J. L. Watkins Says He Did Not See Phagan Child on Day of Tragedy

J. L. Watkins

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

Atlanta Journal

Thursday, May 8th, 1913

J. L. Watkins, called to the stand after Miss Hall, the stenographer, was excused, clarified his former testimony that he had seen Mary Phagan on the street near her home on Saturday afternoon, April 26, by declaring that he is convinced now he was mistaken about it.

“Mr. White [sic], on last Thursday did you not swear before this inquest that between 4 and 5 o’clock on the afternoon of Saturday, April 26, you saw Mary Phagan walking along Bellwood avenue toward her home?” asked the coroner.

“Yes, that’s so,” answered the witness. “I was honestly mistaken.”

He was asked how he had found out that he was mistaken. He replied that Detectives Starnes and Campbell had found the young woman whom he mistook for Mary Phagan. He is absolutely certain now that he was mistaken, said he. They had brought the girl before him, dressed in the same clothes that she wore that afternoon, and had caused her to cross a vacant field just as she crossed it that afternoon.

The girl whom he mistook for Mary Phagan, said he, he knew now to be Daisy Jones. He pointed her out among those in the room.

He was excused from the stand.

* * *

Atlanta Journal, May 8th 1913, “J. L. Watkins Says He Did Not See Phagan Child on Day of Tragedy,” Leo Frank case newspaper article series (Original PDF)

Miss Daisy Jones Convinces Jury She Was Mistaken for Mary Phagan

Screen Shot 2016-05-05 at 12.12.42 PM

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

Atlanta Journal

Thursday, May 8th, 1913

Miss Daisy Jones, identified by J. L. Watkins as the girl whom he had mistaken for Mary Phagan on the afternoon of April 26, appeared before the coroner’s jury dressed exactly as she was on that afternoon, and testified that she had been just where Watkins said he saw Mary Phagan at the hour when Watkins thought he saw the girl, and that she had crossed a vacant field just as Watkins described Mary Phagan as having done.

In short, with Mr. Watkins’ new testimony, she proved conclusively that it was not Mary Phagan who was seen that afternoon there, but heself—the witness.

She lives at 251 Fox street, said the witness. She is fifteen years old. Her home is on the corner of Fox and Lindsay streets, one block from Mary Phagan’s home. Between 5 and 6 o’clock on the afternoon of Saturday, April 26, said she, she carried her father’s supper to him in his store at the corner of Bellwood avenue and Ashby street. She went back home along Bellwood avenue and crossed a vacant field before she reached Lindsay street, passing between two trees in that field.

She was acquainted with Mary Phagan, said the witness. They were about the same size, said she, though Mary was a little heavier and not quite so tall. Their hair was about the same color, she said.

On the afternoon of April 26, said she, she was dressed exactly as she appeared there at the inquest—in a blue serge skirt, white shirtwaist with a blue bow on the front of it, and a blue bow in her hair. The coroner asking her height, she was measured against a board in the detectives’ office and was found to be five feet one and a quarter inches tall.

* * *

Atlanta Journal, May 8th 1913, “Miss Daisy Jones Convinces Jury She Was Mistaken for Mary Phagan,” Leo Frank case newspaper article series (Original PDF)

Didn’t See Girl Late Saturday, He Admits

Didn't See Girl Late SaturdayAnother in our series of new transcriptions of contemporary articles on the Leo Frank case.

Atlanta Georgian

Thursday, May 8th, 1913

Man Who Said Mary Phagan Passed His Place Testifies He Was Wrong.

J. L. Watkins, who testified that he saw Mary Phagan Saturday afternoon, April 26, between 4 and 5 o’clock, was called to the witness stand.

He was accompanied to the inquest by a girl, Daisy Brown, who he said was the girl he mistook for Mary Phagan.

He said he became convinced of his mistake when detectives came out to his place and had Daisy Brown to dress as she was Saturday afternoon. Then he discovered, he said, that she was the girl he had mistaken for Mary Phagan.

Daisy Brown was placed on the stand and testified that she had passed along Bellwood Avenue at that time, Saturday, April 26.

She said she knew Mary Phagan, but could not understand how Watkins had mistaken her for Mary Phagan, as Mary was a little shorter and heavier.

* * *

Atlanta Georgian, May 8th 1913, “Didn’t See Girl Late Saturday, He Admits,” Leo Frank case newspaper article series (Original PDF)