Grand Jury Won’t Hear Leo Frank or Lee

by Archivist on May 22, 2016

Grand Jury Won't Hear

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

Atlanta Georgian

Thursday, May 22nd, 1913

Understood That Cases Will Be Brought Separately, With One Accused as Accomplice.

Solicitor General Hugh M. Dorsey announced Thursday afternoon that he was prepared to go before the Grand Jury Friday morning with his strongest evidence in the case of Leo M. Frank and Newt Lee, held in connection with the murder of Mary Phagan.

Although Mr. Dorsey would not discuss the form in which the cases would be presented, it was reliably stated they would be heard separately and the charge against one would be that he was an accessory to the fact.

Neither of the defendants will go before the jury. Mr. Dorsey said that in the event any move was made to introduce evidence for the defense he was prepared to block it. He said he had looked up Supreme Court decisions on this question, because when the Grand Jury was asked to indict Dr. W. H. Gillem for beating W. H. Johnson the jury in his absence had allowed Dr. Gillem to come before it, which, he said, was contrary to all law.

Twelve to Govern Action.

The opinion of 12 of the 21 jurymen will govern the action of the body. There can be no minority, said the Solicitor. If 12 of the men indict or decline to indict, the other jurors have to sign the “true” or “no bill” with the 12. Eighteen of the 21 constitute a quorum.

The Solicitor said it would be impossible to present all the evidence in one day, and that it might be necessary to carry the investigation over into the next week. He said, however, that it was not improbable the strongest evidence he had would be presented the first day, and if the jury considered it sufficiently strong, it could return an indictment without hearing the other evidence.

Gets Finger Print Evidence.

He said for the last few days his case had been complete, with the exception of preparing the testimony accumulated and some later important facts brought out by finger-print and handwriting experts. Several witnesses, whose identity has been carefully guarded, would give evidence that no one outside of his office was aware of, said the Solicitor.

C. W. Tobie, of the Burns Agency, stated Thursday afternoon that he was making the most satisfactory progress. He said it was only a question of a few more days when he would have the case in a definite, tangible shape.

The Solicitor would not discuss the findings of P. A. Flak, the finger-print expert from New York, other than to say that nothing had developed from it that would make him contemplate a change in his plan to present the cases to the Grand Jury Friday.

[It was said Thursday that C. W. Tobie, chief criminal investigator for the Burns detective agency, may leave Atlanta on the trail of a new and important witness, whose identity he is carefully guarding.

The man is said to have been with the girl before she went to the pencil factory Memorial Day and to have left the city that day. The detective intimated that the man had not revealed himself because he did not care to be a witness.

It was reported Thursday that P. A. Flak, noted finger-print expert working for Solicitor Dorsey in the Phagan investigation, had found evidence of the greatest importance that would be submitted to the Grand Jury when it takes up the case Friday.

With the Solicitor and city detectives, the expert spent several hours Wednesday night minutely examining the clothing worn by the slain girl, the pad and pencil found in the basement and other articles that have been unearthed since the Solicitor took over the case. Several finger prints that had escaped observation were clearly brought out by the use of chemicals, it was said. — An excerpt from same article printed in the “Evening Edition,” but not in the “Final” — Ed.]

Burns Forces Augmented.

The Burns forces have been augmented by a finger-print and handwriting expert and another detective. The three were closeted with the negro, Newt Lee, for more than an hour Wednesday. Neither would discuss the interview.

L. J. Fletcher, Bertillon expert at the Federal prison, was drawn into the case by Solicitor Dorsey Wednesday.

Mr. Fletcher is a handwriting expert as well. He has been connected with the Government for several years and has made an intimate study of criminology. He worked with Mr. Dorsey’s expert, Flak, when he examined articles for finger prints at the Solicitor’s office Wednesday night.

Department and Pinkerton detectives are conducting a relentless search for the missing mesh bag Mary Phagan carried to the factory with her when she received her pay. If it is found they expect it to prove one of the most important bits of evidence for the State.

City detectives have been assigned the task of locating the young woman

100 Witnesses in Phagan Case Subpoenaed

Grand Jury to Get Much Fingerprint Evidence When Slaying Is Taken Up Friday.

Continued From Page 1.

referred to in Mrs. A. A. Smith’s letter to The Georgian. Mrs. Smith said she heard a young woman on Whitehall Street say she was with Mary Phagan at 4 o’clock Memorial Day afternoon.

Many Subpenas [sic] Served.

Deputies at the Solicitor’s office began Thursday morning serving the large batch of subpenas for witnesses in the Phagan case to appear before the Grand Jury Friday morning at 10 o’clock. More than 100 were issued.

The Solicitor would not say whether he would introduce all of them, but said he would have them in readiness. Several persons whose names have not appeared in connection with the case have been asked to testify.

It became known also that expert testimony on handwriting and finger prints would play an important part in the hearing by the Grand Jury. No less than three famous finger-print and handwriting experts have been called into the case by Mr. Dorsey, and the arrival on the scene Wednesday of the best finger-print expert with the Burns agency established beyond any doubt that “finger prints” and “handwriting” would be strong cards to be played by the State.

Tobie said Wednesday his actions have been misunderstood, and that criticism of his failure to work with the Atlanta detectives was due to a misapprehension. He explained his position in the following statement to The Georgian:

“When I came here, I started to work independently, without asking any information from Atlanta detectives. I have been criticised [sic], but I think the criticism was unjust. It was not egotism, but delicacy, that kept me from going to them.

“They had been working on the case over three weeks. Then I came. Now, if I had gone to them and said, ‘Gentleman, please give me all the information you got in your three weeks’ work,’ don’t you think that would require an unusual amount of nerve?”

Denies He Made Criticism.

“If I were working on a case, and after three weeks a detective from another place should come to me and ask for all my information, I would think he had lots of nerve. It was not egotism on my part—it simply required more nerve than I had.

“I also have been criticised for criticising [sic] the other men on the case. I have been reported as criticising them for not looking into the foot prints and finger prints immediately after the murder. But I did not make that criticism. I said they had overlooked two good clews if they had passed up the finger prints and thumb prints, but I did not say they had passed them up. I still say two good clews were overlooked, providing the thumb prints and finger prints were not traced, but, mind you, I do not say they were not taken up. The fact is, I don’t know to-day whether they were or not.”

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Atlanta Georgian, May 22nd 1913, “Grand Jury Won’t Hear Leo Frank or Lee,” Leo Frank case newspaper article series (Original PDF)

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