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Col. Felder Returns From Trip to Ohio

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

The Atlanta Constitution

Sunday, June 22, 1913

Journey Had No Relation to the Phagan Mystery or Dictagraph Incident, He Says.

Colonel T. B. Felder returned Saturday from a six-day trip to Cincinnati. Much speculation was created by his departure for Ohio last Sunday and it was hinted that he had made the journey in interest of his recent connection with the famous dictagraph plot.

It was also reported that he had gone [on] behalf of the Mary Phagan investigation, in which he has been an active figure. His departure within less than twenty-four hours after Solicitor General Hugh Dorsey had left the city gave rise to this suspicion.

He declared to a Constitution reporter last night, however, that the Cincinnati trip had been made solely on personal business and that it had no connection at all with either the Phagan mystery or the dictagraph episode.

Colonel Felder stated that he had received no information from the grand jury regarding his demand that Gentry’s charges be investigated and that he did not know when that body would take up the proposed probe.

A. S. Colyar, a leading actor in the dictagraph case and instigator of the alleged trap, late in the afternoon visited Chief Lanford for a long conference and also had a few words with Chief Beavers.

Colyar says that he will remain in Atlanta for some time.

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The Atlanta Constitution, June 22nd 1913, “Col. Felder Returns From Trip to Ohio,” Leo Frank case newspaper article series (Original PDF)

Leo Frank Answers List of Questions Bearing on Points Made Against Him

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

The Atlanta Constitution

Monday, March 9, 1914

Stated That He Was Willing to Reply to Any Questions That Might Be in the Mind of the Public, and Asked to Answer Any Such That Might Be Propounded to Him.


Asserts That Very Fact That He Admitted He Had Seen Mary Phagan on the Day of the Murder, Thus Placing Himself Under Suspicion, Was Proof in Itself That He Was Innocent of Crime.

Probably the most interesting statement yet issued by Leo M. Frank in connection with the murder for which he has been sentenced to hang, is one that he has furnished to The Constitution in the form of a series of answers to questions which were propounded to him bearing on the case.

These questions were prepared by a representative of The Constitution who visited Frank at the Tower last week.

“Ask me any questions you wish,” Frank told the reporter.

In accordance with that, the reporter wrote out a list of questions which, he asserted, comprised the most salient points the prosecution had brought out against him, and to each of these Frank has given an answer.

Here Are Questions.


Lanford and Felder Indicted for Libel

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

The Atlanta Constitution

Saturday, June 28, 1913

Indictments Grew Out of the Dictagraph Episode and the Letters Which Followed.

Formal investigation into the invectives hurled between Colonel Thomas B. Felder and Detective Chief Newport Lanford resulted yesterday in indictments of criminal libel being returned by the grand jury against each of them for their cards and interviews in the daily papers in which they attacked each other’s character, after the dictagraph row.

Colonel Felder is held under two indictments on a bond of $500, while Chief Lanford has one indictment against him, and is free on the same bond.

The offenses charged against each are misdemeanors, and the punishment, in case of conviction, is six months in the county jail, twelve months in the penitentiary or a fine of not more than $1,000. It is in the discretion of the judge to impose any or all of these penalties after conviction.

In order to come clear at the trial it will be necessary for the man indicted for criminal libel to prove that the charges he made were true, and it is expected that the cases will develop into the most bitterly fought in the history of the Fulton courts.

Felder Will Not Talk.


Reported Hoke Smith May Aid Leo Frank

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

The Atlanta Constitution

Wednesday, June 25, 1913

Rumor He Will Appear for Defense Emphatically Denied, However, by Senator.

By John Corrigan, Jr.

Washington, June 24.—Reports that Senator Hoke Smith will be associated with Luther Rosser and other lawyers for the defense in the trial of Leo M. Frank for the murder of Mary Phagan were current here today.

These reports followed the visit to Washington on last Saturday of Luther Rosser, leading counsel for Frank and Ike Haas, president of the National Pencil company, which employed Frank as superintendent of the factory.

Investigate Early Life.

Mr. Rosser and Mr. Haas were on their way to Brooklyn to consult with the parents of Frank and endeavor to learn everything possible of his early life and associates. They called at the capitol to see Senator Hoke Smith, and according to reports later, went to his house and induced him to go to New York with them to talk over the matter further.

It is understood they had great difficulty in inducing Senator Smith even to consider the matter. He stated that his work here would be so engrossing for the next few months he could not think of undertaking any legal employment. It is said a big amount was offered him if he would aid the defense.

When seen today and asked about the matter, Senator Smith made an emphatic denial that he would be associated with Frank’s counsel, or even that he had been asked to do so.

Senator Denies Report.

“The report is absolutely unfounded,” he said. “I have all I can do here for the next few months with the tariff and currency questions.”

“Did you see Mr. Rosser and Mr. Haas when they were here?” he was asked.

“I heard they were in the senate gallery one day last week, and they sent in cards to me, but I missed them.”

“Did you accompany them to New York?”

“I did not.”

“Will you be connected with the case?”

“No; most certainly not. I am too busy here to undertake any outside work.”

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The Atlanta Constitution, June 25th 1913, “Reported Hoke Smith May Aid Leo Frank,” Leo Frank case newspaper article series (Original PDF)

Trial of Leo Frank Postponed by Judge

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

The Atlanta Constitution

Wednesday, June 25, 1913

Date of Trial Changed From June 30 Until July 28 at Plea of Attorneys for Defense.

The first appearance in open court of the indictment against Leo M. Frank for the murder of Mary Phagan came yesterday afternoon when Judge L. S. Roan, presiding over the criminal division of superior court, summoned attorneys for both sides, and after a hearing changed the date of trial from June 30, as set by Solicitor Hugh M. Dorsey, to July 28.

This and the legal move by the defense in serving upon Solicitor Dorsey, Police Chief James L. Beavers, Detective Chief Newport Lanford and other detectives and officials for the state, with formal subpoenas duces tecum, commanding them to bring to court all affidavits they may have which bear upon the state’s case against Frank, were the only changes in the present situation.

Judge Roan also decided that the trial of Frank would be held not in the regular room in which he holds his division of court, but in one of the rooms in which the civil division of the superior court sits.

Where Trial Will be Held.

This was done, the judge explained, because the ceiling is very low in the courtroom in the Thrower building, where his court regularly sits, and the room is ventilated by windows only on one side. The trial will be held, according to present plans, in one of the courtrooms in the old city hall, corner South Pryor and East Hunter streets, where the ceilings are higher and windows can be thrown open on both sides of the room to allow ventilation. (more…)

Frank’s Trial Set For Next Monday

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

The Atlanta Constitution

Tuesday, June 24, 1913

Indications Are Case Will Begin on That Day—Jury Panel Not Yet Drawn by Judge Roan.

The trial of Leo M Frank, superintendent of the National Pencil Factory, now under indictment for the murder of Mary Phagan on April 26 in the factory, has been definitely set for next Monday. This was the announcement of Solicitor General Hugh M. Dorsey last night after he had been working upon the court calendar for the coming week.

Solicitor Dorsey announced Sunday upon his arrival from New York city where he had spent the past two weeks that he intended to set the case for that date unless something unforeseen should come up. While he did not complete his calendar on Monday, he reached the Frank case and placed it definitely upon the docket.

The defense has indicated that it is ready to go [to] trial and it appears now that the case will actually be taken up on that day. Should it be postponed, it will be after a showing has been made in open court and a postponement granted by Judge L. S. Roan presiding in the criminal division of the superior court where Frank’s fate will be decided.

Panel Not Yet Drawn

The panel of venireman from which the jury to try Frank will be selected is expected to be drawn some time today or Wednesday. This is the duty of Judge Roan. It was rumored that the panel would be drawn from the jury list Monday afternoon, but this was not done. The list of prospective jurymen will not be made public after the drawing and only after their names are called when the trial has started and the task of picking the jury is begun will it be officially known who are the men who compose it.

It is expected that a special venire will be drawn containing the names of about 150 citizens as it is expected that many names will be stricken off the list before lawyers for the state and the defense are finally satisfied. (more…)

Leo M. Frank’s Trial June 30, Says Dorsey

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

The Atlanta Constitution

Monday, June 23, 1913

Solicitor General Hears Report That John Moore Will Assist in the Defense.

“Unless something now turns up of which I have no knowledge at present, I will set Leo Frank’s trial for June 30,” said Solicitor General Hugh M. Dorsey yesterday on his return from a week’s stay in New York city.

While the solicitor’s announcement has set at rest the rumors that the state would wait and set the trial for July 14 or 28, it does not necessarily mean that the trial will actually be held on that date, as the defense may desire to postpone it and make a showing to the court that would alow [sic] such a postponement. It means at least that the trial will come off at an early date.

“I have talked with Colonel Stephens,” added the solicitor, referring to E. A. Stephens, his assistant, “and there is apparently nothing new in the case, and from all that I know the state is ready to go to trial.

Has Moore Entered Case?

“I see that Reuben Arnold and John Moore have entered the case for the defense since I left,” said the solicitor. (more…)

Leading Law Firms Have Joined Forces

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

The Atlanta Constitution

Sunday, June 22, 1913

Of especial [sic] interest in legal circles is the announcement that two of the leading law firms of Atlanta have joined forces, under the firm name of Rosser, Brandon, Slaton & Phillips. They will begin operation with offices on the west end of the seventh floor of the Grant building on July 1.

Associated with the firm will be Luther Z. Rosser, Morris Brandon, John M. Slaton, Benjamin Z. Phillips, J. H. Porter, I. S. Hopkins, L. Z. Rosser Jr., V. B. Moore, J. J. Ragan, and James J. Slaton.

Governor elect Slaton has been in the practice of law for twenty-six years and with his partner Mr. Phillips has a clientele which he desires preserved. During nine teen years the firms has been known as Slaton & Phillips.

Mr. Slaton will have no connection with the firm made by the combination of his firm and that of Rosser & Brandon and will in nowise be connected with the practice of law nor will he have any participation in the earnings of the firms during his term of office.

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The Atlanta Constitution, June 22nd 1913, “Leading Law Firms Have Joined Forces,” Leo Frank case newspaper article series (Original PDF)

Frank Not Guilty of Phagan Murder Declares Arnold

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

The Atlanta Constitution

Sunday, June 22, 1913

Prominent Atlanta Lawyer Engaged to Aid in Defense of Pencil Factory Superintendent.


Formby and Conley Statements Should Not Be Given Credence So Far as They Tend to Incriminate Frank, He Says.

Reuben R. Arnold, perhaps the best-known attorney in Georgia, has been engaged to aid the defense of Leo M. Frank, the suspected pencil factory superintendent, in the Mary Phagan mystery. This announcement was made from his office yesterday afternoon.

In a statement that was furnished [to] each of the newspapers, Mr. Arnold attacks the detectives for their continued efforts to lay the Phagan murder at his client’s door. He hoots at the credence which he says has been placed in Conley’s story and in the sensational affidavit sworn by Mima [sic] Formby.

Asserting his anticipation of clarifying the situation in due time, Mr. Arnold says that in the evidence the prosecution holds against Frank there is no room whatever in which to believe him guilty, and that no white man committed the crime.

Injustice, Says Arnold.

He deplores alleged injustice done the suspected superintendent by reports circulated to the effect that Frank’s friends had persuaded the Formby woman to leave town and by many other false rumors deliberately set before the public, he declares.

His statement follows:

“It is true that I have accepted employment to assist in the defense of Mr. Leo M. Frank, but I wish to state that before I agreed to take the case, I made it a condition that I should have time to study critically all the evidence delivered at the coroner’s inquest and all the affidavits that have reached the public through the newspapers, so I could form an opinion for myself as to Frank’s innocence or guilt. I would not defend any man if guilty of such a murder as the one in this case.

“After studying the evidence as critically as I can, I am satisfied that I hazard not a thing in saying that there is no room to believe Mr. Frank guilty of this horrible murder. I do not believe that any white man committed the crime. (more…)

Postponement Likely In Leo Frank’s Trial

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

The Atlanta Constitution

Saturday, June 21, 1913

Doubt is expressed around the Fulton superior court that Leo M. Frank, superintendent of the National Pencil factory, now under indictment for the murder of Mary Phagan, an employee, on the afternoon or night of April 26, will go to trial during June.

This date was the one upon which the solicitor had suggested that the trial might be held, but it is believed that if the state should prove to be ready at that time, that the defense would move to postpone the trial, pending further investigation and preparation on their part.

Should the trial start on June 30, it would be less than two months since the commission of the crime with which Frank is charged and it is unusual in Georgia for a man to go to trial for his life within such a short time after the crime has been committed.

