Leo Frank Answers List of Questions Bearing on Points Made Against Him

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

The Atlanta Constitution

Monday, March 9, 1914

Stated That He Was Willing to Reply to Any Questions That Might Be in the Mind of the Public, and Asked to Answer Any Such That Might Be Propounded to Him.

TELLS HOW JIM CONLEY COULD HAVE SLAIN GIRL AND ESCAPED DETECTION

Asserts That Very Fact That He Admitted He Had Seen Mary Phagan on the Day of the Murder, Thus Placing Himself Under Suspicion, Was Proof in Itself That He Was Innocent of Crime.

Probably the most interesting statement yet issued by Leo M. Frank in connection with the murder for which he has been sentenced to hang, is one that he has furnished to The Constitution in the form of a series of answers to questions which were propounded to him bearing on the case.

These questions were prepared by a representative of The Constitution who visited Frank at the Tower last week.

“Ask me any questions you wish,” Frank told the reporter.

In accordance with that, the reporter wrote out a list of questions which, he asserted, comprised the most salient points the prosecution had brought out against him, and to each of these Frank has given an answer.

Here Are Questions.

Continue Reading →

Report Negro Found Who Saw Phagan Attack

report_negro

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

Atlanta Georgian

Friday, June 6th, 1913

St. Louis, June 6.—That a negro, who is alleged to have said he witnessed the murder of Mary Phagan in Atlanta, is under arrest in Cairo, Ill., and is about to be returned to Atlanta by a Pinkerton detective, was the information brought into St. Louis today by a passenger who declared he overheard a conversation betwene [sic] the detective and an attorney in the case who were on the train en route to Cairo.

According to the passenger, the negro has admitted that he was in Atlanta with a show at the time of the murder, and was shooting craps in the basement of the National Pencil Factory with a negro watchman when the watchman told him that he would attack the Phagan girl, which was done in his presence.

Inquiry at Cairo failed to-day to verify the report of the arrest of the negro.

Strenuous denials of any knowledge of the mysterious affidavit reported to have been made by Jim Conley, in which he was said to have confessed to A. S. Colyar that he murdered Mary Phagan, was made to Chief of Detectives Lanford Friday by both men.

Conley, on the grill, declared that he had never heard of Colyar until he read his name in the newspapers in connection with the pictograph controversy. The negro said he had never either talked with him or seen him, and that he had at no time made an affidavit other than the ones given to the police.

Colyar made a similar denial. Following the examination, Lanford declared that the whole report was wholly without foundation. He also stated that Conley had reiterated the truth of his former affidavit and that there was nothing further to add to it.

“I attribute this report to Colonel Felder’s work,” said the chief. “It merely shows again that Felder is in league with the defense of Frank; that the attorney is trying to muddy the waters of this investigation to shield Frank and throw the blame on another. Continue Reading →

Detectives Seek Corroboration of Conley’s Story

detectives-seek-corroboration
Another in our series of new transcriptions of contemporary articles on the Leo Frank case.

Atlanta Journal

Thursday, May 29th, 1913

They Declare That They Are Anxious to Get at the Truth of the Murder Case, Regardless of Who Is Guilty

Little if any credence is placed by the city detectives in the theory of the officials and employes of the National Pencil factory that Mary Phagan was killed by James Conley, the newro [sic] sweeper, and that his motive was robbery.

The detectives have accepted as true Conley’s second affidavit, in which he swears that he wrote the notes found by Mary Phagan’s body, and that he did so about 1 o’clock on the day of the murder, at the dictation of Superintendent Leo M. [F]rank, who is now under indictment by the grand jury.

However, they are somewhat puzzled by the discrepancies in the time of certain occurrences as sworn by Conley and testified at the coroner’s inquest by other witnesses.

Harry Scott, the Pinkerton detective who is working with the city detectives on the Phagan murder case and who developed the fact that Conley could write, notwithstanding his denials, declared that the shortest route to a complete solution of the mystery is to bring the negro Conley and Superintendent Frank face to face. He says the negro insists that he is anxious and willing to confront Mr. Frank with his story, and that if Mr. Frank and his attorneys agree, they (Conley and Mr. [F]rank) will be brought together to discuss the truth or falsity of the negro’s declarations. Continue Reading →

Conley Says He Helped Frank Carry Body of Mary Phagan to Pencil Factory Cellar

conley-says

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

Atlanta Constitution

Friday, May 30th, 1913

Helped Frank Dispose of Mary Phagan’s Body Conley Now Confesses

Negro Sweeper Who Swore to Detectives That He Wrote Murder Notes Found Near Dead Girl’s Body Now Admits His Complicity in Case, According to Statements Which Have Stirred Police Headquarters as Nothing Since Murder.

