The trial of Leo Frank for the murder of Mary Phagan ended its second week 100 years ago today. Join us as we delve into the original documents of the time and learn what the jurors learned.
(Click the play button for our audio book version of this article.)
by Bradford L. Huie
THE EVIDENCE that National Pencil Company Superintendent Leo Frank had murdered 13-year-old child laborer Mary Phagan was mounting up as the second week of Frank’s trial began in Atlanta, and passions were high on both sides as star witness Jim Conley (pictured) took the stand.
The attempt to frame the innocent black night watchman, Newt Lee, had failed, despite 1) the “death notes” left near the body implicating him, 2) the bloody shirt planted in his trash barrel, and 3) the forged time card supposedly showing that he had left his post for several hours the night the murder was discovered. Although no one of significance suspected Lee at this point, the defense would still try to attack the medical testimony that placed the murder near midday on April 26, and would introduce Lee’s second alleged time card, provided by Frank, purporting to show that Lee had many hours unaccounted for on the night of the 26th and the early morning hours of the 27th of April.
Newt Lee’s testimony of Frank’s peculiar behavior that afternoon and evening was compelling. Another African-American was about to become pivotal in this case: factory sweeper Jim Conley would testify that he had helped Frank by keeping watch while Frank “chatted” with Mary alone in his office, and by assisting Frank in moving her body to the basement after she was accidentally killed. Conley was about to become central to the defense’s case, too — they would allege that Conley was the real killer. (For background on this case, read our introductory article, our coverage of Week One of the trial, and my exclusive summary of the evidence against Frank.)
As Week Two opened, the Atlanta Georgian’s James B. Nevin conceded that the case against Frank was impressive so far and that Jim Conley’s testimony — and ability to hold up under defense insinuations and accusations — would be crucial to the case’s outcome:
The State HAS definitely shown that Leo Frank might have murdered Mary Phagan and that he DID have the opportunity to accomplish it. Having shown that the OPPORTUNITY was there, and that the murder likely was consummated during the time limits of that opportunity, the elements of the case need but be knitted properly together to make dark the outlook for Frank…
Did Leo Frank, between 12 o’clock and the time he left the pencil factory, after paying Mary Phagan her pittance of wages, lure or follow her into the back of the second floor, there assault her and kill her? Did he then secure the services of Jim Conley to conceal the body? Or did Jim Conley, half drunk, loitering in the dark hallway below, seeing little Mary Phagan coming down the steps with her mesh bag in her hands, brooding over his lack of funds wherewith to get more whisky, find in this setup an opportunity to secure a little money — the violent killing of the girl following?
Prior to the trial, Jim Conley had made one admission after another under the withering blast of police interrogation. He would make three statements in all, in each one admitting to more and more participation in the crime. Despite his slow, reluctant, and grudging admissions — and the obvious contradictions among his initial affidavits — investigators, and even some who had been doubtful about Conley’s account, were finally convinced that they had gotten the truth out of him. Police and factory officials accompanied Conley when he was brought back to the scene of the crime. Conley guided them through the factory and recounted and re-enacted the events of April 26, 1913 — the day of the murder — step by step as he had experienced them. The account was so minute in its details, so consistent with the known facts, so precisely matched with evidence which Conley could not possibly have known about unless he had really been there, and presented in such an open and frank manner that even skeptics were convinced by it.
Let’s continue with this extremely important testimony (paragraphing and emphasis are mine):
JAMES CONLEY, sworn for the State.
I had a little conversation with Mr. Frank on Friday, the 25th of April. He wanted me to come to the pencil factory that Friday morning, that he had some work on the third floor he wanted me to do.
All right, I will talk louder. Friday evening about three o’clock Mr. Frank come to the fourth floor where I was working and said he wanted me to come to the pencil factory on Saturday morning at 8:30; that he had some work for me to do on the second floor. I have been working for the pencil company for a little over two years.
Yes, I had gone back there that way for Mr. Frank before, when he asked me to come back. I got to the pencil factory about 8:30 on April 26th. Mr. Frank and me got to the door at the same time. Mr. Frank walked on the inside and I walked behind him and he says to me, “Good morning,” and I says, “Good morning, Mr. Frank.” He says, “You are a little early this morning,” and I says,” No, sir, I am not early.” He says, “Well, you are a little early to do what I wanted you to do for me, I want you to watch for me like you have been doing the rest of the Saturdays.”
I always stayed on the first floor like I stayed the 26th of April and watched for Mr. Frank, while he and a young lady would be upon the second floor chatting, I don’t know what they were doing. He only told me they wanted to chat. When young ladies would come there, I would sit down at the first floor and watch the door for him. I couldn’t exactly tell how many times I have watched the door for him previous to April 26th, it has been several times that I watched for him.
I don’t know who would be there when I watched for him, but there would be another young man, another young lady during the time I was at the door. A lady for him and one for Mr. Frank. Mr. Frank was alone there once, that was Thanksgiving day. I watched for him. Yes, a woman came there Thanksgiving day, she was a tall, heavy built lady. I stayed down there and watched the door just as he told me the last time, April 26th.
He told me when the lady came he would stomp and let me know that was the one and for me to lock the door. Well, after the lady came and he stomped for me, I went and locked the door as he said. He told me when he got through with the lady he would whistle and for me then to go and unlock the door. That was last Thanksgiving day, 1912.
On April 26th, me and Mr. Frank met at the door. He says, “What I want you to do is to watch for me to-day as you did other Saturdays,” and I says, “All right.”
I said,”Mr. Frank, I want to go to the Capital City Laundry to see my mother,” and he said, “By the time you go to the laundry and come back to Trinity Avenue, stop at the corner of Nelson and Forsyth Streets until I go to Montags.” I don’t know exactly what time I got to the corner of Nelson and Forsyth Streets, but I came there sometime between 10 and 10:30.
I saw Mr. Frank as he passed by me, I was standing on the corner, he was coming up Forsyth Street toward Nelson Street. He was going to Montag’s factory. While I was there on the corner he said, “Ha, ha, you are here, is yer.” And I says, “Yes, sir, I am right here, Mr. Frank.” He says, “Well, wait until I go to Mr. Sig’s, I won’t be very long, I’ll be right back.” I says, “All right, Mr. Frank, I’ll be right here.” I don’t know how long he stayed at Mon- tag’s. He didn’t say anything when he came back from Montag’s, but told me to come on. Mr. Frank came out Nelson Street and down Forsyth Street toward the pencil factory and I followed right behind. As we passed up there the grocery store, Albertson Brothers, a young man was up there with a paper sack getting some stuff out of a box on the sidewalk, and he had his little baby standing by the side of him, and just as Mr. Frank passed by him, I was a little behind Mr. Frank, and Mr. Frank said something to me, and by him looking back at me and saying something to me, he hit up against the man’s baby, and the man turned around and looked to see who it was, and he looked directly in my face, but I never did catch the idea what Mr. Frank said. Mr. Frank stopped at Curtis’ Drug Store, corner Mitchell and Forsyth Streets, went into the soda fountain. He came out and went straight on to the factory, me right behind him.
When we got to the factory we both went on the inside, and Mr. Frank stopped me at the door and when he stopped me at the door he put his hand on the door and turned the door and says: “You see, you turn the knob just like this and there can’t nobody come in from the outside,” and I says, “All right,” and I walked back to a little box back there by the trash barrel.
He told me to push the box up against the trash barrel and sit on it, and he says. “Now, there will be a young lady up here after awhile, and me and her are going to chat a little,” and he says, “Now, when the lady comes, I will stomp like I did before,” and he says, “That will be the lady, and you go and shut the door,” and I says, “All right, sir.”
And he says, “Now, when I whistle I will be through, so you can go and unlock the door and you come upstairs to my office then like you were going to borrow some money for me and that will give the young lady time to get out.” I says, “All right, I will do just as you say,” and I did as he said. Mr. Frank hit me a little blow on my chest and says, “Now, whatever you do, don’t let Mr. Darley see you.” I says, “All right, I won’t let him see me.”
Then Mr. Frank went upstairs and he said, “Remember to keep your eyes open,” and I says, “All right, I will, Mr. Frank.” And I sat there on the box and that was the last I seen of Mr. Frank until up in the day sometime.
The first person I saw that morning after I got in there was Mr. Darley, he went upstairs. The next person was Miss Mattie Smith, she went on upstairs, then I saw her come down from upstairs. Miss Mattie walked to the door and stopped, and Mr. Darley comes on down to the door where Miss Mattie was, and he says,” Don’t you worry, I will see that you get that next Saturday. ” And Miss Mattie came on out and went up Alabama Street and Mr. Darley went back upstairs. Seemed like Miss Mattie was crying, she was wiping her eyes when she was standing down there. This was before I went to Nelson and Forsyth Streets.
After we got back from Montag Brothers, the first person I saw come along was a lady that worked on the fourth floor, I don’t know her name. She went on up the steps. The next person that came along was the negro drayman, he went on upstairs. He was a peg-legged fellow, real dark. The next I saw [was] this negro and Mr. Holloway coming back down the steps. Mr. Holloway was putting on his glasses and had a bill in his hands, and he went out towards the wagon on the sidewalk, then Mr. Holloway came back up the steps, then after Mr. Darley came down and left, Mr. Holloway came down and left. Then this lady that worked on the fourth floor came down and left. The next person I saw coming there was Mr. Quinn. He went upstairs, stayed a little while and then came down.
The next person that I saw was Miss Mary Perkins, that’s what I call her, this lady that is dead, I don’t know her name. After she went upstairs I heard her footsteps going towards the office and after she went in the office, I heard two people walking out of the office and going like they were coming down the steps, but they didn’t come down the steps, they went back towards the metal department.
After they went back there, I heard the lady scream, then I didn’t hear no more, and the next person I saw coming in there was Miss Monteen Stover. She had on a pair of tennis shoes and a rain coat. She stayed there a pretty good while, it wasn’t so very long either. She came back down the steps and left.
After she came back down the steps and left, I heard somebody from the metal department come running back there upstairs, on their tiptoes, then I heard somebody tiptoeing back towards the metal department. After that I kind of dozed off and went to sleep.
Next thing I knew Mr. Frank was up over my head stamping and then I went and locked the door, and sat on the box a little while, and the next thing I heard was Mr. Frank whistling. I don’t know how many minutes it was after that I heard him whistle. When I heard him whistling I went and unlocked the door just like he said, and went on up the steps.
Mr. Frank was standing up there at the top of the steps and shivering and trembling and rubbing his hands like this. He had a little rope in his hands–a long wide piece of cord. His eyes were large and they looked right funny. He looked funny out of his eyes. His face was red. Yes, he had a cord in his hands just like this here cord.
After I got up to the top of the steps, he asked me,” Did you see that little girl who passed here just a while ago?” and I told him I saw one come along there and she come back again, and then I saw another one come along there and she hasn’t come back down, and he says, “Well, that one you say didn’t come back down, she came into my office awhile ago and wanted to know something about her work in my office and I went back there to see if the little girl’s work had come, and I wanted to be with the little girl, and she refused me, and I struck her and I guess I struck her too hard and she fell and hit her head against something, and I don’t know how bad she got hurt. Of course you know I ain’t built like other men.”
The reason he said that was, I had seen him in a position I haven’t seen any other man that has got children. I have seen him in the office two or three times be- fore Thanksgiving and a lady was in his office, and she was sitting down in a chair (and she had her clothes up to here, and he was down on his knees, and she had her hands on Mr. Frank. I have seen him another time there in the packing room with a young lady lying on the table, she was on the edge of the table when I saw her).
He asked me if I wouldn’t go back there and bring her up so that he could put her somewhere, and he said to hurry, that there would be money in it for me.
When I came back there, I found the lady lying flat of her back with a rope around her neck. The cloth was also tied around her neck and part of it was under her head like to catch blood. I noticed the clock after I went back there and found the lady was dead and came back and told him. The clock was four minutes to one.
She was dead when I went back there and I came back and told Mr. Frank the girl was dead and he said “Sh-Sh!” He told me to go back there by the cotton box, get a piece of cloth, put it around her and bring her up. I didn’t hear what Mr. Frank said, and I came on up there to hear what he said. He was standing on the top of the steps, like he was going down the steps, and while I was back in the metal department I didn’t understand what he said, and I came on back there to understand what he did say, and he said to go and get a piece of cloth to put around her, and I went and looked around the cotton box and got a piece of cloth and went back there.
