Accuser of Conley is Ready to Testify

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

Atlanta Georgian
August 6th, 1913

Deplores Newspaper Publicity, but Poses Merrily for the Camera Brigade.

W. H. Mincey, the school teacher and insurance solicitor who made an affidavit that Jim Conley confessed to him that he had already killed a girl that day and didn’t want to kill anyone else, was the center of attention for the crowd on the outside of the courthouse Wednesday mornin[g].

While deploring newspaper publicity, he readily agreed to pose for a group of newspaper photographers, assuming many poses, some of which were rather grotesque. He followed this with implicit instructions to the photographer that his picture was not to be printed in the papers.

Efforts to get him to state whether he had seen Jim Conley since his arrest proved futile. Mincey declared he would make this statement or answer until he had taken the stand.

Mincey was located at New Salem, Ga., near Rising Fawn, in Dade County. He is teaching school there, his work being the preparation of students to enter the Martha Berry School at Rome.

“I will not talk of the case and will not tell my story until I take the stand,” said Mincey. “If Jim Conley killed little Mary Phagan, I feel that it is my duty to tell of the experience I had with him that Saturday afternoon. I don’t think this thing should be discussed in the newspapers, though. I regard newspapers as a necissity. These matters should be left to the court hearings. It is a loss to me to be here and I trust the case will soon be over. I think, though, that it is my duty to tell what I know.”

Mincey is a man of small stature with piercing eyes and a gray mustache. He wears a black felt slouch hat and a dark suit.

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Atlanta Georgian, August 6th 1913, “Accuser of Conley is Ready to Testify,” Leo Frank case newspaper article series (Original PDF)

First Two Days of Frank Trial Only Skirmishes Before Battle

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

Atlanta Constitution
July 30th, 1913

During the two days’ progress of the Frank trial public interest has centered around the case and all eyes seemed turned to it. To date, the interest has really been in watching the struggle between the skilled attorneys who are fighting for position and whose clashes over the preliminary witnesses are merely the skirmishes of the pickets before two mighty armies come together.

Thus far the interest, while to a certain extent centered on the maneuvering, has been mostly of the future tense. Every one is looking forward to what is to come. A fierce skirmish that almost engaged the two sides in real and earnest conflict came over the cross-examination of Newt Lee, and in it the state won. It was rather through the rare character of the negro testifying and his unbreakable spirit that the state won its first skirmish than through the efforts of its lawyers.

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Claims Mincey, When Needed, Will Testify

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

Atlanta Journal
July 30th, 1913

Attorney for Defense Says the State Won’t Hurt His Character

“Mincey will be Johnny-on-the-spot when the defense needs him to testify.”

Those were the words of Joseph Leavitt, one of the lawyers for the defense in speaking Tuesday afternoon on the affidavit sworn to some time ago by W. H. Mincey, by which the defense hopes to prove that Jim Conley confessed to Mincey that he killed a girl on the day Mary Phagan was murdered.

Attorney Leavitt would not say where Mincey was staying, but declared that he was in town; that he had been with him Tuesday afternoon, and that he would stick to his affidavit when called upon to testify.

It is know that Mincey stayed Monday night at the Williams house No. 3, where he registered as coming from Rising Fawn, Ga. Attorney Leavitt says that Mincey has been teaching school there since he left Atlanta.

“It is rumored,” said Attorney Leavitt, “That the state will try to break down Mincey’s character. I don’t care how many affidavits they get against him. I can bring forward hundreds of prominent Atlanta people, teachers, preachers, and merchants, who will swear that Mincey is an honest man. And I’ll subpoena ’em, too.”

Mincey, on Arrival Reaffirms Affidavit

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

Atlanta Constitution
July 29th, 1913

W. H. Mincey, who made the famous affidavit in which he declared that Jim Conley had told him on April 26 that he had killed a girl, arrived late last night for the Frank trial.

In a statement made to The Constitution, Mr. Mincey reaffirmed his affidavit in its entirety and declared that he would tell this story on the witness stand. He was accompanied by Colonel Ben E. Neal, of Ringgold, Ga., a lawyer who has known him for years and who states that he will testify as to Mincey’s [rest of article cut off].