Solicitor Hugh M. Dorsey, who has spent the past week in New York, presumably on a recreation trip, is expected to return by Sunday or Monday, and following his arrival preparations will probably start for the trial, provided he intends to call it on that date.

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The Atlanta Constitution, June 21st 1913, “Postponement Likely In Leo Frank’s Trial,” Leo Frank case newspaper article series (Original PDF)

Formby Woman May Not Be A Witness

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

The Atlanta Constitution

Friday, June 20, 1913

State Declares Its Case Against Frank Is Now Complete Dorsey Still Absent

Because of the inconsistency of her statement with the state’s outline of prosecution, Chief Lanford intimates that Mima Formby [sic], the roominghouse keeper of 400 Piedmont avenue, will not be called to the stand in Leo Frank’s trial. He does not state this positively, however, but it is the general opinion that such will be the prosecution’s action.

Mrs. Formby has stated to a Constitution reporter that she is ready to testify against the factory superintendent and that she will remain in Atlanta until time of trial. It is said that a number of occupants of her Piedmont avenue home who were in on the night she alleges Frank telephoned her several times to obtain a room to which he could bring a girl have testified that no such telephone calls came and that the phone did not ring more than once or twice during the entire evening.

Frank Hooper, the well known attorney, who is to be associated with Solicitor Hugh M. Dorsey in the prosecution, has returned from his recent trip to Cincinnati. Although much speculation was created over his journey in view of the fact that Col. T.B. Felder, who has been an active figure in the Phagan investigation, was in Cincinnati at the same time on a trip, the nature of which he declined to disclose.

Also, importance was attached to the fact that the solicitor general was out of the city at the same time. Each of the trio, however, declared that their visits out of the city had nothing whatever to do with the Phagan case. None but the solicitor, though, would tell the mission of his trip. He went on a vacation to Atlantic City, he told reporters.

“The state’s case is regarded as complete,” Mr. Hooper said Thursday, shortly following his return to town. “There have been no new developments. We are waiting now for time of trial.”

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The Atlanta Constitution, June 20th 1913, “Formby Woman May Not Be A Witness,” Leo Frank case newspaper article series (Original PDF)

Reuben Arnold May Aid Frank’s Defense In Big Murder Trial

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

The Atlanta Constitution

Thursday, June 19, 1913

When questioned last night as to the truth of the rumor that he will be associated with the defense of Leo M. Frank, indicted for the Mary Phagan murder, Reuben R. Arnold, one of Georgia’s most prominent attorneys, refused to either affirm or deny the rumor.

“I am not associated with the defense yet,” Mr. Arnold said. “I cannot make any statement at the present time in regard to this matter.”

When questioned closely as to whether he would be engaged by the defense later on, Mr. Arnold made the same statement. Luther Z. Rosser, Frank’s attorney, would make no statement, one way or the other, as to whether Mr. Arnold would be associated with him.

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The Atlanta Constitution, June 19th 1913, “Reuben Arnold May Aid Frank’s Defense In Big Murder Trial,” Leo Frank case newspaper article series (Original PDF)

Mrs. Formby Here for Phagan Trial

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

The Atlanta Constitution

Thursday, June 19, 1913

Woman Declares She Will Appear in Court and Will Corroborate Sensational Affidavit to Police.

Mima [sic] Formby, the rooming housekeeper of 400 Piedmont avenue, who made the affidavit declaring that Leo Frank had telephoned her on the night of Mary Phagan’s murder in an endeavor to rent a room to which he could bring a girl, has returned to Atlanta after a disappearance of several weeks.

To a reporter for The Constitution she stated yesterday afternoon that she intended remaining in the city until time of the Phagan trial and that she would appear before the court and deliver testimony corroborating the sensational affidavit to which she has attested.

Why She Left City.

Mrs. Formby’s recent disappearance created considerable mystery. The police of several different cities were notified to be on the lookout for her, and while the police and detective bureau of Atlanta scoured the city, widespread efforts were made to locate her by the solicitor general’s office.

She declares that she was persuaded by no one to leave town, and that her departure was of her own accord. She had gone away, she said, to avoid notoriety which was incurred by her affidavit, and to remain out of the city until the sensation subsided. She visited Chattanooga, Bristol and Sulphur Springs, Tenn., while on the trip, she said.

Chief Lanford said Wednesday afternoon that he expected the woman’s return and had felt no fears of her absence at time of trial.