The girl was lying flat on her back and her hands were out this way. I put both of her hands down easily, and rolled her up in the cloth and taken the cloth and tied her up, and started to pick up her, and I looked back a little distance and saw her hat and a piece of ribbon laying down and her slippers and I taken them and put them all in the cloth and I ran my right arm through the cloth and tried to bring it up on my shoulder.
The cloth was tied just like a person that was going to give out clothes on Monday, they get the clothes and put them on the inside of a sheet and take each corner and tie the four corners together, and I run my right arm through the cloth after I tied it that way and went to put it on my shoulder, and I found I couldn’t get it on my shoulder, it was heavy and I carried it on my arm the best I could, and when I got away from the little dressing room that was in the metal department, I let her fall, and I was scared and I kind of jumped, and I said, ‘Mr. Frank, you will have to help me with this girl, she is heavy,” and he come and caught her by the feet and I laid hold of her by the shoulders, and when we got her that way I was backing and Mr. Frank had her by the feet, and Mr. Frank kind of put her on me, he was nervous and trembling, and after we got up a piece from where we got her at, he let her feet drop and then he picked her up and we went on to the elevator, and he pulled down on one of the cords and the elevator wouldn’t go, and he said, “Wait, let me go in the office and get the key,” and he went in the office and got the key and come back and unlocked the switchboard and the elevator went down to the basement, and we carried her out and I opened the cloth and rolled her out there on the floor, and Mr. Frank turned around and went on up the ladder, and I noticed her hat and slipper and piece of ribbon and I said, “Mr. Frank, what am I going to do with these things?” and he said, “Just leave them right there,” and I taken the things and pitches them over in front of the boiler, and after Mr. Frank had left I goes on over to the elevator and he said, “Come on up and I will catch you on the first, floor,” and I got on the elevator and started it to the first floor, and Mr. Frank was running up there.
He didn’t give me time to stop the elevator, he was so nervous and trembly, and before the elevator got to the top of the first floor Mr. Frank made the first step onto the elevator and by the elevator being a little down like that, he stepped down on it and hit me quite a blow right over about my chest and that jammed me up against the elevator and when we got near the second floor he tried to step off before it got to the floor and his foot caught on the second floor as he was stepping off and that made him stumble and he fell back sort of against me, and he goes on and takes the keys back to his office and leaves the box unlocked.
I followed him into his private office and I sat down and he commenced to rubbing his hands and began to rub back his hair and after awhile he got up and said, “Jim,” and I didn’t say nothing, and all at once he happened to look out of the door and there was somebody coming, and he said, “My God, here is Emma Clarke and Corinthia Hall,” and he said “Come over here Jim, I have got to put you in this wardrobe,” and he put me in this wardrobe, and I stayed there a good while and they come in there and I heard them go out, and Mr. Frank come there and said, “You are in a tight place,” and I said “Yes,” and he said “You done very well.”
So after they went out and he had stepped in the hall and had come back he let me out of the wardrobe, and he said “You sit down,” and I went and sat down, and Mr. Frank sat down. But the chair he had was too little for him or too big for him or it wasn’t far enough back or something.
He reached on the table to get a box of cigarettes and a box of matches, and he takes a cigarette and a match and hands me the box of cigarettes and I lit one and went to smoking and I handed him back the box of cigarettes, and he put it back in his pocket and then he took them out again and said, “You can have these,” and I put them in my pocket, and then he said, “Can you write ?” and I said, “Yes, sir, a little bit,” and he taken his pencil to fix up some notes.
I was willing to do anything to help Mr. Frank because he was a white man and my superintendent, and he sat down and I sat down at the table and Mr. Frank dictated the notes to me. Whatever it was it didn’t seem to suit him, and he told me to turn over and write again, and I turned the paper and wrote again, and when I done that he told me to turn over again and I turned over again and wrote on the next page there, and he looked at that and kind of liked it and he said that was all right.
Then he reached over and got another piece of paper, a green piece, and told me what to write. He took it and laid it on his desk and looked at me smiling and rubbing his hands, and then he pulled out a nice little roll of greenbacks, and he said, “Here is $200,” and I taken the money and looked at it a little bit and I said, “Mr. Frank, don’t you pay another dollar for that watch man, because I will pay him myself,” and he said, “All right, I don’t see what you want to buy a watch for either, that big fat wife of mine wanted me to buy an automobile and I wouldn’t do it.”
