Defense Asks Ruling on Delaying Frank Trial

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

Atlanta Georgian
July 22, 1913

Hearing of Crawford Case May Conflict

Conference Planned to Decide Which Shall Take Precedence. Ready to Draw Venire.

Reuben R. Arnold, of counsel for Leo M. Frank, announced Tuesday that he proposed to seek a conference of the attorneys in the Frank case and in the Crawford will hearing to determine which case should be postponed next Monday, the date set for the beginning of the trial of Frank on the charge of slaying Mary Phagan.

Mr. Arnold, Luther Z. Rosser, chief of counsel for Frank, both also are attorneys in the Crawford will case, and it would be impossible on this account to conduct the two cases simultaneously. The Crawford hearing will resume Wednesday before a special auditor in a branch of the Superior Court, and undoubtedly will be in progress next week if it is not stopped by a postponement.

The will hearing, because of the fact that it already is under way, would have a natural precedence over the Frank trial. This may be waived, however, in order to take up the Phagan mystery.

None of the attorneys for the defense will say that they intend to ask for a postponement of the Frank trial, but the hot weather and the fact that the Crawford case is in progress at this time appear to be combining to bring about such a consummation.

Judge Roan has stated that the case would be called Monday, but he probably will accede to the request for a conference some day this week to discuss the matter.

Court Likely to Accede.

Attorney Arnold will ask that the jurymen be not summoned until a definite decision is reached as to which of the cases is to take precedence.

Continue Reading →

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)

State Ready for Frank Trial on June 30

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

The Atlanta Georgian

Monday, June 23, 1913

Defense Has Announced Its Case Is Complete and Judge Roan Is Free.

Prosecuting Attorney Hugh M. Dorsey announced for the State Monday morning that the trial of Leo M. Frank would be placed on the calendar for the week of June 30.

The defense had announced that its case was completed and no continuance would be asked unless some unforeseen contingency arose.

The trial judge, L. S. Roan, will have the most to say about the date for the trial. He intimated he would be ready on this date and would personally make no move for a continuance. He said, however, that in the event of it being impossible to open the trial June 30, he would be at leisure between July 14 and 28, and it is not improbable the trial may be advanced to that date.

Dorsey Back From East.

Solicitor Dorsey returned to Atlanta Sunday afternoon from a week’s vacation in New York. He called a conference with his assistants, E. A. Stephens and F. A. Hooper, at his home Sunday evening. Following it he announced that he would be ready for trial on June 30 and that unless the defense or the trial judge moved to have the trial postponed he would commence at once summoning witnesses and getting ready. Continue Reading →

Frank Not Guilty of Phagan Murder Declares Arnold

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

The Atlanta Constitution

Sunday, June 22, 1913

Prominent Atlanta Lawyer Engaged to Aid in Defense of Pencil Factory Superintendent.

NO WHITE MAN KILLED GIRL, ASSERTS LAWYER

Formby and Conley Statements Should Not Be Given Credence So Far as They Tend to Incriminate Frank, He Says.

Reuben R. Arnold, perhaps the best-known attorney in Georgia, has been engaged to aid the defense of Leo M. Frank, the suspected pencil factory superintendent, in the Mary Phagan mystery. This announcement was made from his office yesterday afternoon.

In a statement that was furnished [to] each of the newspapers, Mr. Arnold attacks the detectives for their continued efforts to lay the Phagan murder at his client’s door. He hoots at the credence which he says has been placed in Conley’s story and in the sensational affidavit sworn by Mima [sic] Formby.

Asserting his anticipation of clarifying the situation in due time, Mr. Arnold says that in the evidence the prosecution holds against Frank there is no room whatever in which to believe him guilty, and that no white man committed the crime.

Injustice, Says Arnold.

He deplores alleged injustice done the suspected superintendent by reports circulated to the effect that Frank’s friends had persuaded the Formby woman to leave town and by many other false rumors deliberately set before the public, he declares.

His statement follows:

“It is true that I have accepted employment to assist in the defense of Mr. Leo M. Frank, but I wish to state that before I agreed to take the case, I made it a condition that I should have time to study critically all the evidence delivered at the coroner’s inquest and all the affidavits that have reached the public through the newspapers, so I could form an opinion for myself as to Frank’s innocence or guilt. I would not defend any man if guilty of such a murder as the one in this case.

“After studying the evidence as critically as I can, I am satisfied that I hazard not a thing in saying that there is no room to believe Mr. Frank guilty of this horrible murder. I do not believe that any white man committed the crime. Continue Reading →

Arnold Declares Frank Innocent and Enters Case

He Will Aid Frank Defense

REUBEN R. ARNOLD,
Able attorney, who declares he would not have entered case were he not firmly convinced of Leo M. Frank’s innocence.

