Conley Was in Factory on Day of Slaying

Conley Was in Factory

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

Atlanta Georgian

Wednesday, May 28th, 1913

Police Secure Admission From Negro Sweeper During Examination for Phagan Clews.

Admission that he was in the National Pencil factory on the day of the murder of Mary Phagan was gained from James Conley, the negro sweeper on whom suspicion has turned, after cross-examination by detectives at police headquarters.

The negro, who became the center of attention with his amazing story that Leo Frank had told him to write the death notes, changed his narrative again to-day. Confronted by E. F. Holloway, a foreman in the plant, he admitted having been in the factory after having steadily maintained that he was on Peters Street between 10 and 2 o’clock that fatal Saturday and at home all other hours of the day.

Says Confession Is Near.

Holloway, after leaving the secret grilling at which the admission was obtained, declared he was sure it was only a matter of hours before Conley would confess. He asserted that if he had been allowed to put questions to Conley he could have gotten important information.

The police questions were, of course, all put with the idea of gaining information against Frank.

Chief Lanford had announced that he would go before Judge Roan with a request for an order allowing him to confront Frank with the negro, so that Conley’s statement would be admissible in court. Lanford, however, failed to carry out his plans, although he would not admit they had been abandoned.

Found Negro Falsified.

Conley told the officers when he was first arrested that he could not write. Later they found releases that he had written for watches, and he admitted he had been lying. He gave them an address on Tattnall Street when they took him in custody. It later was found that he had not lived there for six months or a year. 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 →

Suspicion Turned to Conley; Accused by Factory Foreman

Suspicion Turned

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

Atlanta Georgian

Tuesday, May 27th, 1913

Negro, Whose Story That He Wrote Notes at Frank’s Dictation Is Generally Disbelieved, Was Often Drunk. Mrs. White Can Not Identify Him.

Suspicion in the Phagan case was Tuesday morning turned full-flare upon James Conley, the negro whose unexpected assertion last week that he had written the notes found beside the body of Mary Phagan, at the dictation of Leo M. Frank, was followed by a speedy indictment of the pencil factory superintendent.

In the opinion of E. F. Holloway, timekeeper and foreman in the factory, Conley is the guilty man.

Careful study of the negro’s story has revealed many absurdities in its structure, wherein evidences of childish cunning are rife in an effort to throw the blame onto Frank. It is this which has served to bring the deed to Conley’s door.

However, Mrs. Arthur White, wife of a machinist at the factory, who testified that she saw a negro lurking in the building between 12 noon and 2 o’clock on the afternoon of the murder, denied the published report in an afternoon paper that she had identified Conley as the one. Mrs. White stated Tuesday morning that she had secured only a glimpse of the man. It may have been Conley, or another negro. Mrs. White was asked to pick Conley out of a crowd of twelve negroes some time ago, but her identification was a second choice. Continue Reading →