And after awhile Mr. Frank looked at me and said, “You go down there in the basement and you take a lot of trash and burn that package that’s in front of the furnace,” and I told him all right. But I was afraid to go down there by myself, and Mr. Frank wouldn’t go down there with me. He said, “There’s no need of my going down there,” and I said, “Mr. Frank, you are a white man and you done it, and I am not going down there and burn that myself.”
He looked at me then kind of frightened and he said “Let me see that money” and he took the money back and put it back in his pocket, and I said, “Is this the way you do things?” and he said, “You keep your mouth shut, that is all right.”
And Mr. Frank turned around in his chair and looked at the money and he looked back at me and folded his hands and looked up and said, “Why should I hang? I have wealthy people in Brooklyn,” and he looked down when he said that, and I looked up at him, and he was looking up at the ceiling, and I said,” Mr. Frank what about me?” and he said, ” That’s all right, don’t you worry about this thing, you just come back to work Monday like you don’t know anything, and keep your mouth shut, if you get caught I will get you out on bond and send you away,” and he said, “Can you come back this evening and do it?” and I said “Yes, that I was coming to get my money.”
He said, “Well, I am going home to get dinner and you come back here in about forty minutes and I will fix the money,” and I said, “How will I get in?” and he said, “There will be a place for you to get in all right, but if you are not coming back let me know, and I will take those things and put them down with the body,” and I said, “All right, I will be back in about forty minutes.”
Then I went down over to the beer saloon across the street and I took the cigarettes out of the box and there was some money in there and I took that out and there was two paper dollar bills in there and two silver quarters and I took a drink, and then I bought me a double header and drank it and I looked around at another colored fellow standing there and I asked him did he want a glass of beer and he said “No,” and I looked at the clock and it said twenty minutes to two and the man in there asked me was I going home, and I said, “Yes,” and I walked south on Forsyth Street to Mitchell and Mitchell to Davis, and I said to the fellow that was with me “I am going back to Peters Street,” and a Jew across the street that I owed a dime to called me and asked me about it and I paid him that dime.
Then I went on over to Peters Street and stayed there awhile. Then I went home and I taken fifteen cents out of my pocket and gave a little girl a nickel to go and get some sausage and then I gave her a dime to go and get some wood, and she stayed so long that when she came back I said, “I will cook this sausage and eat it and go back to Mr. Frank’s,” and I laid down across the bed and went to sleep, and I didn’t get up no more until half past six o’clock that night, that’s the last I saw of Mr. Frank that Saturday.
I saw him next time on Tuesday on the fourth floor when I was sweeping. He walked up and he said, “Now remember, keep your mouth shut,” and I said, “All right,” and he said, “If you’d come back on Saturday and done what I told you to do with it down there, there wouldn’t have been no trouble.” This conversation took place between ten and eleven o’clock Tuesday.
Mr. Frank knew I could write a little bit, because he always gave me tablets up there at the office so I could write down what kind of boxes we had and I would give that to Mr. Frank down at his office and that’s the way he knew I could write.
I was arrested on Thursday, May 1st.
Mr. Frank told me just what to write on those notes there. That is the same pad he told me to write on (State’s Exhibit A). The girl’s body was lying somewhere along there about No. 9 on that picture (State’s Exhibit A). I dropped her somewhere along No. 7. We got on [the] elevator on the second floor. The box that Mr. Frank unlocked was right around here on side of elevator.
He told me to come back in about forty minutes to do that burning. Mr. Frank went in the office and got the key to unlock the elevator. The notes were fixed up in Mr. Frank’s private office. I never did know what became of the notes.
I left home that morning about 7 or 7:30. I noticed the clock when I went from the factory to go to Nelson and Forsyth Streets, the clock was in a beer saloon on the corner of Mitchell Street. It said 9 minutes after 10. I don’t know the name of the woman who was with Mr. Frank on Thanksgiving day. I know the man’s name was Mr. Dalton. When I saw Mr. Frank coming towards the factory Saturday morning he had on his raincoat and his usual suit of clothes and an um- brella. Up to Christmas I used to run the elevator, then they put me on the fourth floor to clean up. I cleaned up twice a week on the first floor under Mr. Holloway’s directions.