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

The Atlanta Journal

Sunday, June 22, 1913

Famous Lawyer Says He Wouldn’t Defend Man Accused of Such Crime Unless Sure of His Innocence

SCORES CITY DETECTIVES FOR HOLDING TO THEORY

Mr. Arnold Says Detectives Have Tried to Prejudice the Case by Unfair Means—Has Studied Evidence

Reuben R. Arnold, famous Georgia lawyer, has officially entered the Phagan case in the defense of Leo M. Frank, as exclusively forecasted by The Journal last Thursday.

Mr. Arnold comes into the case with a ringing statement declaring his firm belief in the innocence of his client, and asserting that he would never defend a person charged with such an atrocious crime if he were not fully convinced of his innocence. Mr. Arnold says that he has reached the conclusion that there is no room to believe Frank guilty, after carefully studying the evidence in the case.

Mr. Arnold declares that it is surprising that the detectives should continue to put the crime on Frank with the incriminating statements of Conley before them. He scores the detectives because of the publication of the Formby affidavit, declaring that by this and other means they have done Frank a great injustice.

With Mr. Arnold and Luther Z. Rosser working in his behalf a great legal battle is made a certainty when Frank faces a jury in the criminal division of the superior court. Solicitor Hugh M. Dorsey and Frank A. Hooper, who is associated with him, will have charge of the state’s case. Lawyers and court attaches predict the most brilliant legal battle ever known in a criminal case in this state.

The date of the trial is still a matter of interesting conjectures, although it may be settled Monday after the return of Solicitor Dorsey to the city.

Mr. Dorsey still expects to set the trial of the case on the court calendar for June 30, but any number of things may interfere. An attorney associated with the defense stated Saturday afternoon that he knew of no reason why there should be a postponement, but would make no more definite statement.

While they know nothing definite it is the opinion of court attaches that the trial of the case will not be reached before July 14 or July 28, and their guess is generally expected to prove correct.

In a statement which he gave the public Mr. Arnold, who has been long regarded as one of the ablest criminal lawyers in the south, intimated that he is thoroughly familiar with all phases of the case, and as a result it is not considered probable that a postponement will be asked on his account.

“It is true that I have accepted employment to assist in the defense of Mr. Leo M. Frank, but I wish to state that before I agreed to take the case, I made it a condition that I should have time to study critically all the evidence delivered at the coroner’s inquest and all the affidavits that have reached the public through the newspapers, so I could form an opinion for myself as to Frank’s innocence or guilt. I would not defend any man if guilty of such a murder as the one in this case.

“After studying the evidence as critically as I can, I am satisfied that I hazard not a thing in saying that there is no room to believe Mr. Frank guilty of this horrible murder. I do not believe that any white man committed the crime.

“Indeed, it is surprising to me that the detectives should continue to try to put this crime on Frank with the positively incriminating affidavits of Conley before them. People of common sense, unless under great excitement, ought not to give a moment’s credence to either the Formby or Conley statements in so far as they attempt to incriminate Mr. Frank.

“I see the detectives are gradually giving it out that Mrs. Formby will not be called as a witness, although her affidavit has been paraded before the public before the unqualified endorsement of the detective department as being perfectly reliable and true. Worse than this, as intimation was published in the newspapers that Frank’s friends had persuaded her to leave town. In this and in many other ways our client has been done a very great injustice. The effort seems to have been not to find the criminal but to try by all means to put the crime on Frank.

“However, I think we will be able to clarify the situation in due time.”

* * *

The Atlanta Journal, June 22nd 1913, “Arnold Declares Frank Innocent and Enters Case,” Leo Frank case newspaper article series (Original PDF)

Date of Frank Trial Still In Much Doubt

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

The Atlanta Journal

Saturday, June 21, 1913

Belief Grows That Case Will Not Come Up Before July 14 or 28

Interest in the Phagan case still centers on the time of the trial of Leo M. Frank. Indications still are that the case will not be tried the week of June 30.

Solicitor Dorsey has never finally committed himself on the matter but Colonel Frank A. Hooper, who is associated [with] him, still expects the case to be set for that date.

Mr. Hooper expects the trial to last a week. The jail will not have been cleared by June 30, according to court attaches, and it is the general policy of the court to clear the jail of as many cases as possible before entering into a lengthy trial. In addition the Fourth of July, a holiday, comes in the week of June 30 and this might mean that the jury would be locked up during a day that the court was not in session. Still further there is the possibility that the defense will ask for a postponement.

Judge L. S. Roan will not have to hold court in the Stone Mountain circuit on either the week of July 14, or the week of July 28, and as a result it is now considered extremely probable that Frank will face a jury on one of those dates.

Apparently the Phagan case is at a standstill. Saturday both Luther Z. Rosser and Reuben R. Arnold, who will be associated with the defense in all probability, were out of the city, on business said not to be connected with the case.

Mr. Hooper, who is in charge of the state’s case during the absence in New York of Solicitor Dorsey, states that there have been no developments of importance, and that the state is ready for the trial, whenever Mr. Dorsey returns and sets it on the court calendar.

Mr. Hooper was not interested in the return of Mrs. Mima [sic] Formby, maker of a sensational affidavit, to the city. The state made no effort to find her when she left the city, and apparently there is no chance of her being used as a witness unless the defense puts Frank’s character in issue.