Mincey in Atlanta, But Has Not Been to Trial

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

Atlanta Journal
July 29th, 1913

Agent Who Said That Conley Told Him of Killing “a Girl” May Testify

W. H. Mincey, who has made affidavit that James Conley, the negro sweeper, practically confessed to him as being the murderer of Mary Phagan, is in Atlanta but has not yet gone to the courthouse where Frank is being tried.

At the time of the murder, Mincey was employed here as an insurance solicitor. On the day of the murder, he says that he met Conley at the corner of Carter and Electric streets.

The negro, according to the affidavit, was drinking, and when the solicitor mentioned insurance the negro flared into anger.

“I’ve killed a girl today,” the affidavit charges Conley, the negro sweeper, with having said, “I don’t want to hurt anybody else.”

Several weeks ago Mincey left Atlanta to take a position as school teacher. But attorneys for the defense say that he has returned, and is now here.

Leo Frank’s Trial on Murder Charge Booked for Today

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

Atlanta Constitution
July 28th, 1913

Judge L. S. Roan Announces That He Will Call Case at Nine O’Clock This Morning.


Legal Representatives Take Good Rest on Sunday in Preparation for Struggle That Begins Today.

After weeks of preparation by some of the most skilled legal minds in the state and after every point in the affair that has been made public has been discussed and threshed out by thousands of citizens, the case of the state v. Leo M. Frank, charged with the murder of little Mary Phagan, will be called at 9 o’clock today.

Event after event has followed in rapid succession since the morning of April 27, when Atlanta arose to wend its way to church and read of the finding by police of the little girl’s dead body in the basement of the National Pencil company, on South Forsyth street. Newt Lee, the negro night watchman, who called the police, was arrested, and is still held. J. M. Gantt and Arthur Mullinax, two white employees, were then arrested, and afterwards freed. Then the young factory superintendent was taken into custody.

Then Conley’s Affidavit.

Then came the arrest of James Conley, negro sweeper, who stayed in jail apparently unheeded until he burst forth with his sensational affidavits against the superintendent.

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Grand Jury Meets to Consider Conley Case

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

The Atlanta Georgian

Monday, July 21, 1913

Protest of Solicitor Will Be Heeded

Foreman Declares Inquisitorial Body Will Not Ride “Roughshod” Over Dorsey.

With Solicitor Dorsey reaffirming his certainty that Jim Conley will not be indicted before the tral [sic] of Leo M. Frank and declaring that he will fight with all his vigor any movement in that direction, the Grand Jury members gathered in the Thrower Building Monday morning in response to the call of Foreman Beatie to decide whether they will reopen their investigation of the Phagan murder mystery.

A strong probability that no action would be taken during the day arose when it became known that there were only eighteen of the grand jurors in the city, a bare quorum. In the event that all of the eighteen did not appear, there still was the opportunity to go out and summon talesmen at random to serve on the Grand Jury, but no statement was made as to whether this legal privilege would be exercised.

No Witnesses Called.

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Dorsey Is Seeking to Be Grand Jury And Solicitor Too, Say Frank’s Counsel

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

The Atlanta Journal

Sunday, July 20, 1913


Rosser and Arnold Charge Dorsey Seeks to Convict Frank, Guilty or Innocent, Out of Professional Pride


Attorneys Intimate That Dorsey Fears to Let Truth Be Known – Attitude Throughout Case Is Criticised

The attitude of Solicitor General Hugh M. Dorsey throughout the Phagan investigation, and especially in his attempt to block a grand jury indictment of Jim Conley, is scored in an interview made public by Luther Z. Rosser and Reuben R. Arnold, counsel for Leo M. Frank.

“The solicitor is seeking to convict Frank innocent or guilty, in order to gratify his professional pride,” Frank’s attorneys say.

In the course of the intetrview [sic] the two famous attorneys, who have been engaged to defend the man accused of the murder of Mary Phagan, charge that the solicitor is protecting the negro Conley.

