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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…)

Both Sides Are Ready for Trial of Frank

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

The Atlanta Journal

Wednesday, June 25, 1913

Few Developments Expected Between Now and July 28, Conley Is Grilled

The statements made by Solicitor General Hugh M. Dorsey and by Reuben R. Arnold and Luther Z. Rosser, the counsel for the defense before the postponement of the trial of Leo M. Frank from June 30, the date set by the solicitor, to July 28, indicate very strongly that neither side expects further developments of importance in the investigation.

Mr. Dorsey told the court that his case was complete and that he was ready for trial. All of the statements by Attorneys Arnold and Rosser indicate that they also have completed the preparation of the defense and are ready for the court fight.

One of the most interesting of the statements made by counsel was that of Mr. Arnold, who said that it would take two weeks to try the case, showing that the defense will have many witnesses, and will come to court prepared to fight every inch in the case.

The action of the defense in demanding through subpoenas duces tecum practically all of the affidavits of importance which have been made the detectives during the Phagan investigation seems to bear out the theory published in The Journal that the defense will consist of the corroboration of Frank’s story as told at the inquest by a number of witnesses, and of an effort to establish, largely by the detectives themselves, the thory [sic] that the negro James Conley is guilty of the crime with which Frank is charged.

It is certain that Conley’s story will be attacked through his many varying affidavits, and much evidence to assist Frank will be brought out through the city detectives, who charge him with the crime.

The substance of all of the affidavits demanded by the defense is known. Conley’s varying affidavits have long formed one of the sensations of the case. Miss Grace Hix, it will be remembered, identified Mary Phagan’s body, while Miss Monteen Stover declares that she came to the pencial [sic] factory of the date of the tragedy at 12:05 o’clock and found no one in the office, not even Frank, who had testified that he was there at that hour. (more…)

Conley, Put on Grill, Sticks Story

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

The Atlanta Georgian

Wednesday, June 25, 1913

Police Resume Questioning of the Negro Sweeper Who Accuses Leo Frank.

Puzzled by several of the statements of Jim Conley in regard to his part in the happenings the day that Mary Phagan was killed, the police have resumed the questioning from which the negro had been free since he was taken to the police station by the detectives.

One point that has not been cleared up is why Conley saw every one else that went into or left the factory and yet failed to see Mary Phagan.

Conley, on Sunday, was confronted by Monteen Stover. He identified her as the girl he saw enter the factory shortly after 12 o’clock on the day of the crime. Yet he still maintains that he did not see Mary Phagan, although Mary must have entered the factory either just before or just after the Stover girl was in the building. The evidence in the possession of the State shows that there could hardly have been more than three to five minutes intervening between the times that the two girls were in the factory.

Want Clearer Statement.

Conley has been asked to explain this apparently improbable circumstance. Conley at first denied that he had seen Lemmie Quinn in the factory on the Saturday of the murder. Later he said he had seen the factory foreman. Which statement is believed by the State is not known. What explanation is made by the negro for lying in regard to the matter also is conjectural.

Mary Phagan left her home on April 26 at about 11:50 o’clock. Living in Bellwood, it is regarded as unlikely that she reached the factory in less than 25 minutes, or at 12:15. Monteen Stover had testified that she visited the factory at about 12:10, which would be just before Mary Phagan had entered the factory, if the times testified to are correct.

Conley, on this account, has been asked if he saw, from his vantage point behind the boxes, Monteen Stover enter the factory at 12:10 o’clock, and Lemmie Quinn enter at 12:20, why he did not see Mary Phagan when she entered in the interval between the visits of the Stover girl and Lemmie Quinn.

Sticks to His Story.

Another point on which he has been questioned is as to how he could have left his home at the time he has testified and visit all the saloons of which he has told and still meet Frank at Nelson and Forsyth Streets as Frank was on his way to Montag Bros. factory. Frank, according to the statements of members of the Montag firm, was in their building by 10 o’clock. Yet the things that Conley has testified to doing would have taken him until considerably after 10 o’clock, according to a conservative estimate. (more…)

Both Sides Called in Conference by Judge; Trial Set for July 28

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

The Atlanta Georgian

Tuesday, June 24, 1913

Dorsey, Beavers and Lanford Summoned to Appear June 30 With All Affidavits They Have Secured Relative to the Phagan Slaying Case.