During the absence of Solicitor Dorsey, Detectives Starnes and Campbell have been working under his instructions, smoothing over rough places in the state’s case, but nothing of importance has been developed.

* * *

The Atlanta Journal, June 21st 1913, “Date of Frank Trial Still In Much Doubt,” Leo Frank case newspaper article series (Original PDF)

Justice Aim in Phagan Case, Says Hooper

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

The Atlanta Georgian

Saturday, June 21, 1913

I have not been employed in the case to prosecute Leo M. Frank, but to help find and convict the murderer of Mary Phagan. If the trial proves we are wrong, we will begin work on another angle. We have but one object and idea. It is that justice and the law be vindicated. We are, however, convinced we have a strong case against the accused.

FRANK A. HOOPER,
Attorney.

Mrs. Mina [sic] Formby and her sensational affidavit will not be used by the State in the trial of Leo M. Frank, according to a statement Saturday from Attorney Frank A. Hooper, assisting the prosecution.

Mr. Hooper said the State had never attached any importance to the affidavit, except for the first few days, and that when Mrs. Formby mysteriously disappeared from the city, the State eliminated her from the case entirely and made no effort to locate her. He said time set forth in the affidavit and the alleged facts were at too wide a variance with anything the State expected to prove, and there had been no trouble in making the case without her.

Affidavit Did Not Fit.

“The woman’s affidavit did not fit in anywhere in our case,” said Mr. Hooper. “If it had we would have looked around a long time for witnesses to substantiate it before we put her on the stand. When she left Atlanta we considered her gone for good, and built without her. Mr. Dorsey and myself discussed her statement several times, and we decided she could not be used to any advantage.”

Mr. Hooper said it has been decided to put the Frank case on the calendar for the week of June 30 and the State would be ready for trial on that day.

“When Mr. Dorsey returns from New York to-night or Sunday, we will go into a conference and definitely outline the case to be presented by the State,” said Mr. Hooper. “We had decided to have it called Monday morning, June 30. Unless the defense asks for a continuance, the case will probably be tried then.”

No Weak Points Remain.

He said that he had been acquainted with every bit of evidence that was in the hands of the State and had studied it carefully with the Solicitor. For one week, he said, he and Mr. Dorsey worked incessantly on the sworn statements secured from the probable witnesses.

“Where there was a weak point we either strengthened it or eliminated it entirely. We have not depended on the evidence of any one person alone to build our case on [sic] make it stand up. We are prepared for any emergency, and feel that we have left no stone unturned in our investigation. We are confident there are no more mysterious witnesses to be heard from, for we feel that we have questioned everyone who could possibly know anything of importance.”

Mr. Hooper would not discuss the many conflicting statements of the negro Jim Conley and the part he was expected to play in the State’s case.

The strong probability that Leo Frank will not be called for trial June 30 was discussed Saturday by persons interested in the case. The attorneys for the accused man have stated that they were prepared to go into court at any time, although it is not usual to give the defense so little time in a capital case.

Frank was arrested April 29. If his case is called June 30, only two months will have elapsed since he was seriously suspected of being involved in the crime. More time than this ordinarily is given the attorneys for the defense to investigate every circumstance and story which may point to the innocence of their client. Continue Reading →

Formby Woman May Not Be A Witness

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

The Atlanta Constitution

Friday, June 20, 1913

State Declares Its Case Against Frank Is Now Complete Dorsey Still Absent

Because of the inconsistency of her statement with the state’s outline of prosecution, Chief Lanford intimates that Mima Formby [sic], the roominghouse keeper of 400 Piedmont avenue, will not be called to the stand in Leo Frank’s trial. He does not state this positively, however, but it is the general opinion that such will be the prosecution’s action.

Mrs. Formby has stated to a Constitution reporter that she is ready to testify against the factory superintendent and that she will remain in Atlanta until time of trial. It is said that a number of occupants of her Piedmont avenue home who were in on the night she alleges Frank telephoned her several times to obtain a room to which he could bring a girl have testified that no such telephone calls came and that the phone did not ring more than once or twice during the entire evening.

Frank Hooper, the well known attorney, who is to be associated with Solicitor Hugh M. Dorsey in the prosecution, has returned from his recent trip to Cincinnati. Although much speculation was created over his journey in view of the fact that Col. T.B. Felder, who has been an active figure in the Phagan investigation, was in Cincinnati at the same time on a trip, the nature of which he declined to disclose.

Also, importance was attached to the fact that the solicitor general was out of the city at the same time. Each of the trio, however, declared that their visits out of the city had nothing whatever to do with the Phagan case. None but the solicitor, though, would tell the mission of his trip. He went on a vacation to Atlantic City, he told reporters.

“The state’s case is regarded as complete,” Mr. Hooper said Thursday, shortly following his return to town. “There have been no new developments. We are waiting now for time of trial.”

