Weak Evidence Against Men in Phagan Slaying

Solicitor General Hugh Dorsey, in a characteristic pose, examining a witness. On Solicitor Dorsey is placed dependence for the solving of the puzzling Phagan slaying case. He is making every effort to unravel the mystery.

Solicitor General Hugh Dorsey, in a characteristic pose, examining a witness. On Solicitor Dorsey is placed dependence for the solving of the puzzling Phagan slaying case. He is making every effort to unravel the mystery.

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

NO REAL SOLUTION OF PHAGAN SLAYING MYSTERY

EVIDENCE AGAINST MEN NOW HELD IN BAFFLING CASE WEAK, SAYS OLD POLICE REPORTER

Atlanta Georgian

Sunday, May 11th, 1913

Detectives in Coroner’s Jury Probe Admit They Have Nothing on Which to Convict Anyone in Mysterious Tragedy of Atlanta.

TESTIMONY BROUGHT OUT NO INCRIMINATING POINTS

BY AN OLD POLICE REPORTER.

The most sensational testimony offered at the Coroner’s inquest in the Phagan case was lost sight of entirely by the newspapers.

Juror Langford asked Detective Black, who was on the witness stand: “Have you discovered any positive information as to who committed this murder?”

Detective Black replied, “No, sir, I have not!”

Coroner Donehoo asked Detective Scott of the Pinkerton force on the witness stand:

“Have you any definite information which makes you suspect any party of this crime?”

Detective Scott replied, “I would not commit myself. I am working on a chain of circumstances. Detective Black has been with me all the time on the case and he knows about the circumstances I refer to.”

As you read this over and consider it carefully, you will be impressed by the fact that the two most important detectives engaged for a period of two weeks on the Phagan case testify under oath that they have no positive information as to who committed the crime—in fact really know nothing about it at all.

I am setting down here my own thoughts and ideas, without intending the slightest disrespect to any official, and further, I believe I am at liberty to do so because of Scott’s and Black’s testimony.

MYSTERY STILL WITHOUT SOLUTION.

In The Sunday American of last week I published an article saying that the developments of the preceding week had led nowhere, and that the mystery was then as dark and deep as any mystery that ever puzzled police and detectives. Continue Reading →

Best Detective in America Now is on Case, Says Dorsey

Miss Nellie Pettis, at top, who testified against Frank at the inquest. At the bottom, Mrs. Lillie Pettis, her sister-in-law, former employee at the pencil factory.

Miss Nellie Pettis, at top, who testified against Frank at the inquest. At the bottom, Mrs. Lillie Pettis, her sister-in-law, former employee at the pencil factory.

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

Atlanta Georgian

Friday, May 9th, 1913

Solicitor Dorsey Says He Has Secured Powerful Aid in Search for Slayer of Girl—Woman Says She Heard Screams in Pencil Factory.

Shelby Smith, chairman of the Fulton commission, declared Friday afternoon that the board would back Solicitor Dorsey in any and all expense he might incur in the state’s exhaustive investigation into the Phagan murder mystery. Smith said;

“We have instructed Dorsey to obtain the best possible detective skill for his probe and he would be backed by the county commission to the last ditch in the money the spent.

“The fact that he hired a good detective Friday is news to me, but he has the sanction and backing of the board in the matter.”

HIRE’S BEST DETECTIVE, HE SAYS.

Solicitor General Hugh M. Dorsey said Friday afternoon that he had the best detective in America working on the mystery of the Mary Phagan strangling.

Important developments had ensued already, he declared, and he was confident that an early solution of the case would be reached by the new expert of national reputation who had been placed at work on the clews. Continue Reading →

Superintendent Frank is Once More Put on Witness Stand

Superintendent Frank is Once More Put on Witness Stand

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

Atlanta Journal

Friday, May 9th, 1913

Leo M. Frank general superintendent of the National Pencil factory, was recalled to the stand. He was questioned regarding the elevator. The coroner wanted to know what kind of a door there is to the shaft on the office floor. The witness replied that it is a heavy door solid, that slides up and down.

