Witness Found Who Saw Mary Phagan on Way to Factory

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

Atlanta Journal
August 10th, 1913

George T. Kendley, Street Car Conductor, Declares He Saw Little Girl About Noon on April 26 as She Stepped From Curb on Forsyth Street Bridge to Cross Alabama Street, Where His Car Was Stopped


Attorneys Think There Is Little Chance of the Trial Ending This Week—Much Testimony Is Expected in Rebuttal and All Indications Saturday Night Were Trial Would Run Into Its Fourth Week

The trial of Leo M. Frank for the murder of Mary Phagan will last from six days to two weeks longer, according to the varying estimates of the attorneys connected with the case.

It is conceded that it will take the defense at least four days this week to complete the presentation of its case. Then will come the introduction of testimony in rebuttal and finally the arguments of the attorneys. It will take several days to get in the rebuttal testimony, and the arguments will last a day, and possibly two days before the case finally goes to the twelve men who will decide Frank’s fate.

The state’s attorneys and counsel for the defense employed a portion of their time on Saturday afternoon, after the adjournment of the court, in getting ready to “go after” witnesses on the opposing side.

Herbert Schiff, one of the most important of the witnesses for the defense, was on the stand when court adjourned Saturday at 12:30 o’clock. When his cross-examination is completed by Solicitor Hugh M. Dorsey, Monday, the defense will commence, it is said, introducing witnesses, who will attack the character of C. B. Dalton, who gave damaging testimony by upholding the part of Jim Conley’s story dealing with his charge that he watched for Frank, while the latter entertained girls in his office.


The defense scored, when W. M. Matthews, street car motorman, testified that Mary Phagan left his car about 12:12 and went up Hunter street, toward Forsyth street. Now the state is priming itself to “go after” Matthews.

Matthews is said by city detectives to be the motorman who, a year ago, killed a young boy named Lyle by shooting him with a pistol. The state, it is said, will try to bring this out.

George T. Kendley, a street car conductor of 635 Washington street, will be subpoenaed to testify that he saw Mary Phagan about noon on April 26 as she went along Forsyth street from Marietta to the National Pencil factory, where she met her death.

Kendley talked to a Journal reporter Saturday night. He has known J. W. Coleman, Mary’s stepfather, for years. The Colemans formerly lived in East Point and for some time he was a conductor on that line. He was working the Hapeville run on April 26, he says, and remembers distinctly seeing Mary Phagan. He knew her well, he declares. He says that his car was stopped at Alabama street, and he was standing on the platform when he saw the little girl walking along the west side of Forsyth street. He remembers, he says, seeing her step from the curb at Alabama street and cross that thoroughfare. She was walking hurriedly, he says, and he noticed that she carried a parasol, and that she had on a light dress and a straw hat. Kendley says that he thinks she was carrying a small package.

Kendley’s story does not coincide fully with the theory of the state, for he says that it was a minute or two before 12 o’clock when he saw her. He remembers the time, he says, because his car was due at Forsyth and Alabama at noon and was a little ahead of time.

Kendley is absolutely certain, however, that it was Mary Phagan that he saw, and for this reason will undoubtedly prove a valuable witness to the state, corroborating George Epps to the extent that the little girl went along Forsyth street instead of Hunter, as claimed by W. M. Matthews.


It is known that the solicitor is preparing to go after Daisy Hopkins with gloves off, when the ttime for the rebuttal testimony comes. He has the record of her accusation to the city court, where her bond was forfeited and will summon several witnesses in an effort to impeach her.

Not content with its work in preparing for attacks on the witnesses, who have already testified, the state is priming itself for a probable defense witness, W. H. Mincey.

The solicitor general has had his detectives on the trail of Mincey for several weeks, and it is said that many witnesses will be introduced in an effort to impeach him. Mincey maintains that Jim Conley, on the day of the tragedy, confessed to him that he killed a girl that morning. Mincey is expected to be one of the last witnesses to go on the stand.

Generally speaking the fight in this case is so bitter that no witness is safe. If an open effort is not made to impeach him, at least he is subjected to a terrific gruelling by the counsel of the opposing side.

Following its work on Dalton’s character Monday, the defense is expected to continue to strengthened by private detectives and factory employees the theory that Mary Phagan was murdered on the first floor of the pencil factory, and her body hurled down the chute in the Clark WoodenWare company’s portion of the building.

The defense has centered its fire up to the present largely on Jim Conley’s story of alleged occurrences before the day of the murder, but after it finishes with Dalton, strenuous efforts will be made to show that there is at least just as much likelihood that the crime occurred on the first as on the second floor.


While there has been no authoritative announcement from either Attorney Luther Z. Rosser or Attorney Reuben R. Arnold, there is said to be little doubt now that the defense will put Frank’s character in issue.

This will naturally prolong the trial as a large number of prominent citizens have been subpoenaed to testify to the good character of the defendant, and each one will be on the stand some time.

If Frank’s character is put in issue it will also increase length of time necessary for the hearing of testimony of witnesses to rebuttal. It is know that the solicitor, expecting the defendant’s character to be put in issue, has had his detectives making exhaustive investigations, and they have found a number of witnesses whom they promise to use.

It is not improbable that the trial will run through the fourth week, making it the longest criminal trial in the history of the state.

Judge L. S. Roan, who is presiding, has been on the bench a number of years and has heard dozens of famous criminal trials, but never before did he preside at a trial that lasted more than a week.

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Atlanta Journal, August 10th 1913, “Witness Found Who Saw Mary Phagan on Way to Factory,” Leo Frank case newspaper article series (Original PDF)