Just before the conference with both sides in the Frank case started Judge Roan intimated strongly that he would set the case for July 14 or July 28 and hold it in some more commodious court room than the one in which he sits on the fourth floor of the Thrower building. Judge Roan’s personal inclination leans to a date in July, and it is not likely that the State or defense will object to acceding to his wishes.

The date was definitely fixed for July 28 at the conference.

The first important legal move by the defense in the battle for the life and freedom of Leo Frank, accused of the strangling of Mary Phagan, was made Tuesday in the issuance of subpenas duces tecum for the prime movers in the prosecution of the factory superintendent.

The following have been subpenaed to appear:

Solicitor General Hugh M. Dorsey, who will prosecute the prisoner.

Chief of Police James L. Beavers, who was the leader in obtaining incriminating affidavits.

Pinkerton Detective Harry Scott, to whom is generally given credit for the admissions gained from Conley.

All other city detectives who have worked on the case.

All of them are ordered to produce any affidavits they may have bearing on the case in court June 30, indicating that the defense will be prepared to go on with the trial at that time.

Judge Roan, however, had called a conference of the attorneys on both sides of the case for 2 o’clock in the afternoon, when he announced that he would set the date definitely after the attorneys had been given an opportunity to say whether or not their cases would be in shape to present if the trial were called the last of this month.

Plan to Use Same Evidence.

The startling move on the part of the defense was taken to mean that Frank’s lawyers propose to use to free their client the very evidence the detectives and Solicitor General have collected to send him to the gallows.

The most significant demand is made upon Chief Beavers, who is commanded to bring into court the famed series of affidavits made by the negro sweeper, Jim Conley. It is evident that Attorneys Rosser and Arnold, who are conducting the defense, intend to tear the contradictory stories of the negro to tatters and make his statements so utterly ridiculous and improbable that the jury not only will refuse to accept them, but will interpret them as an effort of Conley to get from under the blame for a crime that he committed himself. (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…)

July 28 Is Date Agreed Upon for Trial of Frank

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

The Atlanta Journal

Tuesday, June 24, 1913

Judge Names Date After Statement From Reuben R. Arnold, In Which He Said Trial Would Last Two Weeks

DEFENSE TAKES STEPS TO GET STATE’S EVIDENCE

Subpenas Duces Tecum Issued, Demanding Production of Affidavits and Popers [sic] in Possession of Solicitor

Leo M. Frank, accused of the slaying of Mary Phagan, will not be tried before superior court Judge L. S. Roan next Monday. The judge in a conference with attorneys at 2 o’clock Tuesday afternoon formally set the trial for Monday, July 28, and no attempt to reopen the questions of arraignment will be made. Both the prosecution and the defense agreed to this date.

Any attempt made to put Frank on trial on next Monday was silenced when Reuben R. Arnold, speaking for the defense, said flatly that the trial would take at least two weeks. The assurance that the trial would last some time and the fact that it likely would be held in the stuffy little court room in the Thrower building, if scheduled Monday, practically caused the postponement.

Solicitor Dorsey, for the state, and Luther Z. Rosser and Reuben R. Arnold, for the prosecution, were summoned to the court house by Judge Roan at 3 o’clock and a discussion of the matter was opened.

SOLICITOR ANNOUNCED READY.

Solicitor Dorsey announced that he was ready and made the declaration that his witnesses would not take more than two days at the outside. He said if the defense had any he didn’t think they would take any longer.

This remark brought a grunt from Luther Z. Rosser and the Arnold statement that the trial would take two weeks.

“We have the witnesses,” both of the lawyers for the defense asserted.

Both Attorneys Rosser and Arnold told the court that in the event of a postponement of the case for Monday that they desired it to go over until after the week of July 14, when both would be engaged in the trial of Mattie Flanders in Swainsboro. Mr. Rosser represents the defense of Mrs. Flanders and Mr. Arnold the prosecution.

This came when Solicitor Dorsey suggested that the case be tried on July 7.

Judge Roan, in fixing July 28 as a date suitable to all concerned, said that there would be no break in the week, as there would with July 4, that a good court room for the trial could be obtained about July 13, that the jail could be cleared of routine cases by that time and previously made engamenest [sic] would not be interrupted.

