 cents at dice and then gone to the factory at about 1 o’clock. In it he had admitted to writing the murder notes, but made no mention of helping Frank dispose of the body.
Then the lawyer read the next affidavit in which the negro declared he had aided Frank in taking the dead girl’s body to the cellar in which, despite the fact that he had put into it the claim that he was telling the whole truth, he had not told certain things which he waited until he got on the stand to tell.
Mr. Rosser made Conley acknowledge to having made these affidavits and with particular emphasis called his attention to the various discrepancies between them and also between the final one and his sworn testimony.
Then the lawyer asked the witness about several conversations he is alleged by the defense to have had with various factory employees after the murder was discovered and before he was arrested.
“Jim,” began Mr. Rosser, “soon after the murder weren’t you working near where Miss Rebecca Carson was and did she say to you, ‘Jim, they ain’t got you yet for this,’ and didn’t you say, ‘No, and they ain’t goin’ to, ‘cause I ain’t done nothin’?’”
“No, sir,” replied Conley: “dat lady ain’t never said nothing like dat to me and I ain’t never said nothing like dat to her.”
“Didn’t she say, ‘Well, they’ve got Mr. Frank and he ain’t done nothing,’ and didn’t you then say, ‘Mr. Frank is ez innocent as you is and de Lord knows you ain’t guilty’?”
“No, sir,” replied Jim positively: “no, sir, Mr. Rosser, wasn’t nothing lak dat passed ‘tween us.”Continue Reading →