Mr. Dorsey is severely criticised not only for his avowed intention of trying to block the indictment of Conley by the grand jury Monday, but because he prevented the last grand jury, the one, which indicted Frank, from acting on Conley’s case, and because he did not place before the last grand jury any of Conley[‘s] confessions.

Solicitor Dorsey is geeting [sic] his legal and constitutional functions in seeking to control the action of the grand judy [sic],” Attorneys Rosser and Arnold declare.

Despite the criticism of his attitude, there is little doubt that Solicitor Dorsey will be present Monday, when the grand jury takes up the consideration of the Conley case. In fact the solicitor’s presence has been requested by W.D. Beattie, the foreman of the grand jury, who called the meeting.

Solicitor Dorsey is still confident that the grand jury will not indict Conley.

There is little doubt that there will be a quorum present, when the grand jury meeting is called Monday, for Deputy Sheriff Plennie Minor has found that  19 of the 20 grand jurors empanneled [sic] are in the city, and they have promised to be present Monday. It takes 18 grand jurors to act on a bill of indictment. The statement of Mr. Rosser and Mr. Arnold, scoring the solicitor is as follows:


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Attorney for Conley Makes a Statement

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

The Atlanta Georgian

Sunday, July 20, 1913

“Not Necessary to Indict Negro to Close His Mouth,” Declares William Smith.

William M. Smith, attorney for Jim Conley, the negro now being held as a material witness in the Phagan murder case and whose indictment for complicity in the crime will be considered by the Grand Jury Monday, brought to the office of The Sunday American Saturday night a statement in behalf of his client.

In a letter accompanying the statement, Mr. Smith conveyed a doubt as to whether this newspaper would print what he had to say.

The attorney’s statement in full follows:

The Grand Jury list published showed the names of some men whom I know, and know they are on the square, and, if they once understand the real situation, there will be a bear fight before Jim Conley is indicted at this time.

Of course it would be great work, if the State could be forced to so indict Conley as to make his testimony legally inadmissible against Frank. What a beautiful technical advantage for the Grand Jury to work to close Conley’s mouth against Frank.

Code of Georgia, section 1035: “Confessions of conspirators. The confession of one joint offender or conspirator, made after the enterprise is ended, is admissible only against himself.”

How long would the good people of this county stand for such legal jugglery to save a brutal murderer from the gallows? It is right that both men shall talk. The Grand Jury can name Conley as a joint offender or conspirator, they can give him a “legal status,” which we have heard so much howl about for the last few days, and save Frank from the embarrassment of having to face Conley, even when he is tried. The Grand Jury may know more about what is legally proper to do in this matter than the men who have been playing this game for a living for years, but they had better move slow. We have been studying the principles underlying this fight for months, and they are fresh hands, just on the job for a few days.

It is not necessary to indict Conley to close his mouth. I can close it and help Frank to go free, and then Mr. Mincey and others of his type can be run off by the friends of Mr. Frank, and be inaccessible as witnesses when Conley is tried, and then Conley can go free. This could be done, but it won’t be. Unless they get me fired from my representation of Conley, and unless the Grand Jury fixes his “legal status” so he can’t swear, Conley will answer the roll call as a witness and tell the whole truth as he knows it. It is evident that a trade whereby Conley would close his mouth would be advantageous to both. With Mr. Mincey and others non est inventus, as I imagine they will be if they are not held after swearing, by some process, Conley could not possibly be convicted of murdering the girl himself, and with Frank free Conley could not even be indicted and punished as an accessory after the fact. Such a trade might even be made interesting to Conley’s lawyer, from a financial viewpoint. In fact, everybody but society and the administration of justice would be helped.

We are not looking for trades. Let everybody tell the whole truth, as they see it, and then let justice take its full course, unhampered by ringers or other influences, permeating either the grand or petit juries of this county. When this is done, the fiendish murder of Mary Phagan will be avenged and the civic conscience of our good people satisfied.


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The Atlanta Georgian, July 20th 1913, “Attorney for Conley Makes a Statement,” Leo Frank case newspaper article series (Original PDF)