* * *

The Atlanta Constitution, June 20th 1913, “Formby Woman May Not Be A Witness,” Leo Frank case newspaper article series (Original PDF)

Blow Aimed at Formby Story

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

The Atlanta Georgian

Thursday, June 19, 1913

DEFENSE HAS WITNESSES TO REFUTE WOMAN

Learns Identity of Other Persons in Home on Night of the Phagan Slaying.

That the defense in the trial of Leo M. Frank will be able, if it wishes, to produce three or four witnesses who will testify that the affidavit of Mrs. Mima [sic] Formby is untrue was discovered Thursday when the identity of the other persons in the house of Mrs. Formby, 400 Piedmont Avenue, the night of April 26, when Mary Phagan was murdered, was learned.

It was from Mrs. Formby that the detectives obtained what they consider one of their most sensational affidavits against Frank. She signed a statement swearing that Frank called her up a half dozen times the night of the murder and tried to persuade her to let him bring a girl to her house. She said she refused.

“It’s a matter of life or death,” she said she told her over the telephone.

Returns to Atlanta.

Mrs. Formby returned to Atlanta Wednesday, after a mysterious absence of several weeks. She said she proposed to stick to her original story when she was called as a witness in the trial of Frank.

In spite of her strong declaration in the truth of her affidavit, no one else who was in the house the night of April 26 has been found who will corroborate her statements. All say that the affidavit is false. Continue Reading →

Mrs. Formby Here for Phagan Trial

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

The Atlanta Constitution

Thursday, June 19, 1913

Woman Declares She Will Appear in Court and Will Corroborate Sensational Affidavit to Police.

Mima [sic] Formby, the rooming housekeeper of 400 Piedmont avenue, who made the affidavit declaring that Leo Frank had telephoned her on the night of Mary Phagan’s murder in an endeavor to rent a room to which he could bring a girl, has returned to Atlanta after a disappearance of several weeks.

To a reporter for The Constitution she stated yesterday afternoon that she intended remaining in the city until time of the Phagan trial and that she would appear before the court and deliver testimony corroborating the sensational affidavit to which she has attested.

Why She Left City.

Mrs. Formby’s recent disappearance created considerable mystery. The police of several different cities were notified to be on the lookout for her, and while the police and detective bureau of Atlanta scoured the city, widespread efforts were made to locate her by the solicitor general’s office.

She declares that she was persuaded by no one to leave town, and that her departure was of her own accord. She had gone away, she said, to avoid notoriety which was incurred by her affidavit, and to remain out of the city until the sensation subsided. She visited Chattanooga, Bristol and Sulphur Springs, Tenn., while on the trip, she said.

Chief Lanford said Wednesday afternoon that he expected the woman’s return and had felt no fears of her absence at time of trial.

Says Frank Wanted Room.

Mrs. Formby’s affidavit was one of the most sensational obtained by the detectives, excepting, of course, the James Conley statement. She swore that on the night of April 26 Leo Frank had telephoned her frequently between the hours of 6:30 and 10 o’clock in an effort to get a room to which he could bring a girl.

She testified that he even declared it was a matter of life and death, and that he even threatened her life when she refused to rent him an apartment. He telephoned her six times, she stated, and finally she was rid of him only after she had told him she was leaving her home on an automobile ride.

Mrs. Formby has returned to her home at the Piedmont avenue address. Continue Reading →

Hooper Returns and Takes Up Phagan Case

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

The Atlanta Journal

Thursday, June 19, 1913

Declares Trip to Cincinnati Had Nothing to oD [sic] With Murder Mystery

Frank A. Hooper, the experienced prosecutor, who has been engaged to assist Solicitor Hugh M. Dorsey in the trial of the case against Leo M. Frank, returned Thursday from a three days’ trip to Cincinnati, and set at rest the rumors that he went to the Ohio city on a matter connected with the investigation of the Phagan murder mystery.

Mr. Hooper declared that his private business called him to Cincinnati, and that his trip was in no way connected with the Phagan case.

While away Mr. Hooper states that he did not see Solicitor Dorsey nor did he see Attorney Thomas B. Felder, who went to the same city on a matter, which he said before leaving, was not connected with the Phagan case nor with the famous dictograph episode.

Mr. Hooper declares that so far as he knows there are no new developments in the Phagan mystery.

“The state’s case is regarded as complete,” Mr. Hooper said, “and we are simply waiting for the hour of the trial to come.”

Mr. Hooper would not discuss the testimony of Mrs. Mima [sic] Formby, who returned to the city Tuesday after an absence of several weeks.

Mrs. Formsby [sic] made an affidavit for the detectives in which she alleged that Leo M. Frank phoned her residence at 400 Piedmont avenue, a number of times between the hours of 6:30 p. m. and 10 p. m. on the evening of the tragedy, and each time begged her to let him bring a girl to her house.

WON’T BE CALLED.

It is considered improbable, however, that Mrs. Formsby will be called as a state’s witness when the case against Frank is tried, for it has been known from the first that her story did not fit in with the theory of the state as to Frank’s actions on the night of the tragedy.