All lawyers concerned were in court and the judge asserted that lack of preparation could not be offered as an excuse when the case was called on July 28.

The attorneys for Leo M. Frank Tuesday afternoon secured subpoenas duces tecum to be served on Chief James L. Beavers, Chief N. A. Lanford, Solicitor Hugh M. Dorsey, Assistant Solicitor E. A. Stevens, Hary [sic] Scott, of the Pinkertons; City Detectives John Black, Pat Campbell and J. N. tSarnes [sic], and Secretary of Chief Lanford, G. C. Febuary, calling upon them to produce in court Monday June 30, or any other day that the Frank case might be on trial, all affidavits or statements secured from Jim Conley, the negro sweeper; Monteen Stover and Grace Hix. (more…)

Venire of 72 for Frank Jury Is Drawn

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

The Atlanta Georgian

Monday, June 23, 1913

Negro Conley Sticks to Affidavit Story When Again Cross-Examined by Dorsey.

The first official action of the court in preparing for the trial of Leo M. Frank for the murder of Mary Phagan was taken Monday afternoon when Judge L. S. Roan impaneled 72 men, from whom a jury to hear the case will be sought.

June 30 was agreed to by Judge Roan for the opening of the case. If a postponement is desired it will now have to be asked for in open court.

As yet Judge Roan said he had received no intimation from the defense that a delay was wanted. Solicitor General Hugh M. Dorsey said Monday the prosecution was ready for trial.

Trial in Thrower Building.

An extra staff of deputies has been sworn in and subpenas to jurymen impaneled and witnesses are now being served.

No plans for a larger room in which to hear the case have matured, and it is likely that the courtroom of the Superior Court in the Thrower Building will be used at last, despite its size and lack of comfort.

Jim Conley, the negro sweeper, was brought before Solicitor Dorsey Monday morning for another cross-examination. The questions were solely along the lines of the negro’s affidavit charging Frank with the crime. As the Solicitor later said, he had only refreshed Conley’s mind on the points he had made in his statement. The negro told the same story he told before without deviation. (more…)

Solicitor Will Fix Frank Trial for June 30, He Says

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

The Atlanta Journal

Monday, June 23, 1913

Unless “Showing” Is Made in Open Court Why the Case Should Be Deferred, Trial Will Proceed

MONTEEN STOVER AGAIN FIGURES IN THE CASE

Detectives Question Her With View to Attacking Theory That Girl Was Slain on the First Floor

Solicitor General Hugh M. Dorsey, it was definitely learned Monday, will set the case of the State against Leo M. Frank, charged with the murder of Mary Phagan, for June 30, and the solicitor will insist that a legal “showing” be made by the defense before a postponement is allowed.

During the day Monday or early on Tuesday morning the court calendar for the week of June 30 will be made up and then a small army of bailiffs and deputies will commence to summon talesmen. Owing to the unusual interest in the case it is probable that more than 150 talesmen will be summoned to the court in order that twelve jurors to try Frank may be picked from them.

COURT WON’T INTERFERE.

It is understood that the court of its own volition will not interfere in the matter, and if a postponement of the case is secured it will be on a “legal showing” made in open court next Monday by the attorneys, who represent the accused man.

The illness of one of counsel or the absence from the city of a material witness or the engagement of counsel in another court, or any one of several other perfectly good excuses constitute legal grounds for the postponement of case, so the uncompromising attitude of the state by no means makes the trial of the case on June 30 a certanity [sic].

Luther Z. Rosser and Reuben R. Arnold, the able attorneys, who represent Frank, will give no intimation of their attitude towards entering into the case next Monday.

The published rumor that John W. Moore, another noted Atlanta lawyer, would assist Attorneys Arnold and Rosser and Herbert Haas in the case is without foundation, according to Mr. Moore and the other attorneys connected with the case.

WITNESS QUESTIONED.

What is believed by the prosecution of Leo M. Frank to be a refutation of the defense’s theory that Mary Phagan was slain at the foot of the stairs on the first floor of the pencil factory, occurred at police headquarters Sunday afternoon, when Jim Conley, the negro, identified Monteen Stover, aged 14, 17 South Forsyth street, as the girl in the raincoat and “easy walkers” who went to the office on the second floor at 12:05 o’clock and came down the stairs five or ten minutes later and left the building.

