Testimony of Girls Help to Leo M. Frank

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

Atlanta Georgian
August 15th, 1913

In the presentation of its alibi for Leo M. Frank, the defense probably accomplished more Thursday than it had in all of previous time since the prosecution rested its case. Frank’s lawyers had promised that they would show where Frank was practically every minute on the day the murder of little Mary Phagan was committed and would demonstrate that it would have been impossible to carry out the disposal of the slain girl’s body and the writing of the notes as the negro, Jim Conley, described them.

If their alibi witnesses are to be believed, the lawyers appear to have fairly well accomplished this. On the credibility of one young witness, pretty Helen Curran, of No. 160 Ashby street, the whole alibi may stand or fall. She could, of course, be proved mistaken in her statement that she saw Frank at 1:10 o’clock standing at Jacobs’ Pharmacy, Whitehall and Alabama streets, awaiting a car home from the factory on the afternoon of the murder, and the remainder of the alibi witnesses remain unimpeached, but it would serve to weaken the alibi materially.

Apparently Disinterested.

She is at once the most important and the most disinterested of the witnesses who have testified to seeing Frank immediately after the State says the crime was committed. If Frank was at Whitehall and Alabama streets at 1:10 o’clock, it would have been almost beyond human possibility for him to have taken part in the disposal of the girl’s body, which Conley said was undertaken at 12:55 and finished about 1:30, together with the writing of the notes in Frank’s office.

Frank’s father-in-law and mother-in-law testified that he arrived home that day about 1:20 o’clock, but their testimony, because they are most vitally interested in the outcome of the case from their ties of relationship, will in all probability have far less weight with the jurors than the apparently straightforward statement of the girl.

The establishing of the alibi for Frank, which was begun early in the week through the testimony of Mr. and Mrs. Emil Selig, was practically completed Thursday, although there were several more witnesses to be called on Friday who had seen him the day of the crime.

Times in the Alibi.

Thursday’s testimony began with the time he went to Montag Bros., Nelson and Forsyth streets, Saturday forenoon. Sig Montag, one of the firm and also treasurer of the National Pencil Company, testified that Frank came to his plant about 10 o’clock and left about 11.

Miss Corinthia Hall, Mrs. Emma Freeman, Miss Hattie Hall, Alonzo Mann and others had testified to seeing him in the factory between 11 o’clock and noon. Lemmie Quinn, metal department foreman, the day before declared that he visited Frank in his office at 12:20 o’clock. Mrs. Arthur White, a witness for the State, saw him in his office at 12:30. He went to the fourth floor at 12:50, according to Mrs. White, Harry Denham and Arthur White.

This brought the defense down to the time someone saw him after he left the factory.

Miss Curran was called to the stand and declared she saw the factory superintendent at 1:10 at Whitehall and Alabama streets apparently waiting for a street car. This made an interval of but eighteen minutes from the time he was seen by the three persons on the fourth floor of the factory, allowing two minutes for him to walk to his car, and an interval of but twelve minutes from the time that Conley said they started to carry the body to the basement.

Eight of the twelve minutes were spent by Conley in a closet in Frank’s office, according to the negro’s testimony. Of the remaining four, part were occupied in disposing of the body and part in writing the notes.

Witness Who Helped Build Alibi.

Mrs. Albert P. Levy, No. 69 East Georgia avenue, swore she saw Frank get off a car at about 1:20 o’clock and walk to the Selig home, No. 68 East Georgia avenue.

Mr. and Mrs. Selig already had testified he arrived home at 1:20 and ate luncheon.

Mrs. M. G. Michael, of Athens, Ga., said she saw Frank at about 2 o’clock at the home of Mrs. C. Wolfsheimer, No. 387 Washington street, where she was visiting. She said he walked on to Glenn street and caught his car for town.

Jerome Michael, son of the former witness, saw Frank at the same time.

Mrs. Wolfsheimer was another witness who saw Frank just before he caught his car. She said he was not nervous and bore no scratches or other marks.

Julian Loeb, No. 380 Washington street, said that from across the street he saw Frank stop at No. 387 Washington and then go on to his car.

J. C. Loeb, No. 445 Washington street, testified that he caught the Washington street car for town at Georgia avenue at about 2 o’clock. Frank got on, he said, at Glenn street. The car was stalled near the Capitol, and Frank, according to Loeb, got off the car and walked down Hunter street toward town.

Miss Rebecca Carson, a forelady on the fourth floor at the pencil factory, told the jury that she saw Frank in front of Rich Bros. Between 2:20 and 2:25 and that she saw him going into Jacobs’ Pharmacy at about 2:50.

Harry Denham, who was in the factory the day of the murder, testified that Frank came to the fourth floor about 2 o’clock and told him and Arthur White they could leave.

Emil Selig and Minola McKnight had testified previously that Frank came home Saturday night about 6:30.

Mrs. M. Marcus, Mrs. A. E. Marcus, M. J. Goldstein and others told of seeing Frank at home Saturday evening. They said there was nothing unusual in his demeanor and that he bore no scratches or marks of any sort. He was reading a magazine, they said, and laughed heartily over a story in regard to a baseball umpire. They testified that he retired about 1:30 o’clock.

The defense also made good its promise that it would not hesitate to put Frank’s character in issue. Following its actions of the day before, when the first of the character witnesses were put on the stand, nearly a score of Frank’s acquaintances, some of them his classmates and instructors at Pratt Institute and Cornell University, were called to testify to Frank’s good character.

These witnesses for the most part were excused without cross-examination. Prominent citizens of Atlanta also declared Frank to be of good character. Among these witnesses were Rabbi David Marx, V. H. Kriegshaber, Milton Klein and R. A. Sohn.

A peculiar situation arose through the calling of Max F. Goldstein and Arthur Heyman as character witnesses by the defense. Goldstein is a law partner of Frank A. Hooper and Heyman of Solicitor Dorsey, the two attorneys who are prosecuting Frank.

Says Conley Told Her He Was Drunk.

One of the startling statements of the day came from Miss Rebecca Carson. She declared Conley had sworn to her that he was not in the factory the day of the murder—in fact, that he was so drunk he did not know where he was or what he did.

Solicitor Dorsey obtained an admission from J. R. Leach that cars frequently run ahead of time on practically all lines. This serves to lessen in value the testimony of the crew of the car on which Mary Phagan came to town. They swore they never ran ahead of time and that the Phagan girl could not have arrived in town before 12:07 o’clock the day she was slain.

Judge Roan threatened Thursday afternoon to clear the courtroom if disorder did not cease. V. H. Kriegshaber was on the stand testifying to the character of Frank when laughter at some of the testimony disturbed the courtroom.

Attorney Arnold protested.

“This is not a side show,” he said, “Must we put with such disorder?”

“Find the man that laughed and put him out,” ordered the judge. “If there is any further disorder, no one will be admitted to the trial to-morrow.”

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Atlanta Georgian, August 15th 1913, “Testimony of Girls to Help Leo M. Frank,” Leo Frank case newspaper article series (Original PDF)