Says Frank Wanted Room.

Mrs. Formby’s affidavit was one of the most sensational obtained by the detectives, excepting, of course, the James Conley statement. She swore that on the night of April 26 Leo Frank had telephoned her frequently between the hours of 6:30 and 10 o’clock in an effort to get a room to which he could bring a girl.

She testified that he even declared it was a matter of life and death, and that he even threatened her life when she refused to rent him an apartment. He telephoned her six times, she stated, and finally she was rid of him only after she had told him she was leaving her home on an automobile ride.

Mrs. Formby has returned to her home at the Piedmont avenue address. (more…)

Two New Witnesses Sought by Officers

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

The Atlanta Constitution

Wednesday, June 18, 1913

Former Girl Employee and a Machanic [sic] May Testify Against Frank.

Two new witnesses may be used by the state in the prosecution of Leo Frank when his trial is held on June 30. Chief Lanford is investigating the reported statement of a young girl living near Roswell and of a mechanic who resides near East Point.

The former, a lass of 17, is said to have been employed in the pencil factory two years ago. For the past year or more she has been living with her parents at their home just outside Roswell. The nature of the statements she is alleged to have made is being kept secret by the detectives. It is hinted, however, that in case she is placed on the stand, her testimony will deal with the character of the superintendent.

The testimony of the East Point mechanic is said to relate to the girl’s story, and [in the] event he is used by the prosecution, his testimony will be for the purpose of corroborating that of the girl.

The departure of Attorney Frank A. Hooper, who has been associated with Solicitor General Dorsey in the prosecution of the Phagan case, adds interest to the mystery. Mr. Hooper, it is said at his home, has gone to Indianapolis. His family declare his trip has no connection whatever with the Phagan case.

Solicitor Dorsey announced before leaving that he was going to Atlantic City to spend several days’ vacation. He said that he would have nothing to do with the Phagan case while away. He left at 2:45 Saturday afternoon, accompanied by Mrs. Dorsey.

Much speculation has also been created by a trip on which Colonel T. B. Felder embarked Sunday afternoon, less than twenty-four hours after the solicitor’s departure. Mr. Felder says he goes to Cincinnati on business entirely foreign with the Phagan investigation or the dictograph charges.

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The Atlanta Constitution, June 18th 1913, “Two New Witnesses Sought by Officers,” Leo Frank case newspaper article series (Original PDF)

Col. Thomas Felder Goes to Cincinnati

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

The Atlanta Constitution

Monday, June 16, 1913

Says Trip Has Nothing to Do With That of Solicitor Dorsey

Following the departure of Solicitor General Hugh M. Dorsey for Atlantic City Saturday afternoon, Col. Thomas B. Felder left Sunday afternoon at 5:10 o’clock for Cincinnati.

He said that his trip had no connection whatever with that of the solicitor general. He would not disclose his object in going to Cincinnati, however, and said only that he would be in the Ohio city for several days. Business was his motive in leaving, he declared, although he would not tell what business he intended to transact.

Colonel Felder declares that the affidavit which an Atlanta paper, on Sunday morning, accredits George Gentry with having made, verifies his own contention.

“It supports me in every particular,” he said. “It corroborates my statement that Gentry is willing to return to Atlanta at any time the grand jury or any other investigating committee needed him; that he is passing under an assumed name in Washington, and that he was striving to keep out of the reach of certain Atlantans who are endeavoring to find him.

“He even admits in this last affidavit that the dictagraph reports were padded. He says that charges were made, although it is intimated that they were immaterial. He acknowledges having signed Miles’ affidavit, and says that it was correct thoroughly. This, in itself, is all the support I would ask of Gentry. The affidavit obtained by Detective Miles is proof positive that the reports were padded—that is an established fact.

“Another thing: Gentry says again that his note book—the original transcription of the Williams House conversations—is in the vault of a prominent and reliable Atlanta attorney, and that they will be produced at time of any investigation. Even though Gentry testified otherwise, we have the notes—they are all that is needed to prove our contention that the published reports were altered.”

Colonel Felder would not talk regarding his trip to Cincinnati.

“I am going there on a matter of business,” was all he would say. “It wouldn’t interest the public in general, and would interfere with my plans if I disclosed my mission. I will return within the next few days.”

