Leo Frank’s Cook Put Under Arrest

by Archivist on October 20, 2016

leo-franks-cook

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

Atlanta Constitution

Tuesday, June 3rd, 1913

Reported That She Is Being Held as Witness—Defense of Prisoner in the Tower Outlined.

Another arrest was made yesterday in the Phagan mystery. Minola McKnight, cook and servant in the Leo Frank household, was sent to police headquarters by Detectives Starnes and Campbell when she hysterically created a scene at Pryor and Mitchell streets, sobbing and moaning that “they were going to hang her for something she knew nothing about.”

She is being held under a charge of suspicion. Chief Lanford said last night, however, that she will likely be used as a witness against her suspected employer. She has not been questioned yet by the police or detectives, but will be put through a cross-examination some time soon.

Although officials at headquarters will not talk regarding the arrest of the McKnight woman, the general impression prevails that she is being held as a material witness and that she was taken into custody because of discrepancies rumored to have been found in her statement to Solicitor Dorsey.

It is reported that she has told a number of conflicting stories, and for this reason the solicitor ordered her confinement until time of trial. The solicitor will have nothing to say on the subject.

Leo Frank’s Defense.

[…] sources Monday that Frank’s defense.

It was learned from responsible will be in the production of an alibi. Five witnesses, it is said, are prepared to testify that the suspect was at home by 1:30 o’clock on the day of the tragedy. They are Mrs. Frank, Miss Corinthia Hall, his mother-in-law, Mrs. Emil Selig, his father-in-law, Emil Selig and the negress who was arrested Monday.

Testimony before the coroner’s inquest indicated strongly that Frank reached his home by 1:20 o’clock, and that he did not leave until 1:50. It was during this time that Conley, the sweeper, accuses him of having written the murder notes found beside Mary Phagan’s body. Another contention, it is erported [sic], to be made by the defense in that the murder was committed on the first floor instead of the second, and that Conley is the guilty man.

Luther Z. Rosser, Frank’s counsel, maintains his usual silence. He will give reporters no inkling of his line of defense, but neither denies nor affirms the rumor of an alibi. The defense, it is reported, will claim that Conley, made passionately insane by liquor, was in hiding on the first floor when Mary Phagan entered at noon, and that she was attacked by him as she left Frank in the office and came downstairs on her way to the street.

Many bits of evidence, it is said, will be produced to corroborate this contention. One of which is the fact, or alleged fact, that the elevator was not run on the tragic day—another, that there were no blood spots in the metal room alleyway in which Conley vows he discovered the body. Also, it will be contended that there were no gunny sacks on the second floor during Saturday with which Conley could have attempted to pack the body as he has described in his confession.

Use Confessions Against Him.

Conley’s previous confessions will also be used against him. It will be shown how he repeatedly lied, finally to make the startling confession of Thursday night. Explanation of the blood spots on the second floor will be made, it is rumored, by testimony showing that frequently employees cut their hands and fingers, allowing the blood to drip to the floor, at the identical spots where the stains were discovered.

Conley remains at police headquarters. He has expressed a strong desire to face Frank with the confession. Chief Beavers Monday afternoon tried to communicate with Attorney Rosser with a view of getting the counsel’s permission to confront his client with the negro and his story. Rosser was at the court house at the time and could not be reached.

The McKnight woman, who is now held at headquarters, is reported to have given important information to Solicitor Dorsey Monday morning. She was arrested just as she left the solicitor’s office, where she has been subjected to a cross-examination. Dorsey will not divulge the nature of her testimony, but intimates that it is valuable.

While she was being questioned, the negress fell into hysterics, requiring several minutes to recover composure. She remained in the solicitor’s presence for an hour or more, but will be questioned again today, this time by the police authorities and detectives. She is a young woman, apparently 20, and lives on Pulliam street.

* * *

Atlanta Constitution, June 3rd 1913, “Leo Frank’s Cook Put Under Arrest,” Leo Frank case newspaper article series (Original PDF)

Previous post:

Next post: