Another in our series of new transcriptions of contemporary articles on the Leo Frank case.
July 24th, 1913
JUDGE ANNOUNCES HE IS READY TO TRY CASE; 144 MEN EMPANELLED
Says He Has Not Even Been Asked for Postponement, and Sees No Reason Why Trial Should Not Begin On Date Fixed.
Jim Conley, the negro sweeper of the National Pencil Factory, was taken from the police station late Thursday afternoon by Detectives Starnes and Campbell to verify certain of his statements and to point out certain witnesses, who, he told the detectives, would be able to refute the affidavit of W. H. Mincey by showing that he was not at the point where Mincey swears the negro confessed he “had killed a girl” on the afternoon of the murder. The detectives would not divulge the location of the places to be visited.
Judge L. S. Roan, home from Covington, late Thursday, declared to a Georgian reporter that he saw no reason why the trial of Leo M. Frank, accused of the murder of Mary Phagan, should not begin Monday.
The Judge who had been reported ill said he felt fully able to go ahead and had not been asked for a postponement.
“I see no reason why the trial should not begin on the date fixed,” he said. “As far as I am concerned everything is in readiness. I have not been asked to allow a delay.”
Judge Roan added that he had informed Judge Pen[d]leton there was no objection on his part to going ahea[d] with the drawing of twelve panels of 12 men each of prospective jurymen were drawn. Deputy Sheriff Plennie Miner had notified all the attorneys involved. It was expected that the defense would make its motion for the drawing of the jury from the Grand Jury panel before Judge Pendleton and there was no doubt Solicitor Dorsey would oppose it and very likely win his point.
“The prosecution was ready June 30 in the case of the State vs. Leo M. Frank charged with the murder of little Mary Phagan on April 26 last. We have subpenaed all the witnesses, expecting to try this case on Monday next. This date was set at the suggestion of Judge L. S. Roan at the instance of counsel for the defense.
“We are disappointed that the jury was not drawn this morning as Judge Roan stated it would be done.
“The State assuredly will be ready Monday unless something entirely unforeseen happens, and will ask trial of this man at that time.”
Superior Judge John T. Pendleton declined to draw a jury for the Frank trial Thursday morning until he heard definitely from Judge L. S. Roan whether the case would be opened next Monday. Judge Pendleton announced he would know definitely by 4 o’clock Thursday afternoon whether the case would be called Monday, and he would the jury at that time if necessary.
Deputy Sheriff Pllnnie [sic] Miner had instructions from Judge Roan to have one of the other judges draw the jury Thursday unless he was notified to the contrary. Miner heard nothing f[r]om Judge Roan and carried the jury box to Judge Pendleton to have the twelve panels drawn. He notified the attorneys for the State an[i] the prosecution in ample time for them to be at the court. Solicitor Hugh M. Dorsey and his assistant were the only attorneys to put in an appearance.
It developed Thursday morning that there were two rather ruffled chiefs at the police department the previous afternoon when Jim Conley was sneaked from his cell in the station over to the Tower without their permission and without their knowledge.
Chief Lanford said: “This will never happen again.”
Chief Beavers would not talk of the incident, but is understood to have told the two detectives, Starnes and Campbell, that if the negro were taken from the police station again he (Beavers) proposed to be in on it.
There was a commotion at police headquarters Wednesday afternoon, when it was found that Conley had been spirited away to confront Newt Lee in the Tower. Chief Lanford knew nothing of the circumstance until he was informed by The Georgian. […]
STATE DEMANDS TRIAL OF FRANK ON MONDAY
Solicitor Declares He Is Ready and Will Oppose Any Move for Delay.
[…] Even then he insisted that Conley was in his cell.
Then Detectives Explain.
He went to Chief Beavers’ office to see if permission had been given there for Conley’s removal. Beavers said he did not know Conley was gone. Station Sergeant Holcomb was appealed to. He said he had not been notified that the prisoner was to be taken away. Turnkey Bayne, the last resort, was asked to explain the mysterious disappearance of Conley. He informed Chief Beavers that Detectives Starnes and Campbell had taken him about a half hour before.
The Chief, to satisfy himself that Conley was still in custody, made a personal visit to the jail.
When Starnes and Campbell later were in conference with the Chief they told him that they had said nothing about their intention because neither Chief Beavers nor Chief Lanford was in the station at the time.