“Where was the elevator on Saturday, April 26?” he was asked.

“I didn’t notice.”

“Where was it on Friday night?”

“I didn’t notice.”

“Was the door open on Saturday?”

“I didn’t notice.”

Asked whether it would not be possible for some one to fall into the elevator shaft if the door was open, he replied that there is a bar across the door.

“Where was the elevator after the murder?”

“I can only say it was at the office floor on Sunday morning,” replied the witness.

The coroner reverted to the time-clock. “What time did you take the slip out of the clock?” he asked. Continue Reading →

Leo Frank is Again Quizzed by Coroner

Leo Frank is Again Quizzed by Coroner

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

Atlanta Georgian

Thursday, May 8th, 1913

Newt Lee Called to Stand for Further Examination—Coroner Will Put Case in Hands of Jury by 7 o’clock, It is Predicted.

Leo M. Frank, superintendent of the National Pencil Factory, and Newt Lee, night watchman, both of whom are being held in connection with inquiry into the death of Mary Phagan, were recalled to the witness stand late Thursday afternoon at the inquest.

Frank was given a more searching examination as to movements on the day of the tragedy than he underwent his first day on the stand and an apparent endeavor was made to show that he was not at home at the times he had stated in his previous testimony.

Frank, however, answered the questions readily and Coroner Donehoo was not able to trip him.

In Frank’s previous testimony he failed to mention several persons who were at his home when he said he was there Saturday night. But when he was questioned in regard to this point Thursday afternoon he gave their names at once.

NEWT LEE PRECEDED FRANK ON THE STAND.

Lee’s testimony was in regard to the private conversation he had with Frank when Lee was first arrested. He declared that Frank had told him that they would “both go to hell” if they were not careful, but the effect of this testimony was largely nullified by Frank’s earlier statement that the remark or a remark to the same effect was suggested by one of the detectives in the hope of getting some information from the night watchman. Continue Reading →

Pinkerton Detective Tells of Call From Factory Head

Pinkerton Detective Tells of Call

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

Atlanta Georgian

Thursday, May 8th, 1913

Harry Scott, the Pinkerton detective who has been working on the case since the day of the crime, took the stand when Schiff concluded his testimony.

Scott testified that Frank called him up Sunday afternoon before there was any talk of his arrest and asked the Pinkertons to begin work on the case and find the slayer.

Scott testified as follows:

Q. How are you interested in the Phagan case?—A. I was retained by the National Pencil Company to find the guilty man.

Q. Who retained you?—A. I received a call from Mr. Frank and he told me what he knew about the case.

Q. Where did Frank talk to you?—A. Mr. Frank, Mr. Dalley, Mr. Schiff and I went into the private office.

Q. What did Frank say?—A. He said: “I guess you have read of the crime. We feel an interest in the matter and desire to retain the Pinkertons and try to locate the murderer.” Continue Reading →

Lee Repeats His Private Conversation With Frank

Lee Repeats His Private Conversation with Frank

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

Atlanta Georgian

Thursday, May 8th, 1913

Newt Lee followed Black on the stand.

Q. Tell the jury of your conversation with Frank in private—A. I was in the room and he came in. I said, Mr. Frank, it is mighty hard to be sitting here handcuffed. He said he thought I was innocent, and I said I didn’t know anything except finding the body. “Yes,” Mr. Frank said, “and you keep that up we will both go to hell!” I told him that if she had been killed in the basement I would have known it, and he said, “Don’t let’s talk about that—let that go!”

Frank has declared that he was instructed by the detectives just what to say to Lee in the effort to open his mouth, and said it.