The little Stover girl was taken before Conley in the detectives’ room Sunday and positively identified by the negro, according to the detectives who were present, Chief Lanford and Detectives Campbell and Starnes.

Conley declared that she was the girl he watched while he was hid at the foot of the tsairs [sic]. The Stover girl entered the building, went up the stairs to the office, stayed there some five or ten minutes, and then came down and went out.

J. C. Hines, who went to headquarters with Walter Sudderth and Mr. Edmundson, pointed out Monteen Stover as the girl whom he saw enter the building. (more…)

Arnold Declares Frank Innocent and Enters Case

He Will Aid Frank Defense
REUBEN R. ARNOLD,
Able attorney, who declares he would not have entered case were he not firmly convinced of Leo M. Frank’s innocence.

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

The Atlanta Journal

Sunday, June 22, 1913

Famous Lawyer Says He Wouldn’t Defend Man Accused of Such Crime Unless Sure of His Innocence

SCORES CITY DETECTIVES FOR HOLDING TO THEORY

Mr. Arnold Says Detectives Have Tried to Prejudice the Case by Unfair Means—Has Studied Evidence

Reuben R. Arnold, famous Georgia lawyer, has officially entered the Phagan case in the defense of Leo M. Frank, as exclusively forecasted by The Journal last Thursday.

Mr. Arnold comes into the case with a ringing statement declaring his firm belief in the innocence of his client, and asserting that he would never defend a person charged with such an atrocious crime if he were not fully convinced of his innocence. Mr. Arnold says that he has reached the conclusion that there is no room to believe Frank guilty, after carefully studying the evidence in the case.

Mr. Arnold declares that it is surprising that the detectives should continue to put the crime on Frank with the incriminating statements of Conley before them. He scores the detectives because of the publication of the Formby affidavit, declaring that by this and other means they have done Frank a great injustice.

With Mr. Arnold and Luther Z. Rosser working in his behalf a great legal battle is made a certainty when Frank faces a jury in the criminal division of the superior court. Solicitor Hugh M. Dorsey and Frank A. Hooper, who is associated with him, will have charge of the state’s case. Lawyers and court attaches predict the most brilliant legal battle ever known in a criminal case in this state.

The date of the trial is still a matter of interesting conjectures, although it may be settled Monday after the return of Solicitor Dorsey to the city.

Mr. Dorsey still expects to set the trial of the case on the court calendar for June 30, but any number of things may interfere. An attorney associated with the defense stated Saturday afternoon that he knew of no reason why there should be a postponement, but would make no more definite statement.

While they know nothing definite it is the opinion of court attaches that the trial of the case will not be reached before July 14 or July 28, and their guess is generally expected to prove correct.

In a statement which he gave the public Mr. Arnold, who has been long regarded as one of the ablest criminal lawyers in the south, intimated that he is thoroughly familiar with all phases of the case, and as a result it is not considered probable that a postponement will be asked on his account.

“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.

“Indeed, it is surprising to me that the detectives should continue to try to put this crime on Frank with the positively incriminating affidavits of Conley before them. People of common sense, unless under great excitement, ought not to give a moment’s credence to either the Formby or Conley statements in so far as they attempt to incriminate Mr. Frank.

“I see the detectives are gradually giving it out that Mrs. Formby will not be called as a witness, although her affidavit has been paraded before the public before the unqualified endorsement of the detective department as being perfectly reliable and true. Worse than this, as intimation was published in the newspapers that Frank’s friends had persuaded her to leave town. In this and in many other ways our client has been done a very great injustice. The effort seems to have been not to find the criminal but to try by all means to put the crime on Frank.

“However, I think we will be able to clarify the situation in due time.”

* * *

The Atlanta Journal, June 22nd 1913, “Arnold Declares Frank Innocent and Enters Case,” Leo Frank case newspaper article series (Original PDF)

Jurors, Not Newspapers, To Return Frank Verdict, Declares Old Reporter

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

The Atlanta Georgian

Sunday, June 22, 1913

Writer Declares He Has Only Worked for Fair Trial and Fair Play—Race Question Is No Issue in Phagan Case—Rosser Not Writer.

By AN OLD POLICE REPORTER.

There were few developments in the Phagan case last week that to my mind were worth considering seriously or that threw new light upon the mystery.