The fact that Mrs. Formsby had returned to the city first became known to the detective department, when she phoned headquarters that practically all of the furniture left in her apartment had mysteriously disappeared. Continue Reading →

Rosser Asks Grand Jury Grill for Conley

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

The Atlanta Georgian

June 9, 1913

Luther Z. Rosser, chief of counsel for Leo M. Frank, issued the first public statement Tuesday that he has made since the arrest of the factory superintendent six weeks ago on the suspicion of being the murderer of Mary Phagan.

He took occasion to point out many of the absurdities in the stories of the negro Jim Conley, and paid his respects in a forcible manner both to Chief of Detectives Lanford and Colonel Thomas B. Felder, who have been accusing each other of trying to protect Frank.

Mr. Rosser explained the violation of his invariable custom of maintaining absolute silence in regard to a case in which he was interested by calling attention to the prejudice that had been aroused in the public mind against Frank by the controversy between Lanford and Colonel Felder.

His statement, in full, follows:

Mr. Rosser’s Statement.

Editor, Atlanta Georgian:

Felder and Lanford, in an effort to make progress in their feud, charge each the other with giving aid to Leo Frank, Lanford charges that Felder was employed by Frank and is seeking for that reason to shield him. Felder charges that Lanford and his associates are also seeking, for some reason, to shield and protect Frank.

Both charges are untrue, and, at a time when no harm could come to an innocent man, might well be treated as antidotes to monotony.

Unfortunately, however, the present situation is such that fair-minded citizens may be misled by these counter charges.

Felder does not, nor has he at any time, directly or indirectly, represented Frank. For Lanford to charge the contrary does Frank a serious injustice.

Felder Against Frank.

If Chief Lanford had been in a sane, normal mood, he would have known that every act of Felder has been against Frank. The engagement of the Burns agency ought to have satisfied Lanford. No detective agency of half prudence would have double-crossed the Atlanta department in the Phagan case. Nor did Felder have excuse for suspicion against Lanford. There was reason to suspect his fairness, his accuracy and the soundness of his methods, but not his reckless zeal against Frank.

Had Felder been in a calm mood I am sure he would never have charged the chief and his associates with intention to help Frank.

Lanford at once, as soon as Felder charged him with favoring Frank, settled in his mind the guilt of Frank, and from that monent has bent every energy of his department, not in finding the murderer, but in trying to prove to the public that Felder was wrong in charging him with trying to shield Frank. Continue Reading →

Lanford Silent on Rosser’s Card

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

The Atlanta Constitution

June 11, 1913

Detective Chief Says He Has No Reply to Make to the Charges of Counsel for Leo M. Frank.

Following the public letter written yesterday by Luther Z. Rosser, counsel for Leo Frank, Detective Chief Newport Lanford said that he had no reply to make to the charges and that hereafter he intended to adopt a policy of silence.

The chief smiled frequently while reading the attorney’s statement, but be positively declined to comment on it.

“Henceforth,” he stated briefly, “It will be the attitude of the detective department to avoid publicity. It should have been done heretofore.”

Lanford declared that Rosser’s card is only an attempt to draw the detective chief into a newspaper controversy, which he intended to avert.

“It is all a scheme—nothing else,” he said, “and I do not propose to be made a victim.”

The statement of Frank’s counsel is a scathing arraignment of Chief Lanford and his department for alleged efforts to prove guilty a white man, against whom prejudice had been created, through the “lying” stories of a negro, against whom all “legitimate” suspicion already was directed.

It follows: Continue Reading →

Luther Z. Rosser, Attorney for Frank, Trains His Guns on City Detective Chief

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

The Atlanta Journal

Tuesday, June 10, 1913

SAYS CHIEF LANFORD IS NOT SEEKING FOR TRUTH OF MURDER

He Charges That the Detective Chief Has Banked His Sense and Reputation on Proving Frank Guilty

“WHY HASN’T CONLEY BEEN BEFORE JURY?”

Attorney Declares Evidence All Points to Negro—Says Felder-Lanford Controversy Unfair to His Client

Luther Z. Rosser, chief counsel for Leo M. Frank, the pencil factory superintendent, who is under indictment for the murder of Mary Phagan, Tuesday afternoon broke his persistent silence regarding the case and gave out a statement for publication.

Mr. Rosser gives as a reason for this statement the fact that Thomas B. Felder has publicly charged Detective Chief Lanford with trying to shield Frank and that the detective chief has in turn publicly accused Felder with having been employed in the interest of Frank.

The accuracy of both charges is denied. Mr. Rosser asserts that Chief Lanford has “banked his sense and reputation as both a man and politician on Frank’s guilt,” and that if he had been seeking the murderer of Mary Phagan with an open mind and not seeking to vindicate his announced opinion of Frank’s guilt, the negro Conley would have already told the whole truth.

Mr. Rosser declares that both the actions and statements of the negro Conley bear the marks of guilt. He states that in making his revelations concerning the murder, Conley is handicapped by Lanford’s opinion.

