Vice List Wanted by Chief Beavers; Promises Probe

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

Atlanta Constitution

Wednesday, June 4th, 1913

Head of Police Department Invites Carl Hutcheson to Furnish Him With List of Houses.


Grand Jury Determined to Go to Bottom of Vice Allegations, But Will Not Touch Bribery Charge at Present.

Renewed activities on the part of the police “vice squad” have come with the taking up vice probe by the grand jury, which was started yesterday morning, when a number of principals in the Felder-Beavers controversy were summoned to tell what they know of alleged operation of vicious houses and hotels in Atlanta.

The grand jury will probe deeply into the charges hurled at the police by Attorneys Thomas B. Felder and Carl Hutcheson, following the dictagraphing of Colonel Felder and Mayor James G. Woodward by city detectives, and the charges that Colonel Felder had attempted to bribe G. C. Febuary, clerk to Police Chief James L. Beavers. This was made apparent Tuesday by orders issued for the summoning of additional witnesses for the hearing today.

It was charged by Attorneys Felder and Hutcheson that numbers of vicious houses were in operation, and that the police were either unaware of them and were incompetent, or that the police were in league with the proprietors.

Beavers Asks For List.

“If Mr. Hutcheson will give me a list of houses where he has proof that illegal practices are carried on, I will arrest the persons responsible,” declared Chief Beavers. “We have been making every effort to apprehend such places and would be glad to have evidence given by any one.”

At present there are twenty-two men on the “vice squad,” and they go on duty each evening with instructions to arrest proprietors or inmates of any houses or hotels where they can find proof of immoral practices. Already several arrests have been made in raids.

Gives List of Houses.

When summoned before the grand jury, Attorney Hutcheson produced a list of thirty houses and hotels, of which he has personal knowledge, according to his statement. Attorney Hutcheson remained before the body for nearly an hour and before leaving gave the foreman, L. H. Beck, a list of witnesses to be summoned to back up his allegations.

“I have certainly handed them the dope on this thing and now it’s up to the grand jury to act,” he smilingly remarked as he left the jury room.

Colonel Felder, Mayor James G. Woodward, Police Chief James L. Beavers and Charlie Jones were others who appeared in secret conference with the grand jury.

As announced by the foreman at the adjournment of the first day’s session, the grand jury has resolved itself into a committee of the whole to find out the truth of the charges hurled as a result of the Beavers-Felder feud. It is believed that the number of witnesses called for Wednesday’s session will make it necessary for the grand jury to continue for at least another day and probably longer before making a finding.

What Will Jury Do.

Whether it will then return indictments against proprietors of the various resorts or against any member of the “vice squad,” or will merely submit its report at the end of its term and allow the city and state authorities to take a hand, has not yet been indicated by its present movements.

Following the efforts of Foreman Beck and Solicitor Hugh Dorsey to keep the forthcoming probe a secret up to the day upon which it was undertaken, the same officials have attempted to keep everything about it under cover. Even the names of several important witnesses who have been summoned to appear today are keep secret and officials in the solicitor’s office refuse to admit that they have actually summoned witnesses for a continuation of the hearing.

That only the charges of open vice which were a part of the accusations hurled by Colonel Felder at the police after the dictagraph sensation will be undertaken at present was the statement made Tuesday afternoon by the foreman.

Colonel Felder was the first witness to be called at the morning session, and he came from the room a few minutes later. He refused to talk of his testimony except to declare that he had carried out what he had declared publicity he would do and that he had given the jury enough facts to return indictments.

Woodward is Questioned.

Mayor Woodward was questioned closely about what he knew of vice conditions here. He stated that he had told the grand jury that his knowledge was only hearsay but that it was his opinion that the city was full of vicious houses and hotels.

Charlie Jones, a saloon keeper, who has been open in his views against the closing up of the tenderloin district was also summoned before the body. He is said to have told the grand jury that he knew nothing of any vice conditions and got his release without further questioning.

Newport Lanford, chief of detectives and John Black, a city detective, had also been served with summons but were not called before the body. Mrs. Mima [sic] Formby, a woman who gave the detectives an affidavit that Leo M. Frank, indicted for the murder of Mary Phagan, had telephoned and asked to bring a girl to her house on the night of the murder was one of the those for whom the grand jury asked a subpoena. The woman was not reached by the bailiff and it is said that she is out of the city.

Only Vice Charges Probed.

Anticipating that the grand jury would take up the bribery and graft which resulted from the dictagraph being used upon Mayor Woodward and Colonel Felder, Chief Lanford submitted the names of several principals whom he wished summoned. They were G. C. Febuary, A. I [sic]. Colyar, Jr., George M. Gentry, J. M. Hewitt and Detective R. S. Ozburn.

It was made apparent that these men were not summoned and that the intention was not to take up this phase of the case but to stick to the vice probe.

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Atlanta Constitution, June 4th 1913, “Vice List Wanted by Chief Beavers; Promises Probe,” Leo Frank case newspaper article series (Original PDF)