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The Atlanta Constitution, June 16th 1913, “Col. Thomas Felder Goes to Cincinnati,” Leo Frank case newspaper article series (Original PDF)

Constitution Picture Will Figure in Trial

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

The Atlanta Constitution

Monday, June 16, 1913

Solicitor Wants Photograph of Spot Where Mary Phagan’s Body Was Found

A flashlight picture, made by The Constitution’s staff photographer is to be used as evidence by the prosecution in the trial of Leo M. Frank. This was made evident Sunday afternoon when Detective John Starnes applied to a Constitution reporter for the photograph of the spot in the pencil factory basement, where Mary Phagan’s body was discovered.

Starnes would not state why he wanted the picture, saying only that it would be used by the prosecution. He was extremely desirous of getting it, and it will be put in his possession this morning. It is rumored that by the picture an effort will be made to corroborate certain statements of James Conley, the negro sweeper when he is placed on the witness stand.

Starnes told the reporter that the prosecution was ready for trial. He expressed confidence that the mystery would be cleared at the coming trial, which he believes will be held on the thirtieth. In case of postponement, he says, it will be the fault of the defense, as the state is ready.

Starnes has been intimately associated with the solicitor general during the murder investigation. In fact, he has been more closely in touch with Dorsey than any other official concerned in the case. He is a detective attached to headquarters and associated with Detective Pat Campbell who has been identified with many big criminal cases, which the detective department has solved.

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The Atlanta Constitution, June 16th 1913, “Constitution Picture Will Figure in Trial,” Leo Frank case newspaper article series (Original PDF)

Frank Hooper Aids Phagan Prosecution

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

The Atlanta Constitution

Sunday, June 15, 1913

Solicitor General Hugh Dorsey Announces His Associate in Big Case.

Just before leaving yesterday afternoon for New York, Solicitor General Hugh M. Dorsey announced that Attorney Frank A. Hooper would be associated with him in the prosecution growing out of the murder of Mary Phagan.

Saying that Mr. Hooper was his personal choice, Dorsey also stated that Mr. and Mrs. J. W. Coleman, parents of the victim, had been consulted and had directed him to employ such counsel as he desired and that his choice of Mr. Hooper satisfied the Colemans.

Attorney Hooper has been a well-known figure at the Atlanta bar for four years. Shortly after coming to this city, he was associated with ex-Governor Joseph M. Terrell, with whom he was connected until the governor’s death. He was for twelve years the solicitor general of the southwestern judicial circuit at Americus, Ga.

Among many notable cases with which he played a conspicuous part were the Childers trial in Americus and the famous Cain murder case in Cordele. He was counsel for the defense in each case. He will be in charge of the solicitor’s affairs which relate to the Phagan case during Mr. Dorsey’s absence on his present trip.

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The Atlanta Constitution, June 15th 1913, “Frank Hooper Aids Phagan Prosecution,” Leo Frank case newspaper article series (Original PDF)

Solicitor Dorsey Goes to New York

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

The Atlanta Constitution

Sunday, June 15, 1913

Grand Jury Will Probably Take Up the Dictagraph Probe While He Is Away.

With the departure of Solicitor General Hugh M. Dorsey for New York yesterday afternoon, whither he declares he is going for a week’s rest, and the announcement of Foreman L. H. Beck, of the grand jury, that only routine criminal business will be taken up at the meeting on Tuesday, comes a peculiar situation, as hitherto the solicitor’s pretense has been considered necessary for the indictment of the regular class of criminals, and only when investigating on their own accord ddoes [sic] the grand jury usually dispense with his services.

The assurance is continuously given out that the grand jury must finish its routin [sic] business before it can enter into a general investigation such as a renewal of the vice probe or an investigation of the Felder-Beavers dictagraph row, despite the apparent pressing need for clearing up the tangle that has grown from the affair.

It appears that the members of the grand jury intend to take up at their meeting this week some investigation or other work in which the solicitor will not be needed and the general impression is that the dictagraph row will be probed.

This would be in keeping with the vice probe which both the solicitor and the foreman attempted to veil in secrecy until the very day upon which it was started, and their actions upon this occasion strengthen the belief that further investigation will occupy the grand jurors at their next meeting.

On top of this comes the announcement from an apparently responsible source of a demand made by Colonel Thomas B. Felder that the body probe the dictagraph affair, and the refusal of both the solicitor and the foreman of the jury to discuss this matter, or even to admit having received such a communication.

