Solicitor Dorsey Orders Body Exhumed in the Hope of Getting New Evidence

by Archivist on May 7, 2016

Solicitor Dorsey Orders Body Exhumed in the Hope of Getting New EvidenceAnother in our series of new transcriptions of contemporary articles on the Leo Frank case.

Atlanta Georgian

Wednesday, May 7th, 1913

Inquest, To Be Resumed Thursday, Will Bring Out Important Facts Not Yet Made Public---Medical Experts To Be Called by Coroner.

New mystery was added to the Mary Phagan case on Wednesday, when the authorities for some reason not yet disclosed, did not follow out the order given by Solicitor Dorsey for the exhumation of the remains.

It was said by Solicitor Dorsey that he had given this order in the hope that new clews might be discovered.

A difference of opinion as to the advisability of the exhumation evidently has arisen, but the officials concerned were reticent. Coroner Donehoo admitted that Dorsey’s order had been given, but said it had not been carried out. He would make no further statement.

The report published in an early edition of The Georgian that the body had been exhumed was made on statements by officials, and that it was for the purpose of making a microscopic examination of every wound on the body for finger prints and other clews.

It is undoubtedly the intention of the authorities to exhume the body again.

Dorsey Maintains Silence.

Very properly Solicitor Dorsey is not making public every move that the prosecution is engaged in, nor is he giving to the public such evidence as he is enabled to obtain.

It would seem probably that the exhumation will be made, if not on Wednesday, at least some other day soon; for the belief is growing that there still may be some clews that are worthy of further examination.

It was reported that the finger prints on the body were to be photographed and compared with the finger prints of persons under suspicion; which may, or may not have any basis in facts and might, or might not be of value. After the remains were discovered in the factory basement they were handled by several persons—embalmers and others—and whether there are any finger prints now on the body is problematic.

Chart May Be Made.

It is said, that a complete chart will be prepared by medical experts to be used at the trial, showing every wound and mark.

Notwithstanding these speculations as to the purpose of the exhumation, Solicitor Dorsey declared Wednesday forenoon that it was not for the purpose of obtaining a record of the fingerprints. One of the principal reasons for the action, he said, was to get a strand of the girl’s hair in order to compare it with the hair found on the lathing machine in the tipping department at the factory. It was at this point that the detectives discovered blood spots on the floor and other evidence of a struggle.

“I cannot talk in regard to the matter,” he said. “The body was exhumed, it is true, at my request. But to reveal further plans would be hurtful.”

Thinks She Didn’t Leave Factory.

The Solicitor is in entire accord with the theory that Mary Phagan never left the factory after she received her pay Saturday noon. He declared that if any search was being made for the man seen with a girl Saturday, April 26, by attaches of the Terminal Station, it was not being conducted under his direction.

The results of the chemical analysis in the laboratory of Dr. Harris in the State Capitol have not yet been made public. Dr. Harris would not admit Wednesday that traces of drugs had been found, bearing out the belief that the girl was drugged and rendered helpless before she was slain in the factory.

All of the remaining evidence in the case will be presented when the Coroner’s inquest resumes Thursday morning at 9:30 o’clock.

It is the purpose of Coroner Donehoo to limit testimony to the points that are regarded as essential, so that

DORSEY ORDERS BODY EXHUMED IN PHAGAN CASE

the hearing may be concluded by Thursday night.

Have Two Hundred Names.

Solicitor Dorsey Orders Body Exhumed in the HopeThe Coroner and the Solicitor General have the names of about 200 persons on whom they may call for testimony. These include girls and women employed at the pencil factory. It is unlikely, however, that more than a few of the girls will be placed on the witness stand, but will be held in readiness to testify as was the case last Monday afternoon when the roll call room was filled with witnesses.

So far as the line of testimony can be anticipated from the information given out by the authorities, the most important will come from the physicians and chemists who have been at work on the mystery under the direction of Coroner Donehoo and Solicitor Dorsey.

Dr. H. F. Harris, director of the State Board of Health, will submit a report on his chemical analysis of the contents of Mary Phagan’s stomach. Dr. Harris also made a careful examination of the wounds and bruises on the body and will report on this to the jury.

Dr. J. W. Hurt, county physician, made the first examination of the girl’s body after it was found in the basement of the factory. He also was present when it was exhumed from its little grave in the Marietta cemetery and another examination made at the order of Solicitor General Dorsey. He will present the results of his observations to the jury some time during the hearing Thursday.

Dr. Smith to Be Quizzed.

Dr. Claude A. Smith, City Bacteriologist, has made a chemical examination of the bloodstains on a shirt found at Newt Lee’s home and of the pieces of wood chipped from the factory floor where the stains of blood were discovered, and will be questioned by Coroner Donehoo.

The recalling of Newt Lee also is regarded as an indication that the authorities expect the night watchman to tell something which he forgot or concealed in his previous examination.

The factory girls will tell of their acquaintance with Mary Phagan, of her companions and habits and of the conditions under which they have to work at the factory, so far as they have any relation to the mystery.

Bowen Released in Houston.

Accompanying mystifying new features of the hunt for the slayer was the news that Paul P. Bowen, held in Houston for the Atlanta authorities, had been released and relieved of all suspicion.

Bowen was employed with the Morrow Transfer Company in Atlanta as stenographer and shipping clerk, and later with the Southern Railway. He had many friends here and with them a good reputation.

His father and other relatives live in Newman, Ga., and are among the best people of that part of the State. Chief of Police Davison, of Houston, was angered that his detective chief should have exceeded his authority in arresting Bowen, and promptly discharged him from authority.

By letters Bowen wrote from Texas and statements of friends it was proved conclusively that he could not have been connected with the Atlanta mystery and he was accordingly freed.

* * *

Atlanta Georgian, May 7th 1913, "Solicitor Dorsey Orders Body Exhumed in the Hope of Getting New Evidence," Leo Frank case newspaper article series (Original PDF)

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