Perhaps it was because of this that a good many people wrote letters to “The Old Police Reporter”—some commending my articles, others condemning them; but in every case indicating clearly that the interest has not lessened.

I observe that some of the State newspapers are publishing foolish little paragraphs, bearing the Atlanta date line, to the effect that the Hearst newspapers have been “bought to defend Frank.” This is too foolish to notice.

Still other newspapers are taking advantage of the silly season to point out various phases of the case that to my mind are neither vital nor interesting.

Let me say again, as positively as I can, that these articles written by an old police reporter, are not for the purpose of either making a case for or against any other individual.

Newspapers Will Not Render Verdict.

My aim is to set down in a fair, truthful way my own opinion of the case. I do not know whether the editor of the Hearst newspapers indorses [sic] my views or not.

I am of the opinion that the editor of The Sunday American and The Georgian believes that it is not within his province to try Frank or Conley, but that it is his duty to give all the facts in the case that are obtainable and to let the law and the jury decide WHO is guilty.

I am not a believer in trials by newspapers. I believe in the courts, in our judges, and in our juries.

I know nothing about the Phagan case that has not been published in the newspapers. I do know that Frank has been indicted. I do know, as does everyone else, that there is a chain of circumstantial evidence which, held together in court, will make the case against Frank very serious. (more…)

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.

NO WHITE MAN KILLED GIRL, ASSERTS LAWYER

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…)

Date of Frank Trial Still In Much Doubt

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

The Atlanta Journal

Saturday, June 21, 1913

Belief Grows That Case Will Not Come Up Before July 14 or 28

Interest in the Phagan case still centers on the time of the trial of Leo M. Frank. Indications still are that the case will not be tried the week of June 30.

Solicitor Dorsey has never finally committed himself on the matter but Colonel Frank A. Hooper, who is associated [with] him, still expects the case to be set for that date.

Mr. Hooper expects the trial to last a week. The jail will not have been cleared by June 30, according to court attaches, and it is the general policy of the court to clear the jail of as many cases as possible before entering into a lengthy trial. In addition the Fourth of July, a holiday, comes in the week of June 30 and this might mean that the jury would be locked up during a day that the court was not in session. Still further there is the possibility that the defense will ask for a postponement.

Judge L. S. Roan will not have to hold court in the Stone Mountain circuit on either the week of July 14, or the week of July 28, and as a result it is now considered extremely probable that Frank will face a jury on one of those dates.

Apparently the Phagan case is at a standstill. Saturday both Luther Z. Rosser and Reuben R. Arnold, who will be associated with the defense in all probability, were out of the city, on business said not to be connected with the case.

Mr. Hooper, who is in charge of the state’s case during the absence in New York of Solicitor Dorsey, states that there have been no developments of importance, and that the state is ready for the trial, whenever Mr. Dorsey returns and sets it on the court calendar.

Mr. Hooper was not interested in the return of Mrs. Mima [sic] Formby, maker of a sensational affidavit, to the city. The state made no effort to find her when she left the city, and apparently there is no chance of her being used as a witness unless the defense puts Frank’s character in issue.

During the absence of Solicitor Dorsey, Detectives Starnes and Campbell have been working under his instructions, smoothing over rough places in the state’s case, but nothing of importance has been developed.

* * *

The Atlanta Journal, June 21st 1913, “Date of Frank Trial Still In Much Doubt,” Leo Frank case newspaper article series (Original PDF)

Justice Aim in Phagan Case, Says Hooper

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

The Atlanta Georgian

Saturday, June 21, 1913

I have not been employed in the case to prosecute Leo M. Frank, but to help find and convict the murderer of Mary Phagan. If the trial proves we are wrong, we will begin work on another angle. We have but one object and idea. It is that justice and the law be vindicated. We are, however, convinced we have a strong case against the accused.

FRANK A. HOOPER,
Attorney.

Mrs. Mina [sic] Formby and her sensational affidavit will not be used by the State in the trial of Leo M. Frank, according to a statement Saturday from Attorney Frank A. Hooper, assisting the prosecution.

Mr. Hooper said the State had never attached any importance to the affidavit, except for the first few days, and that when Mrs. Formby mysteriously disappeared from the city, the State eliminated her from the case entirely and made no effort to locate her. He said time set forth in the affidavit and the alleged facts were at too wide a variance with anything the State expected to prove, and there had been no trouble in making the case without her.