Mr. Rosser inquires why it was the detectives did not present Conley as a witness before the coroner’s jury and why they now prevent him from telling his story to the grand jury, which he says should determine whether the negro should be indicted, and if so on what count.

MR. ROSSER’S STATEMENT.

Following is Mr. Rosser’s statement in full: Continue Reading →

Grand Jury Probes Detective “Leaks”

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

Atlanta Constitution

Friday, June 6th, 1913

Court Officials Worried Over News Growing Out of the Phagan Murder Mystery.

It is understood on good authority that the grand jury has been called upon to make a searching investigation in the apparent “leakage” in the detective department, which has enabled the newspapers to publish every important development in the Phagan murder mystery before such development had, often times, been brought to the official attention of the solicitor general’s office. It is said that certain court officials deemed the matter of such importance that they called the attention of the grand jury to it in the hope that the responsibility might be properly placed and a repetition of the “leaks” prevented.

It is a matter of history that as soon as some new angle to the case developed it was given the widest publicity, and the case of the state, in all its details, is today known to the attorney for the defense as thoroughly as it is known to the solicitor general.

Don’t Blame Reporters.

No blame is attached to the newspapers for printing the news. Court officials recognize that that is the province of a paper but they deplore the apparent ease with which the news has been secured.

The policy of Solicitor Dorsey has been one of absolute silence. To all reporters he has stated that he had nothing to give out. Continue Reading →

Frank’s Cook Was Counted Upon as Defense Witness

franks-cook-was-counted

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

Atlanta Georgian

Wednesday, June 4th, 1913

While police activities have been turned to this line of investigation, the negro sweeper, Jim Conley, has been given a rest. Chief of Detectives Lanford stated that the negro would be quizzed no more.

Cook Counted on by Defense.

“If he has not told the whole truth,” said the Chief, “he will send for me within the next few days, I believe.”

The cook is one of the five witnesses upon whom the defense has relied to prove that Frank returned home for luncheon at 1:20 o’clock the Saturday afternoon of the murder and that he therefore could not have been in the office dictating the notes at the time James Conley, the negro sweeper, set in his affidavit.

Mr. and Mrs. Emil Selig and Mrs. Frank will be three of the other witnesses called by the defense to prove the time Frank arrived home from the factory on the fatal day. An acquaintance will tell of seeing Frank on the street car that day, and another will relate riding back to town with Frank.

The detectives attached the greatest importance to her affidavit. In the hope of breaking her down, Ernest H. Pickett, of 295 Rawson Street, and Roy L. Craven, 11 Campbell Street, both employees at the Beck & Gregg hardware store, were sent into the room with her to fire questions at her.

Albert McKnight, husband of Minola, also works for the Beck & Gregg concern, and is said to have told Pickett and Craven that his wife had confided to him that Frank did not arrive home at the time he testified before the Coroner’s jury. The two men informed the officers of McKnight’s statement, and as a result the woman was arrested. She was taken first before Solicitor Dorsey, where she hysterically denied that she ever had made such remarks to her husband. She declared that she had a “fuss” with her husband, and that he was taking this means to get her into trouble.

Alibi Big Obstacle.

Unless the State is able to break down the alibis furnished by Frank in the manner attempted on the McKnight woman, the factory superintendent’s movements will be accounted for practically every moment on the day of the tragedy.

Mary Phagan entered the factory at about 12:05 in the afternoon. It is to be presumed that it was about 12:10 by the time he had received her pay envelope and had made the inquiries about the metal. Five minutes later Lemmie Quinn cam in the building. He went to the second floor, walked into the office and talked to Frank. The circumstance, the defense will be able to maintain precludes the possibility that Frank could have committed the crime up to this time. Mary Phagan was not in the office at the time and the natural presumption would be that he had left and had gone downstairs. Continue Reading →

Vice List Wanted by Chief Beavers; Promises Probe

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

Atlanta Constitution

Wednesday, June 4th, 1913

Head of Police Department Invites Carl Hutcheson to Furnish Him With List of Houses.

MORE WITNESSES WILL GIVE TESTIMONY TODAY

Grand Jury Determined to Go to Bottom of Vice Allegations, But Will Not Touch Bribery Charge at Present.

Renewed activities on the part of the police “vice squad” have come with the taking up vice probe by the grand jury, which was started yesterday morning, when a number of principals in the Felder-Beavers controversy were summoned to tell what they know of alleged operation of vicious houses and hotels in Atlanta.

The grand jury will probe deeply into the charges hurled at the police by Attorneys Thomas B. Felder and Carl Hutcheson, following the dictagraphing of Colonel Felder and Mayor James G. Woodward by city detectives, and the charges that Colonel Felder had attempted to bribe G. C. Febuary, clerk to Police Chief James L. Beavers. This was made apparent Tuesday by orders issued for the summoning of additional witnesses for the hearing today.

It was charged by Attorneys Felder and Hutcheson that numbers of vicious houses were in operation, and that the police were either unaware of them and were incompetent, or that the police were in league with the proprietors.