The lady I saw in Mr. Frank’s office Thanksgiving day was a tall built lady, heavy weight, she was nice looking, and she had on a blue looking dress with white dots in it and a grayish looking coat with kind of tails to it. The coat was open like that and she had on white slippers and stockings. On Thanksgiving day Mr. Frank told me to come to his office. I have never seen any cot or bed down in the basement. I refused to write for the police the first time. I told them I couldn’t write.
I am 27 years old. The last job I had was working for Dr. Palmer. I worked for him a year and a half. I worked before that for Orr Stationery Company for three or four months. Before that I worked for S.S. Gordon. Before that I worked for Adams Woodward and Dr. Honeywell. Got my first job eleven years ago with Mr. S.M. Truitt. Next job was with W.S. Coates. I can’t spell his name.
I can’t read and write good. I can’t read the newspapers good. No, sir; I don’t read the news- paper. I never do, I have tried, I found I couldn’t and I quit. I can’t read a paper right through. I can’t go right straight down through the page, and that’s the reason I don’t read newspapers, I can’t get any sense out of them. There is some little letters like” dis” and” dat” that I can read. The other things I don’t understand. No, I can’t spell “dis” and “dat.” Yes, I can spell “school,” and I can’t spell “collar,” I can spell “shirts.” I can spell “shoes,” and “hat.” I spell “cat” with a “k.” I can spell “dog,” and most simple little words like that. I don’t know about spelling “mother.” I can spell “papa.” I spell it p-a-p-a. I can’t spell “‘father ” or “‘jury” or “judge” or “stockings.” I never did go to school further than the first grade. I went to school about a year. I can spell” day,” but not “daylight,” I can spell “beer” but not “whiskey.” I couldn’t read the name “whiskey.” No, I can’t read any letter on that picture there (Exhibit A, State).
I can’t figure except with my fingers. I know the figures as far as eight, as far as twelve. I knows more about counting than I do about figuring. I don’t know what year it was I went to school. I worked for Truitt about two years, for Mr. Coates five years, for Mr. Woodward and Mr. Honeywell about a year and a pressing club about two years, Orr Stationery Company three or four months, Dr. Palmer about a year and a half, and then I went to work for the pencil factory.
Mr. Herbert Schiff employed me at the pencil factory. Sometimes Mr. Schiff paid me off, sometimes Mr. Gantt, sometimes Mr. Frank. I don’t remember when I saw Mr. Frank pay me off or how many times. I drawed my money very seldom.
I would always have somebody else draw it for me. I told Mr. Holloway to let Gordon Bailey draw my money mostly. He’s the one they call “Snowball.” The reason why I didn’t draw it myself I would be owing some of the boys around the factory and I didn’t have it to pay, and I would leave the factory about half past eleven so that I didn’t have to pay it, and then I would have Snowball draw my money for me mostly. I would see him afterwards and he would give me the money. Sometimes I would go down through the basement out the back way to keep away from them.
The reason I let them draw my money I owed some of them, and some of them owed me and I wanted them to pay me first before I paid them. I didn’t want to get my money on the inside because I didn’t want them to see such a little I was drawing to what they were drawing. I wasn’t drawing but $6.05. Snowball was drawing $6.05. As to who it was I didn’t want to see what I was drawing, there was one named Walter Pride; he’s been there five years. He said he drew $12.00 a week. Then there was Joe Pride, he told me he drew $8.40 a week. They were down in the basement and asked me how much I was drawing. I told them it wasn’t none of their business. Then there was a fellow named Fred. I don’t know how much he drew. The next one was the fireman. I don’t know how much he drew. There were two or three others, but I didn’t have no talk with them. I was just hiding what I drew from Walter Pride. As to whether I couldn’t draw my money after Walter drew his without his knowing it, well he would always be down there waiting for me. As to whether I couldn’t get my money without his being behind me and seeing what I got, he could see if I tore open the envelope. I had to open it to pay them with. That’s the reason I didn’t go and draw my money. I know I could have put it in my pocket, but I couldn’t tear it open unless I took it out. Yes, the reason I didn’t draw my money was because I didn’t want to pay them. That’s the reason I let Snowball draw my money. They could have slipped up behind me and looked. As to whether I couldn’t walk off and keep them from seeing it, if I didn’t tear it open, then they would keep up with me until I did. He would follow me around.
