Negro Conley Now Says He Helped to Carry Away Body

by Archivist on September 14, 2016

negro-conley

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

Atlanta Georgian

Friday, May 30th, 1913

Chief of Detectives Lanford admitted Friday morning that Jim Conley, under the rack of the third degree, had made the astounding confession that he had assisted Leo M. Frank in disposing of the body of the murdered Mary Phagan. His new statement is believed to contain even more startling admissions than have not yet been made public.

If the negro sweeper is to be believed after his long series of deceits and lies, this forms the most damaging evidence that has been brought against Frank since suspicion was first pointed in his direction a month ago.

All hinges on the negro’s credibility. Conley, if his truthfulness can be established in this instance, after he has lied persistently for weeks, seems to be the only person in the world who may be able to connect Frank directly with the crime.

To Ask Indictment.

It became so assured by Friday morning that Chief Beavers was concealing circumstances of which the public was already aware that he admitted that the negro had made statements of this nature, although he had not confessed to the crime itself.

He added that he would apply for a writ of ne exeat so that Conley might be transferred to the county jail to be held as a witness.

Solicitor General Hugh M. Drosey announced that if Conley persisted in this story he would take steps to have him indicted as an accessory after the fact and bring him to trial on this charge.

It was announced at police headquarters that the negro would be given the most severe examination he has yet had and would be confronted with the charge that he was guilty of murder.

Aided Frank, He Says.

Conley said that Frank led him to where the girl’s body lay and directed him to help in carrying the body to the basement. The negro said that he did as he was commanded without asking any questions and that he was badly frightened by the grewsome task. He said that Frank made no explanation of his strange actions.

It is understood that Conley declared the body was hidden underneath the steps on the second floor before it was dragged to the basement. The body is supposed to have been lying there when the two women came into Frank’s office shortly after 1 o’clock, at the time Conley says he das [sic] shut up in a closet opening off the office.

According to Conley’s story, Frank released him front the closet as soon as the women were gone. Conley told the detectives some of the conversation that is said to have taken place between the women and Frank.

“Was it pretty warm in there?” Conley said that Frank asked him when the women had gone.

“Yes, boss, I couldn’t have stayed in there much longer,” Conley answered, he said. …

[The rest of this article has already been published on the website within another article, here. – Ed.]

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Atlanta Georgian, May 30th 1913, “Negro Conley Now Says He Helped to Carry Away Body,” Leo Frank case newspaper article series (Original PDF)

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