LANFORD AND BEAVERS PLEASED OVER RESULT OF GRILLING NEGRO, THEY ANNOUNCE TO REPORTERS.

Police and Detective Heads Refuse to Go Into Details of Negro’s Statement Or to Discuss What He Said, But Declare That It Will Prove a Big Factor in the Murder Case—Negro Will Be Subjected to Another Third Degree Today.

Dumbfounding his hearers with the confession that he had helped Leo M. Frank lower the lifeless body of Mary Phagan into the darkness of the pencil factory basement, James Conley, the negro sweeper, is authoritatively said to have made that astounding admission during a strenuous third degree at police headquarters late Thursday afternoon.

He is said to have minutely described the movements of himself and Frank as they packed the mutilated form from the office floor of the building down into the dark cellar, where it was left in the desolate recess in which it was discovered the following morning.

Saying he had found the girl stone dead when he entered the building at 1:15 o’clock with the suspected superintendent, he is declared to have admitted that he and Frank proceeded immediately to remove the corpse, silently and with utmost precaution, to its hiding place in the basement.

Conley Asked No Questions.

Through fear he states he did not ask his employer how the little girl met her death. He is said to have told the police that he asked no questions, carried out Frank’s instructions to the letter, and departed directly after he emerged from the grewsome trip into the basement. Continue Reading →

Burns Joins in Hunt for Phagan Slayer

Burn Joins in Hunt for Phagan Slayer

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

Atlanta Georgian

Thursday, May 29th, 1913

All Evidence Gathered by His Operatives Sent to the Noted Detective.

James Conley, the negro sweeper at the National Pencil Factory who has turned suspicion on himself with a maze of contradictory statements, was put through a gruelling third degree examination at police headquarters this afternoon. Pinkerton Detective Harry Scott said as the grilling began before Chief Beavers and Chief Lanford that he expected to glean important information. Scott had interviewed factory employees and was convinced that there were many things to be cleared up before the negro’s second affidavit, on which the police rely so much, could be accepted.

With the maze of contradictory statements sweeping an avalanche of suspicion upon the head of James Conley, the negro sweeper, the potent information was unearthed Thursday that Detective William J. Burns personally will take charge of the investigation into the Mary Phagan murder case which his operatives have been conducting.

Despite the published report that Burns operatives had withdrawn from the case, and despite the procedure of the State in prosecuting its case against Leo M. Frank, the pencil factory superintendent, the Burns investigation will continue and from now on be under the famous detective’s direction.

This information came from Detective C. W. Tobie, William J. Burns’ lieutenant, Thursday morning. It tends to show that Tobie, who has had charge of his agency’s investigation here, does not consider the case as closed.

Mr. Tobie went so far as to deny emphatically the published interview with him, in which he was quoted as declaring Frank to be the guilty man. Continue Reading →

Conley Says Frank Took Him to Plant on Day of Slaying

Conley Says

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

Atlanta Georgian

Wednesday, May 28th, 1913

Negro Sweeper in New Affidavit Denies His Former Testimony and Makes Startling Assertions; Now Declares He Wrote Notes Saturday.

James Conley, negro sweeper, in an affidavit made Wednesday, said that he was lying when he said he went to the National Pencil Factory on Friday. He said that he made the statement that it was Friday when Frank (as he says) told him to write the death notes, because he was afraid he would be accused of the murder of Mary Phagan if he told the truth.

He said he felt that if he said he was there Saturday the police would connect him with the murder. Conley said he got up between 9 and 9:30 o’clock Saturday morning, he knew the time because he looked at the clock on the Atlanta University from his front door. He returned indoors and had breakfast.

He got three silver dollars from his wife to exchange for paper money so that she would not lose it. He continued: Continue Reading →

Frank Indicted in Phagan Case

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

Atlanta Constitution

Sunday, May 25th, 1913

He Will Not Go to Trial Before the Latter Part of June, According to Solicitor General Dorsey.

Leo M. Frank, indicted Saturday afternoon for the murder of Mary Phagan, the 14-year-old girl whose dead body was found at 3 o’clock on the morning of April 27 in the basement of the National Pencil factory, will not go to trial before the latter part of June, according to a statement which Solicitor General Hugh M. Dorsey made last night.

Newt Lee, the negro night watchman, who called the police to the place, was left under consideration by the grand jury. A bill of indictment charging him with the same murder was presented to the grand jury with the bill against the factory superintendent, but the grand jury failed to act, and it is believed that his case will be allowed to rest, pending the trial of the indicted man.

Both Confined in Tower.

Both Superintendent Frank and the negro, Lee, have been confined in the Tower since they were ordered held by the coroner’s jury for the murder of the girl.

In discussing the time of Frank’s trial, the solicitor stated that he could not say when it would be started.

“It will not be possible to hold it before the latter part of June,” he asserted, “and whether or not it is held then depends on a number of things. I have much work to do to get the case ready and there is also the defense to be considered, as they may secure additional time. Continue Reading →

Leo M. Frank is Indicted by Grand Jury for Mary Phagan’s Death; Negro, Newt Lee Held

Solemn Frank

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

Atlanta Journal

Saturday, May 24th, 1913

True Bills Against Pencil Factory Superintendent Returned Less Than Ten Minutes After Evidence Was Closed, at Noon, Saturday — Authority Quoted That He Will Be Tried During Third Week in June—Negro to Stay in Jail

SOLICITOR DORSEY DID NOT ASK JURY TO ACT ON BILL PENDING AGAINST NIGHT-WATCHMAN

Grand Jury’s Session Began Friday Morning — Many Witnesses Examined, but Not All That Solicitor Has Were Introduced Into Grand Jury Room—Charge Is That Frank Killed Mary Phagan by Choking Her With a Cord That He Tied

Leo M. Frank [pictured], superintendent of the National Pencil factory in the basement of which the slain body of Mary Phagan was found in the early morning of Sunday, April 27, stands formally charged with her death.

A grand jury indictment, a true bill charging that he killed Mary Phagan, was returned by the Fulton county grand jurors at 12:23 Saturday afternoon.

Less than ten minutes earlier, the jury had gone into executive session and Solicitor Dorsey, who had been conducting the examination of witnesses, had left the room. In the interval, the jury reached its verdict, and each of the jurors signed his name to the formal document upon which Frank will be arraigned on the charge of murder.

NO ACTION AGAINST NEWT LEE.

No action was taken with regard to the negro night watchman, Newt Lee, held by the coroner on a “suspicion” warrant for the grand jury.

Mr. Dorsey stated afterward that he had not asked the grand jury to take action with regard to Lee. It is probable, seemingly, that the grand jury will not return a “true” or “no” bill in Lee’s case until after the trial of Superintendent Frank. Continue Reading →

In Loop of Death Dorsey May Have Clue to Murderer

In Loop of Death Dorsey May Have

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

Atlanta Constitution

Saturday, May 17th, 1913

Noose Found Knotted Around Neck of Mary Phagan Being Carefully Examined by Officers.

BURNS RIGHT-HAND MAN NOW PROBING MYSTERY

Fund Started by The Constitution for Purpose of Bringing Noted Detective to Atlanta Has Reached $1,500.

In the noose found knotted around the throat of Mary Phagan’s lifeless body, Solicitor Dorsey and headquarters detectives aver they possess a valuable clue to the girl’s murderer.

It is being inspected by experts, who also are examining specimens of cord picked up here and there in the factory building in which the child was slain. Expecting to find a knot which compares with that which was used to strangle the victim, detectives are scouring every portion of the plant’s premises.

The knot in the wrapping cord is looped, sailor-fashion, in an inextricable knot. No novice, the sleuths say, could form it so well. When the body was discovered, the noose fitted so tightly around the throat that it had formed a purple trench-like scar in the flesh.

Knot Tied by Professional.

The solicitor and detectives hope to follow up the clue by comparing the death loop with specimens found in the pencil factory. But few amateurs, it is said, outside of professionals in stage craft and aboard ship, are expert enough to tie such an intricate knot as the one with which Mary Phagan was strangled. Continue Reading →

Books and Papers in Phagan Case in Grand Jury’s Hands

Books and Papers in Phagan Case

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

Atlanta Journal

Friday, May 16th, 1913

Two Employes of Pencil Company Appeared Before Grand Jury Friday in Answer to Subpenas [sic]

FELDER RAISING FUND TO PAY W. J. BURNS

The Journal Subscribes $100, Mr. Felder Declares a Burns Investigator Will Be Put On the Case at Once

By means of a subpoena duces tecum Solicitor General Hugh M. Dorsey Friday obtained possession of a number of books and papers of the National Pencil company.

The subpoena was served on Herbert G. Schiff and M. B. Darley, two officials of the pencil company, by Deputy Sheriff Plennie Minor, and the two men were ordered to have the papers before the grand jury at 11 o’clock Friday morning for use as evidence in the “case of the state versus Leo M. Frank.”

At that hour Friday morning the grand jury was holding a routine session, and the service of the subpoena occasioned the rumors that the grand jury was ready to go into the case. Continue Reading →