No, I wasn’t trying to keep out of paying them. As to what I was trying to do, if they paid me then I would pay them. The way I liked to settle with them, I liked to take them to the beer saloon and buy twice as much as they get. If I was there when they come in on me, I would say, “I owe you, let’s drink it up.” Yes, I would get out of it if I could, but if they saw me walk up and pay them that way. I paid Walter Pride sometimes that way and sometimes the other way. I would say, “I owe you fifteen cents, I buy three beers, and you owe me fifteen cents, and that be three beers.” I say if I would be in the beer saloon when they come in there, I would do that, but if I could get out before they saw me, I would be gone.
I never did know what time the watchman come there on Saturday, or any Saturday. I never have seen the night watchman in the factory. I have seen young Mr. Kendrick come and get his money. He always comes somewhere about two o’clock to get his money. I have seen him lots of times Saturday and get his money. He always got it from Mr. Frank at two o’clock.
No, I didn’t know Newt Lee. I heard them say there was a negro night watchman, but I never did know that he was a negro. I knew they paid employees off at twelve o’clock. I don’t know what time the night watchman would come there to work. Mr. Holloway stays until 2:30.
I couldn’t tell the first time I ever watched for Mr. Frank. Sometimes during the last summer, somewhere just about in July. As to what he said to get me to watch for him that was on a Saturday, I would be there sweeping and Mr. Frank come out and called me in his office. I always worked until half past four in the evening. I would leave about half past twelve, ring out and come back about half past one or two. Sometimes I would ring in when I came back and sometimes I wouldn’t. I ringed in every morning when I came. I never did ring in much. I would do it after they got after me about it. It was my habit not to do it. As to how they would know how much to pay me if I didn’t ring in, I knew they paid me $1.10 a day, all the time. No, they didn’t pay me by the clock punches, they paid me by the day, they paid me 11 c. an hour. Sometimes I would punch the clock when I got there; that was my duty.
Sometimes I was paid when I didn’t work, I don’t know how that happened, but Mr. Frank would come and tell me I didn’t take out that money for the time you lost last week. I don’t know on what date he ever did that on. Yes, I always got my money in envelopes. As to how they would know how much to put in the envelope, when I didn’t punch, they would come and ask if I was here every time I didn’t ring in, and they would ask Mr. Holloway if I was here. If the clock didn’t show any punch, they would ask me if I was here at that hour. No they wouldn’t ask how many hours I was here, they would just ask if I was here a certain hour and then they would pay me for the full day, whether I punched the clock or not, just so I punched it in the morning.
The lady that was with Mr. Frank the time I watched for him sometime last July was Miss Daisy Hopkins. It would always be somewhere between 3 and 3:30. I was sweeping on the second floor. Mr. Frank called me in his office. There was a lady in there with him. That was Miss Daisy Hopkins. She was present when he talked to me. He said “You go down there and see nobody don’t come up and you will have a chance to make some money.”
The other lady had gone out to get that young man, Mr. Dalton. I don’t know how long she had been gone. She came back after a while with Mr. Dalton. They came upstairs to Mr. Frank’s office, stayed there ten or fifteen minutes. They came back down, they didn’t go out and she says, “All right, James.” About an hour after that Mr. Frank came down. This lady and man after she said “All right, James” went down through the trap door into the basement. There’s a place on the first floor that leads into another department and there’s a trap door in there and a stairway that leads down in the basement, and they pull out that trap door and go down in the basement. I opened the trap door for them. The reason I opened the trap door because she said she was ready, I knew where she was going because Mr. Frank told me to watch, he told me where they were going.
I don’t know how long they stayed down there. I don’t know when they came back. I watched the door all the time. Mr. Dalton gave me a quarter and went out laughing and the lady went up the steps. Then the ladies came down and left, and then Mr. Frank came down after they left. That was about half past four. He gave me a quarter and I left and then he left.
The next Saturday I watched was right near the same thing. It was about the last of July or the first of August. The next Saturday I watched for him about twelve o’clock he said “You know what you done for me last Saturday, I want to put you wise for this Saturday.” I said, “All right, what time ?” He said, “Oh, about half past.”