Q. Was the furnace running Saturday night?—A. It was fired up.

Q. Did you say anything about sleeping?—A. Yes, sir. I came to the factory and Mr. Frank came out of his door and rubbed his hands and said he was sorry he had me come so early, when I might have been sleeping. I said I needed sleep. Continue Reading →

L. M. Frank’s Complete Story of Where He Was and What He Did on Day of Mary Phagan Murder

L. M. Franks Complete Story of Where He Was and What He Did on Day of Mary Phagan Murder

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

Atlanta Journal

Tuesday, May 6th, 1913

For Three Hours and a Half Mr. Frank Was on the Stand, Answering Questions About His Movements Every Hour and Minute of the Day—He Was Calm and Unruffled When Excused From Stand and Returned to the Tower

HE TELLS OF VISIT OF LEMMIE QUINN TO HIS OFFICE TEN MINUTES AFTER MARY PHAGAN RECEIVED WAGES

Introduction of Quinn Gives the Factory Superintendent an Important Witness, in Confirmation of His Statements. Only Three Witnesses Examined by Coroner at Session Monday Afternoon

For three hours and a half Leo M. Frank, general superintendent of the National Pencil factory in which Mary Phagan was murdered, faced the coroner’s jury Monday afternoon and told minutely, detail by detail, in precise sequence, where he was and what he did during practically every minute of Saturday, April 26, Saturday night, and Sunday, April 27. When he had finished, his father-in-law, Emil Selig, was put upon the stand and questioned closely regarding what he knew of Frank’s whereabouts and acts on those days. And after Mr. Selig had been excused, Mrs. Josephine Selig, his wife, was called to testify along the same line. These three witnesses occupied the entire session Monday, which was at work for almost five hours.

That Lemmie Quinn, foreman of tipping department, visited the Naitonal Pencil factory shortly after Mary Phagan is supposed to have received her pay envelope and departed, was an absolutely new feature in the murder mystery brought out by Mr. Frank’s testimony.

While Quinn has never been on the stand he has corroborated Mr. Frank’s statement in interviews with the detectives, and goes further by saying that he recalled his visit to the factory for the incarcerated superintendent. Continue Reading →

Police Still Withhold Evidence; Frank To Be Examined on New Lines

Luther Z. Rosser, attorney for Leo M. Frank, who was one of the interested listeners to the testimony presented Thursday at the Coroner's inquest into the death of Mary Phagan.

Luther Z. Rosser, attorney for Leo M. Frank, who was one of the interested listeners to the testimony presented Thursday at the Coroner’s inquest into the death of Mary Phagan.

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

Atlanta Georgian

Thursday, May 8th, 1913

Witnesses Are Quizzed in Detail, but Nothing Important Brought Out. Officials Say They Are Satisfied With Case as It Is Being Developed.

Whatever evidence the police officials may have directly to connect any of the suspects with the killing of Mary Phagan, it was not produced at the early session of the Coroner’s inquest Thursday.

What this evidence is the officials refuse to say—except that they are satisfied with the progress that is being made in unraveling the mystery.

Leo Frank, superintendent of the National Pencil Factory, is expected to be the most important witness of the day.

It is said that an entirely new line of questioning will be taken up.

W. W. (“Boots”) Rogers, former county policeman, and Lemmie Quinn, foreman in the tipping department at the National Pencil Factory, were the principal witnesses. Neither gave testimony that was materially damaging to either Leo M. Frank or Newt Lee, who are being held in connection with the crime.

Rogers was questioned closely of the events of the morning the crime was discovered, and told of taking the officers to the scene in his automobile. Beyond his belief that Frank appeared nervous when he was visited at his home by the detectives, Rogers had no information that appeared to point suspicion in one direction more than another. Continue Reading →

Phagan Inquest in Session; Six Witnesses are Examined Before Adjournment to 2:30

Lemmie Quinn, foreman, who testified that he visited the factory and talked to Mr. Frank just after Mary Phagan is supposed to have left with her pay envelope. He was given a searching examination by the coroner Thursday, but stuck to his statement.

