Silence of Conley Put to End by Georgian

by Archivist on September 15, 2016

silence-of-conley

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

Atlanta Georgian

Saturday, May 31st, 1913

That The Georgian played a conspicuous part in obtaining the latest and most important confession from Jim Conley, the negro sweeper, in which he admitted his complicity in the crime, was the declaration of Chief of Detectives Newport Lanford late Friday afternoon.

Chief Lanford, in telling of the cross-examination of Conley on Thursday afternoon which resulted in his confession, said that Conley for a long time persisted in maintaining that he knew no more of the crime than what which he had related previously.

After several hours of futile questioning the chief showed him a copy of The Georgian quoting officials of the pencil factory to the effect that they believed Conley the guilty man. It was then that Conley made his startling affidavit fixing the deed upon Frank.

All Questions Failed.

“All lines of questions had been tried without avail,” said the detective chief, in relating the incident. “We had put Conley through a rigid third degree, and still he declared that he knew nothing more of the crime. It seemed that all the theories the detective force had so carefully and painstakingly built up were about to shattered.

“I was racking my brain for something else that might of aid in getting Conley to tell what we suspected he was withholding,” the chief continued. “I happened to remember that in last Wednesday’s Georgian I had seen interviews with various factory people who declared they thought Conley guilty of the murder, and that he was attempting to place the crime on an innocent man.

Georgian’s Story Broke Him.

“Stepping into an adjoining room, I secured a copy of The Georgian containing the interviews. Carrying it back into my office, where the small group of detectives had been for several hours interrogating the man without result, I handed the paper to Conley, remarking: “You can read this, Jim, and see what the people over at the factory think of you.”

“He took the paper and in silence the detectives watched him slowly and painfully decipher the statements of Holloway and others at the factory declaring that he, Conley, and not Frank, was the guilty man.

“Finally he laid the paper aside, and looked up with the most worried expression on his face he has displayed since his arrest. ‘Boss,’ he said, ‘dose people are short bound to hang me if I don’t tell the truf, and I ain’t goin’ to lie to you no longer,’ And the confession as contained in his latest affidavit followed.

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Atlanta Georgian, May 31st 1913, “Silence of Conley Put to End by Georgian,” Leo Frank case newspaper article series (Original PDF)

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