Affidavit Did Not Fit.

“The woman’s affidavit did not fit in anywhere in our case,” said Mr. Hooper. “If it had we would have looked around a long time for witnesses to substantiate it before we put her on the stand. When she left Atlanta we considered her gone for good, and built without her. Mr. Dorsey and myself discussed her statement several times, and we decided she could not be used to any advantage.”

Mr. Hooper said it has been decided to put the Frank case on the calendar for the week of June 30 and the State would be ready for trial on that day.

“When Mr. Dorsey returns from New York to-night or Sunday, we will go into a conference and definitely outline the case to be presented by the State,” said Mr. Hooper. “We had decided to have it called Monday morning, June 30. Unless the defense asks for a continuance, the case will probably be tried then.”

No Weak Points Remain.

He said that he had been acquainted with every bit of evidence that was in the hands of the State and had studied it carefully with the Solicitor. For one week, he said, he and Mr. Dorsey worked incessantly on the sworn statements secured from the probable witnesses.

“Where there was a weak point we either strengthened it or eliminated it entirely. We have not depended on the evidence of any one person alone to build our case on [sic] make it stand up. We are prepared for any emergency, and feel that we have left no stone unturned in our investigation. We are confident there are no more mysterious witnesses to be heard from, for we feel that we have questioned everyone who could possibly know anything of importance.”

Mr. Hooper would not discuss the many conflicting statements of the negro Jim Conley and the part he was expected to play in the State’s case.

The strong probability that Leo Frank will not be called for trial June 30 was discussed Saturday by persons interested in the case. The attorneys for the accused man have stated that they were prepared to go into court at any time, although it is not usual to give the defense so little time in a capital case.

Frank was arrested April 29. If his case is called June 30, only two months will have elapsed since he was seriously suspected of being involved in the crime. More time than this ordinarily is given the attorneys for the defense to investigate every circumstance and story which may point to the innocence of their client. (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)

Frank Case May Not Be Tried June 30

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

The Atlanta Journal

Friday, June 20, 1913

Dorsey Expects to Be Ready, He Says, but Postponement Seems Probable

That Leo M. Frank will go on trial for the murder of Mary Phagan on June 30th is not a certainty, although it is generally conceded that Solicitor Hugh M. Dorsey will set the case on the court’s calendar for that date when he returns to the city from New York.

Solicitor Dorsey will return to Atlanta on Sunday. In reply to a telegram from The Journal relative to the time of the trial he makes the following statement: “Cannot say definitely that state will be ready on June 30, but expect now to be.”

As to whether or not the trial actually will be commenced on that date depends largely upon the defense, although there is a bare possibility that the court may wish to hold up the trial of the long case until after the jail is cleared. It is the general policy of the criminal division of the superior court to clear the jail for the summer at this time of the year, and it is known that thirty or forty routine cases could be disposed of in the time that it will take to hear the Frank case. The court will grind on routine business for the week of June 23rd, but in that time, it is said, it will be imposible [sic] to clear the jail.

However, it will remain largely with the defense as to whether or not the case comes to trial.

ROSSER LEAVES CITY.

Luther Z. Rosser, counsel for Frank, is expected to leave the city on Friday on business which is said to have no connection with the Frank case. He refuses to discuss the defense’s attitude toward an early trial.

Reuben R. Arnold, who probably will be associated with Mr. Rosser in the defense, is spending the week end at Atlantic Beach.

Mr. Arnold has been busy on a number of court cases, and while he is said to be quite familiar with the evidence in the Frank case, if he does become associated with the defense, it is probable that he will want additional time to study the case before he enters into the trial of such an important matter.

Mary Phagan was killed on April 26th, little more than two months from the date the case will probably be set on the court’s calendar.

It is not often that a person is brought to trial for a criminal offense in Fulton county two months after the commission of the crime with which he is charged.

Another element which, while it may not figure in the court record, is an important factor behind the scenes, is the intense heat at this time of the year. (more…)

Frank Trial Will Not Be Long One

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

The Atlanta Georgian

Friday, June 20, 1913

Few Witnesses of the Scores Examined Will Be Called When Case Is Heard.