Lemmie Quinn, foreman, who testified that he visited the factory and talked to Mr. Frank just after Mary Phagan is supposed to have left with her pay envelope. He was given a searching examination by the coroner Thursday, but stuck to his statement.

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

Atlanta Journal

Thursday, May 8th, 1913

Lemmie Quinn, the Factory Foreman, Was Put Through a Grilling Examination, but He Steadily Maintained That He Visited the Factory Shortly After the Time Mary Phagan is Supposed to Have Left With Her Pay Envelope

FRANK’S TREATMENT OF GIRLS IN FACTORY DESCRIBED AS UNIMPEACHABLE BY ONE YOUNG LADY EMPLOYEE

Mr. Frank’s Manner at the Time He Was Informed of the Tragedy by Officers at His Home on Sunday Morning is Told of by Former Policeman — Both Frank and the Negro Night Watchman Are Expected to Testify During Afternoon, When Inquest Will Be Concluded

The coroner’s inquest into the mysterious murder of Mary Phagan adjourned at 12:55 o’clock Thursday to meet again at 2:30. At the hour of adjournment, six witnesses had testified. They were “Boots” Rogers, former county policeman; Lemmie Quinn, foreman of the pencil factory; Miss Corinthia Hall, an employee of the factory; Miss Hattie Hall, stenographer; J. L. Watkins and Miss Daisy Jones. L. M. Frank and Newt Lee, the negro night watchman, were both present at headquarters during the morning session, but neither had been recalled to the stand when recess was ordered. Both are expected to testify during the afternoon, when an effort will be made to conclude the inquest and return a verdict.

Though put through a searching examination by the coroner in an effort to break down his statement that he had visited the factory on the day of the tragedy shortly after noon just after Mary Phagan is supposed to have received her pay envelope and left, Quinn stuck to his story. He declared that he had recalled his visit to Mr. Frank, and that Mr. Frank told him he was going to communicate the fact to his lawyers. Continue Reading →

Says He Punched Time Clock on Wrong Number

Says He Punched Time Clock on Wrong NumberAnother in our series of new transcriptions of contemporary articles on the Leo Frank case.

Atlanta Journal

Wednesday, April 30th, 1913

Harry Denham’s Story Indicates Miss Annie Howell Wasn’t in Factory

The time clock at the National Pencil company’s factory, where Mary Phagan was murdered, shows that employe [sic] No. 141 registered off at 3:07 p. m. last Saturday.

This is the number of Miss Annie Howell, of 664 East Fair street, and at first the detectives thought she might be able to throw some light on the mystery.

It developed later, however, that this must have been a mistake. Harry Denham, one of the men employed in the factory, claims that he punched her by mistake, and then punched his own number, which is 143, as a correction.

The clock shows that No. 143 was punched at 3:09 p. m. on Saturday.

* * *

Atlanta Journal, April 30th 1913, “Says He Punched Time Clock on Wrong Number,” Leo Frank case newspaper article series (Original PDF)

Clock ‘Misses’ Add Mystery to Phagan Case

Clock 'Misses' Add Mystery to Phagan CaseAnother in our series of new transcriptions of contemporary articles on the Leo Frank case.

Atlanta Georgian

Wednesday, April 30th, 1913

Records Purport to Show Watchman Failed to Register Three Times Saturday Night.

What does the National Pencil Factory time clock show?

It was the duty of Newt Lee, the negro night watchman, to punch it every half-hour. Records brought to the police station purport to show that Lee three times failed to punch the clock.

But Leo M. Frank, superintendent of the factory, told a Georgian reporter Sunday afternoon that Lee had punched the clock regularly and that the clock record was all right.

Misses Were Not Consecutive.

Accepting the evidence of the records at the police station, the case is more beclouded by their introduction than it was before. Although they appear to show that Lee failed three times to punch the clock, these misses were not consecutive and the intervals between punches never were more than one hour. Continue Reading →