Tells of Watchman Lee ‘Explaining’ the Notes

by Archivist on April 30, 2016

Tells of Watchman Lee 'Explaining' the NotesAnother in our series of new transcriptions of contemporary articles on the Leo Frank case.

Atlanta Georgian

Wednesday April 30th, 1913

Sergeant L. S. Dobbs was the third witness. He said he answered the call to the pencil company plant Sunday morning.

Q.—Did you find an umbrella? A.—No. Lassiter did.

Q.—Did you find the notes there? A.—One of them.

He then identified the two notes.

Q.—Were you at the plant when Lassiter found the umbrella? A.—No; he found them about 7 o’clock.

Q.—Where did you find the body? A.—About 150 feet from the elevator shaft.

Q.—Did you examine the body?

“Yes. When I turned the body over I found the face full of dirt, and could not tell if it was a white girl or negro. We examined the legs and found it was a white woman.

“I became suspicious of the negro and questioned him. I said: ‘You know something about this,’ and he became very much excited. We read the notes, and without anyone making comment the negro said the word ‘night’ meant the night watchman.

Body Had Been Dragged.

“I asked him why he went downstairs and he said to use the toilet. I asked why he didn’t use the toilet on the second floor and he said white folks didn’t like for negroes to use their toilet.

“I had Williams to lie down on the ground. Unless one looked directly at the body it could not have been seen from the toilet.

“In going back to the scene after daybreak, we discovered traces showing a body had been dragged from where the umbrella was found at the elevator to where it was found.”

Q.—Could an ordinary man have taken a body down the ladder? A.—I don’t think so.

Q.—Had the elevator been used that night? A.—There was no way to use it. The watchman did not know how to run it.

Q.—Did the scratching on the ground show that a person might have stopped with the body? A.—No. It was continuous.

Shoe Found in Path.

Q.—Was the shoe found directly on the line in which the body had been dragged? A.—Yes; just a little to one side, and also the hat.

Sergeant Dobbs described the location of the body, which coincided with other testimony.

Q.—Was her clothing brighter than any boxes that were around? A.—No.

Q.—Was there any warmth in body? A.—No. I could work the fingers slightly.

Q.—Have you had much experience in handling dead bodies? A.—No.

Sergeant Dobbs said the negro told him no one had been in the building since 6 o’clock.

Q.—After the negro had gone upstairs after you found the body, did he go back down stairs? A.—Yes.

Q.—Did you notice any opening in the partition when you first went down? A.—No. I thought it was a solid wall.

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Atlanta Georgian, April 30th 1913, “Tells of Watchman Lee ‘Explaining’ the Notes,” Leo Frank case newspaper article series (Original PDF)

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