Solicitor Dorsey gave out officially that his visit would be one of personal recreation and that he might possibly spend a short time at Atlantic City before returning home.

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The Atlanta Constitution, June 15th 1913, “Solicitor Dorsey Goes to New York,” Leo Frank case newspaper article series (Original PDF)

Detective Chief Tells Grand Jury of “Third Degree”

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

The Atlanta Constitution

Sunday, June 15, 1913

Questions Put to Lanford Indicate That Investigation of Police Methods Is Being Conducted.


Science and Skill Now Employed by Detectives in Securing Confessions From Criminals, He Says.

The police “third degree,” which has created such widespread discussion during the Mary Phagan murder investigation, has been thoroughly explained to the grand jury by Detective Chief Newport A. Lanford, who appeared before that body at its request.

Detective John Black, of headquarters, who has been an active figure in the Phagan case, is also said to have been quizzed about methods employed by the police and detectives. He will not talk of the subject. Members of the jury are reluctant to give any information.

Chief Lanford, however, willingly told a Constitution reporter of his testimony before the jury and of the nature of queries which were put to him. He says he gave a complete and apparently satisfactory account of the “third degree” and the manner in which it is practiced at police headquarters.

Is Jury Probing Police Methods?

The belief is prevalent in both police and court circles that a secret probe is being promoted by the grand jury into methods employed by both the police and detective departments, and that it was in pursuit of this investigation that the detective head and Black were examined. Chief Lanford is inclined to scout this theory, although he is unable to account for the testimony that was required of him and of Black in the “third degree” probe.

The use of the “third degree” during the Phagan mystery has caused much comment. Its most effective employment, it will be recalled, was in extracting three sensational confessions from the negro sweeper, James Conley. Newt Lee, the negro watchman, the first suspect in the murder case, was subjected to a “degree” equally as strenuous.

The public letter of Mrs. Leo Frank, in which she took the detectives and Solicitor General Dorsey to task for subjecting her servant girl, Minola McKnight, to a system of cross-examination, which, she asserted, left the girl in a state of exhaustion, probably served to actuate the jury’s inquiry into police methods. Mrs. Frank’s letter was a stinging arraignment, and[…]

Continued on Page Four.


Col. Felder Asks Early Jury Probe

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

The Atlanta Constitution

Saturday, June 14, 1913.

Requests Investigation of the Gentry Affidavit—A. S. Colyar Is Not in Atlanta Now

Colonel Thomas B. Felder yesterday requested that the grand jury make an early investigation of the affidavit submitted by George Gentry in which he declared that the dictagraph records were padded.

On Friday afternoon he forwarded a letter to L. H. Beck, foreman of the jury, in which he asked that body to look into the matter as early as possible. Offering to appear before the jury at any time, Colonel Felder assured Mr. Beck that he could place before the jury evidence which would not only substantiate the statement of the stenographer, but would throw new light on vice conditions in Atlanta.

Gentry Willing to Testify

Colonel Felder also informed the jury foreman that at any moment he could bring George Gentry before that boy to give his testimony. Gentry, he said, was ready and willing to come back to Atlanta. While Colonel Felder stated that he was in daily communication with Mr. Gentry, the detective department is not so fortunate. Chief Lanford, having so far failed to locate the youth in Washington, where he is living under an assumed name and working for a business house there.

Coincident with the proposed investigation of the dictagraph charges is the absence of A. S. Colyar. Colyar could not be found Friday or last night. At the Williams house where he lived while in the city, he was said to have left town with instructions to retain his room for future occupancy.

The clerk of the hotel said that he did not know of the man’s whereabouts or when he was expected to return. Colyar, he said, had not told of his destination upon leaving several days ago. It is reported that he has gone to Washington to locate Gentry the stenographer and ascertain whether or not his sensational affidavit was correct. Another rumor is that he is in Cartersville, Ga., his home to which his wife returned several days previous to his departure.

Where is Colyar?

Chief Lanford, with whom Colyar has been closely associated during the latter’s sensational operations in Atlanta, said that he did not know where Colyar could be located or whether or not he was in or out of the city. Others with whom Colyar has been connected say they do not know of his whereabouts. He was seen as late as Saturday night. Efforts to find him in Washington have been to no avail. (more…)

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