Beavers Asks For List.

“If Mr. Hutcheson will give me a list of houses where he has proof that illegal practices are carried on, I will arrest the persons responsible,” declared Chief Beavers. “We have been making every effort to apprehend such places and would be glad to have evidence given by any one.”

At present there are twenty-two men on the “vice squad,” and they go on duty each evening with instructions to arrest proprietors or inmates of any houses or hotels where they can find proof of immoral practices. Already several arrests have been made in raids.

Gives List of Houses.

When summoned before the grand jury, Attorney Hutcheson produced a list of thirty houses and hotels, of which he has personal knowledge, according to his statement. Attorney Hutcheson remained before the body for nearly an hour and before leaving gave the foreman, L. H. Beck, a list of witnesses to be summoned to back up his allegations. Continue Reading →

Bitter Fight Certain in Trial of Frank

bitter-fight-certain

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

Atlanta Georgian

Tuesday, June 3rd, 1913

Defense Prepares to Show Glaring Discrepancies in Affidavit of James Conley.

[Minola McKnight, the negro cook at Frank’s home, made a written statement Tuesday afternoon to the police following a cross-examination lasting more than an hour at the police station.

The woman was questioned by E. H. Pickett and Roy L. Craven, both of whom are employed at the hardware store of Beck & Gregg. While the bearing of her statement on the Phagan case was not revealed, it is generally thought to relate to the actions of Frank and other inmates of his household on the morning following the murder.

She is believed to have stuck to her story that Frank was home at 1:30, which is one link in the alibi chain the defense is forging.

That Louise H. Beck, foreman of the Grand Jury which indicted Frank, is a co-partner in the establishment with which Pickett and Craven, the questioners of the negro woman, are employed is believed to lend much significance to the cross-examination by the two men. This connection, however, was not made public.

The cook was later released after her statement had been taken, and with her husband left for her Pulliam street home. It was said that she might be called as a witness in the trial of Frank. Much as the detectives attempted to shroud her evidence in mystery, all the indications were that she had not materially changed her statement in favor of Frank. She was released on an agreement with her counsel, George Gordon. — added from a later edition of the Georgian — Ed.]

“Developments of a startling nature may be expected from day to day in the Phagan case,” said Chief of Detectives Lanford Tuesday morning. “They may be expected right up to the date that the trial of Leo Frank begins.

“That we feel we practically have a conclusive case against the factory superintendent does not mean that we are resting in our labors to the slightest extent. We are a little more at rest in our minds, that is all.

“The detectives are working constantly on new clews that present themselves and are investigating every story that is heard, whether it is told by a witness favorable to Frank or against him. We wish to go into court prepared to establish our case against Frank so that not a doubt of his guilt will be possible. That is, of course, if it still appears at that time as certain to us that he is the guilty man as it does now.”

With the continued activity of the detectives, it has become noticeable in the last few days that the defense is at work on its case. Both sides are preparing for a titanic battle when Frank is put on trial for his life the third week in this month. Frank’s cook is still held at police headquarters.

To Cite Time Differences.

Differences in the time given by Jim Conley in his affidavit and the testimony of Coroner’s jury witnesses will be pointed out in the defense of Leo M. Frank against the charge of killing little Mary Phagan, it was revealed Tuesday. They will be used as indications of the superintendent’s innocence because of their many seeming deviations from fact.

One of the most glaring was the negro’s declaration that while he was in Frank’s office to write the notes Miss Corinthia Hall and Mrs. Emma Clark entered. Conley said that this was 1 o’clock or a few minutes after. But Miss Hall had left the building more than an hour before, according to her own testimony before the Coroner’s jury. Continue Reading →

Felder Says He Will Lay Bare ‘Startling Police Graft Plans’

felder-says-he-will

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

Atlanta Georgian

Tuesday, June 3rd, 1913

Attorney Ready to Go Before Grand Jury, but Has Not Been Called; Hutcheson Summoned in the Airing of the Dictograph Controversy.

[Investigation of Reports That Disorderly Houses Again Are in Operation Begun—Foreman’s Move Surprise. Dictograph Row Not Taken Up.

A broad and exhaustive probe into vice conditions in Atlanta was the unexpected turn taken by the Fulton County Grand Jury when it convened Tuesday morning supposedly to take up the Felder-Beavers-Lanford dictograph controversy with the attending charges of corruption and bribery of police officials. Foreman Beck himself conducted the inquisition.

Witnesses who gave testimony at the morning session were asked for evidence pertaining to the existence of vice only. That the Grand Jury will conduct a sweeping investigation of new red light districts which are reported to have sprung up, despite the persistent warfare against such resorts by Chief of Police Beavers, is almost certain.

Mayor James G. Woodward, Colonel Thomas B. Felder and Carl Hutcheson, the lawyer who says he has a list of disorderly houses of holding forth by reason of police protection, were the men called to testify in the morning.