That the trial of Leo M. Frank will take a much shorter time that is generally thought was indicated in a statement by Judge L. S. Roan. The judge said the greatest difficulty and almost as great a length of time would be consumed in drawing a jury as in the hearing of the case. He said the actual taking of evidence might not consume more than a day.

Judge Roan intimated that he expected neither side to introduce the scores of witnesses who had been examined and made affidavits, but that from these witnesses the State and the defense would select the most material evidence, or salient points, and then introduce the most reliable witness who could cover the ground.

For instance, eight or ten different persons might be able to testify on some different minor points, while there would be one witness who could testify to the same thing the different witnesses could. This witness, he thought, would be the one to go on the stand, and the others would not be summoned.

Affidavits Are Plentiful.

As a matter of fact, it is known that only a comparatively small number of the witnesses examined by the Solicitor will be introduced at the trial. In the course of his investigation he secured an affidavit from almost every employee of the pencil factory. While he questioned them closely and had each sign an affidavit, he found little that threw any new light on the case. He examined them, he said, to be sure that he would overlook nothing that might have been missed at the Coroner’s inquest or by the police. (more…)

Blow Aimed at Formby Story

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

The Atlanta Georgian

Thursday, June 19, 1913

DEFENSE HAS WITNESSES TO REFUTE WOMAN

Learns Identity of Other Persons in Home on Night of the Phagan Slaying.

That the defense in the trial of Leo M. Frank will be able, if it wishes, to produce three or four witnesses who will testify that the affidavit of Mrs. Mima [sic] Formby is untrue was discovered Thursday when the identity of the other persons in the house of Mrs. Formby, 400 Piedmont Avenue, the night of April 26, when Mary Phagan was murdered, was learned.

It was from Mrs. Formby that the detectives obtained what they consider one of their most sensational affidavits against Frank. She signed a statement swearing that Frank called her up a half dozen times the night of the murder and tried to persuade her to let him bring a girl to her house. She said she refused.

“It’s a matter of life or death,” she said she told her over the telephone.

Returns to Atlanta.

Mrs. Formby returned to Atlanta Wednesday, after a mysterious absence of several weeks. She said she proposed to stick to her original story when she was called as a witness in the trial of Frank.

In spite of her strong declaration in the truth of her affidavit, no one else who was in the house the night of April 26 has been found who will corroborate her statements. All say that the affidavit is false. (more…)

Hooper Returns and Takes Up Phagan Case

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

The Atlanta Journal

Thursday, June 19, 1913

Declares Trip to Cincinnati Had Nothing to oD [sic] With Murder Mystery

Frank A. Hooper, the experienced prosecutor, who has been engaged to assist Solicitor Hugh M. Dorsey in the trial of the case against Leo M. Frank, returned Thursday from a three days’ trip to Cincinnati, and set at rest the rumors that he went to the Ohio city on a matter connected with the investigation of the Phagan murder mystery.

Mr. Hooper declared that his private business called him to Cincinnati, and that his trip was in no way connected with the Phagan case.

While away Mr. Hooper states that he did not see Solicitor Dorsey nor did he see Attorney Thomas B. Felder, who went to the same city on a matter, which he said before leaving, was not connected with the Phagan case nor with the famous dictograph episode.

Mr. Hooper declares that so far as he knows there are no new developments in the Phagan mystery.

“The state’s case is regarded as complete,” Mr. Hooper said, “and we are simply waiting for the hour of the trial to come.”

Mr. Hooper would not discuss the testimony of Mrs. Mima [sic] Formby, who returned to the city Tuesday after an absence of several weeks.

Mrs. Formsby [sic] made an affidavit for the detectives in which she alleged that Leo M. Frank phoned her residence at 400 Piedmont avenue, a number of times between the hours of 6:30 p. m. and 10 p. m. on the evening of the tragedy, and each time begged her to let him bring a girl to her house.

WON’T BE CALLED.

It is considered improbable, however, that Mrs. Formsby will be called as a state’s witness when the case against Frank is tried, for it has been known from the first that her story did not fit in with the theory of the state as to Frank’s actions on the night of the tragedy.

The fact that Mrs. Formsby had returned to the city first became known to the detective department, when she phoned headquarters that practically all of the furniture left in her apartment had mysteriously disappeared. (more…)

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…)

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