Two New Witnesses in Phagan Mystery to Testify Thursday

Two New Witnesses in Phagan Mystery to Testify ThursdayAnother in our series of new transcriptions of contemporary articles on the Leo Frank case.

Atlanta Journal

Wednesday, May 7th, 1913

Detectives Said to Attach Much Importance to Testimony That Two Girls Will Give When Inquest Resumes


Paul P. Bowen Has Been Released by Houston Officials—Chief Detective and 14 Policemen Are Discharged

Two new witnesses, whom the detectives have recently located, are expected to give testimony of importance at the final session of the Phagan inquest Thursday.

One of the witnesses is Miss Grace Hix, of 100 McDonough road, daughter of James E. Hix. Miss Hix worked at the same machine with Mary Phagan, but has not been to the factory since the latter was slain. Miss Hix was closeted for two hours with the detectives Tuesday evening, but it is not known just what her testimony will be. [Appears to be missing words in the printing—Ed.] day Mary Phagan was killed, but did not see her, according to a statement she made to a Journal reporter Wednesday afternoon at 2:45 o’clock.

“The last time I saw Mary Phagan was on the Monday before she was killed,” said Miss Hix. “That was the day she got layed off. I was uptown Saturday, the day she was killed, but I did not see her.”

The name of the other witness has not been learned. That witness, a young woman, who works at the factory will testify according to the same report, that on the Saturday that Mary Phagan met her death, she (the witness) went to the factory to get her own envelope. According to the report the young woman will testify that she went to Superintendent Frank’s office between 12:10 and 12:20 o’clock (the time Mary Phagan is supposed to have gone for her pay) and waited about five minutes.


The coroner’s inquest will be concluded Thursday, according to Coroner Paul Donehoo. The inquest has been probably the most thorough and exhaustive ever conducted in Georgia, the jurors having spent many hours in listening to testimony in the case and now the coroner is determined that the inquest itself shall be concluded at Thursday’s session and the jurors relieved from further duty in the case.

It is probable that the body of little Mary Phagan interred at Marietta a week ago will be again exhumed before the final session of the jury. It is said that one important point has now not been fully covered by the examination and this will necessitate the lifting of Mary Phagan’s body from the grave a second time. Before any action is taken, however, the parents of the slain girl will be consulted. It is probable that Dr. J. W. Hurt, the country physician, and Dr. H. F. Harris, of the state board of health, will make the second examination.

It was reported that the principal reason for exhuming the body again is to get some of the hair from the murdered child’s head in order that it might be compared with the hair found in the metal room at the pencil factory. It is understood that the hair which was in possession of the detectives has been lost.

Officials will make no definite statement relative to the second examination of the girl’s body, but it was learned from the coroner that at noon Wednesday the physicians, who are to make the examination, had not started for Marietta. It is said to be practically certain, however, that the body will be exhumed before the convening of the final session of the inquest.


A development of interest in the case as the release of Paul Peniston Bowen, the former Atlantian [sic], who was arrested in Houston, Tex., as a suspect in the Phagan case. The release of Bowen carries out the prediction made Tuesday afternoon by The Journal, when after a vigorous investigation The Journal was able to show that it was practically impossible for Bowen, who left here about nine months ago, to have been in Atlanta or Georgia at the time of the murder.

Young Bowen is well and favorably known in Atlanta, where he worked for several years and has many friends here, who have received letters from him recently. He comes originally from Newnan, where his family is prominent. Interesting in connection with Bowen’s release is the announcement of the summary removal from office of Chief of Detectives George Peyton, of Houston, who made the arrest. Chief of Police Ben S. Davison declares that Peyton exceeded his authority in taking young Bowen into custody. Chief Beavers has wired Houston that Bowen is not wanted by the Atlanta police.


Interest in the Phagan investigation is again centered in the coroner’s inquest, which is scheduled to resume its probe into the mystery on Thursday morning at 9:30 o’clock.

Just what witnesses will go before the coroner’s jury is not known, as the actions of the officials have been shrouded in mystery since the active entrance of Solicitor Dorsey in the case. It is probable, however, that in addition to recalling Newt Lee to the stand, the jurors will hear the testimony of Dr. Hurt, of Dr. Harris, and of Dr. Claude Smith, the city bacteriologist, who has examined the bloodstains on the shirt found at Lee’s home, on the floor of the factory and on the garments of the murdered girl.


The examination of Newt Lee before the jurors will be a vigorous probe, similar to the questioning Monday afternoon of L. M. Frank, and especial emphasis will be laid on the conversation the two men had some days ago in the negro’s cell.

It is not improbable that Mr. Frank himself will be recalled to the stand. Despite the fact that he gave testimony for three hours and a half, the stenographic record of his statement is being examined by the officials in order that they may bring him back if they are able to find any pertinent question that was not put to him during the three and one-half hours examination Monday.

Lemmie Quinn, foreman of the tipping department in which Mary Phagan worked, may be another witness before the inquest. Quinn’s corroboration of Frank’s statement that he (Quinn) came to the factory a few minutes after Mary Phagan got her pay envelope will, it is said, be attacked by the detectives.

Few other witnesses will be examined Thursday, it is said, although it is probable that the two girls who are said to have been paid shortly before Mary Phagan arrived at the factory, may be put on the stand.

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Atlanta Journal, May 7th 1913, “Two New Witnesses in Phagan Mystery to Testify Thursday,” Leo Frank case newspaper article series (Original PDF)