The Mayor was questioned closely as to his knowledge of existing vice conditions. He is said to have informed the grand jurors that his information was only hearsay. However, he gave out what he had heard in full. The Mayor also pointed out the jurymen possibilities for the existence of such practices. The examination of Mr. Woodward continued for more than an hour.

Colonel Felder was before the Grand Jury for ten minutes. The attorney was not subpoenaed to appear at the hearing, but presented himself voluntarily. He is said to have outlined his own position in reference to the bribery charges and also the wholesale charges of corruption which have been made against the police.

Felder Offers Evidence.

In connection with the latter accusations, Mr. Felder declared to the investigating body that he would submit documentary evidence showing the existence of vice in Atlanta to prove his previous assertions.

It is believed that Carl Hutcheson, the young attorney in Felder’s office, is counted upon to supply this evidence. Mr. Hutcheson was called before the Grand Jury shortly before noon. While he did not carry in with him the list of resorts said to be operating now in this city, which he has compiled, he declared that if this document were asked for by the jurymen he would hand it over to them.

That the Grand Jury was in possession of sufficient information to indict the keepers and proprietors of at least 30 houses of disreputable character was the announcement made by Mr. Hutcheson when he emerged from the session chamber after he had been before the jurors for more than an hour.

Says He Furnished Proof.

He said that he had furnished positive evidence that these resorts and houses of assignation existed and that the policemmen [sic] on the beats knew of their existence.

“But did you give them positive information that Chief Beavers and Chief Lanford knew of their existence?” he was asked.

“I told them enough so that they must draw the conclusion that Beavers and Lanford could hardly help but know,” he replied. “The heads of departments always are responsible for the workings of the men under them.” — Added from the “Evening Edition” of the same paper — Ed.]

Colonel Thomas B. Felder appeared before the Grand Jury Tuesday morning at 10 o’clock, prepared, he said, to substantiate every charge he had made against the police department and its heads, and promising to open the eyes of the city to a condition of affairs that was startling in the extreme.

“I have not been served with a subpena to go before the Grand Jury,” Colonel Felder said, “but Mr. Hutcheson has been, and I will be there in case I am called upon. The people of Atlanta have no idea how far-reaching this thing will be. I will show the conditions as they are, and the men higher up will not escape. If the grand jury takes up this thing fully it will be the most sensational probe that has ever been made into affairs in Atlanta.”

The announcement that the Grand Jury would take up the Felder-Beavers-Lanford dictograph controversy with the attending charges of corruption and bribery was made late Monday afternoon when Foreman L. H. Beck had the assistant solicitor general serve a number of subpenas to those concerned.

Mayor Woodward, Chief of Police Beavers, Chief Lanford, Charlie Jones, proprietor of the Rex saloon; Carl Hutcheson, City Detective John Black and Mrs. Mina Formby were the persons summoned. Continue Reading →

Grand Jury Calls for Thos. Felder and Police Heads

grand-jury-calls

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

Atlanta Constitution

Tuesday, June 3rd, 1913

Subpoenas Served Monday Night on the Principals in Dictagraph Case and in Charges of Corruption.

GRAND JURY TO HOLD INVESTIGATION TODAY

Mayor Woodward, Col. Felder, Chief Beavers, Chief Lanford, Carl Hutcheson and Jno. Black Subpoenaed

That the Fulton county grand jury will undertake today an investigation of both sides of the Beavers-Felder controversy was made apparent by the formal summons issued last night to all the principals in the affair.

An added element of mystery to the investigation comes in the attempt made to summon Mrs. Mima [sic] Formby, the woman who made affidavit that Leo M. Frank, now indicted for the murder of Mary Phagan, attempted to rent a room from her for himself and a girl on the night of the murder.

Many Subpoenas Issued.

Mayor Woodward, Chief Beavers, Colonel Felder, Chief Lanford, Charlie Jones, proprietor of the “Rex” saloon; Attorney Carl Hutcheson, City Detective, John Black and Mrs. Formby were the principals upon whom Foreman Beck ordered subpoenas served Monday night.

Charlie Jones was served in person with a summons to attend the grand jury this morning in the case of “The State versus John Doe,” the orders, with the exception of Mrs. Formby, who is said to have left the city, were notified by telephone that their presence was required Tuesday morning before the grand jury.

The charges made by Chief Lanford and other detectives in his force that Colonel Felder had offered a bribe of $1,000 for an affidavit made by Mr. and Mrs. J. W. Coleman, parents of the murdered Phagan girl, and also for other affidavits in the case, and the ensuing charges hurled at the police department by Col. Felder and Attorney Hutcheson, in which the department was charged with graft and corruption stirred Atlanta.

Beavers Asks Probe.

Chief Beavers immediately asked that the grand jury take the matter up and go to the bottom of the charges against himself and the men under him, and Colonel Felder declared that he was ready at any time for the charges against him to be investigated.

That the grand jury would take up the matter at an early date and probe, it has been the general belief of Atlantans who read of the various charges, and when it was announced last week by Solicitor Dorsey that the grand jury would meet on Tuesday morning it immediately became the general belief that the special session would be for this purpose. Continue Reading →