After Mr. Holloway left, Miss Daisy Hopkins came on in into the office, Mr. Frank came out of the office, popped his fingers, bowed his head and went back into the office. I was standing there by the clock. Yes, he popped his fingers and bowed to me, and then I went down and stood by the door. He stayed there that time about half an hour and then the girl went out. He gave me half a dollar this time.
The next time I watched for him and Mr. Dalton too, somewhere along in the winter time, before Thanksgiving Day, somewhere about the last part of August. Yes, that’s somewhere near the winter. This time he spoke to me on the fourth floor in the morning. Gordon Bailey was standing there when he spoke to me. He said, “I want to put you wise again for to-day.”
The lady that came in that day was one who worked on the fourth floor; it was not Miss Daisy Hopkins. A nice looking lady, kind of slim. She had hair like Mr. Hooper’s. She had a green suit of clothes on. When Miss Daisy Hopkins came she had on a black skirt and white waist the first time. I don’t know the name of that lady that works on the fourth floor. Yes, I have seen her lots of times at the factory, but I don’t know her name. She went right to Mr. Frank’s office, then I went and watched. She stayed about half an hour and come out. Mr. Frank went out of the factory and then came back.
I stayed there and waited for him. He said, “I didn’t take out that money.” I said, “Yes, I seed you didn’t.” He said “That’s all right, old boy, I don’t want you to say anything to Mr. Herbert or Mr. Darley about what’s going on around here.”
Next time I watched for him was Thanksgiving Day. I met Mr. Frank that morning about eight o’clock. He said “A lady will be in here in a little while, me and her are going to chat, I don’t want you to do no work, I just want you to watch.”
In about half an hour the lady came. I didn’t know that lady, she didn’t work at the factory. I think I saw her in the factory two or three nights before Thanksgiving Day in Mr. Frank’s office. She was a nice looking lady. I think she had on black clothes. She was very tall, heavy built lady. After she came in that Thanksgiving Day morning, I closed the door after he stamped for me to close it. She went upstairs towards Mr. Frank’s office. Mr. Frank came out there and stamped, and I closed the door. Mr. Frank said, “I’ll stamp after this lady comes and you go and close the door and turn the night latch.” That’s the first time he told me about the night lock. And he says, “If everything is all right you kick against the door,” and I kicked against the door. After an hour and a half Mr. Frank came down and unlocked the doors and says, “Everything is all right.” He then went and looked up the street and told the lady to come on downstairs. After she came down, she said to Mr. Frank, “Is that the nigger ?” and Mr. Frank said, “Yes,” and she said, “Well, does he talk much ?” and he says, “No, he is the best nigger I have ever seen.” Mr. Frank called me in the office and gave me $1.25.
The lady had on a blue skirt with white dots in it and white slippers and white stockings and had a gray tailor-made coat, with pieces of velvet on the edges of it. The velvet was black and the cloth of the coat was gray. She had on a black hat with big black feathers.
I left a little before 12 o’clock. I didn’t see anybody else there that day at the office.
The next time I watched was way after Christmas, on a Saturday about the middle of January–somewhere about the first or middle. It was right after New Year, one or two, or three or four days after. It was on a Saturday. He said a young man and two ladies would be coming. That was that Saturday morning at half past seven. I was standing by the side of Gordon Bailey when he come and told me, and he said I could make a piece of money off that man. Yes, Snowball could hear what he said.
The man and ladies came about half past two or three o’clock. They stayed there about two hours. I didn’t know either one of the ladies. I can’t describe what either one of them had on. The man was tall, slim built, a heavy man. I have seen him at the factory talking to Holloway, he didn’t work there. I have seen him often talking to Holloway, through the week.
You asked me what I did the second Saturday after I watched for him, well, I don’t remember. As to what I did the Saturday I watched for him the second time, I disremember what I did. The Saturday after that, I think about the first of August, I did some more watching for him. I don’t remember what I did the Saturday before Thanksgiving Day. I don’t remember what I did the Saturday after Thanksgiving Day. I don’t remember what I did the next Saturday. I don’t know, sir, what I did the next Saturday.
The next Saturday I did some watching for him. I watched for him somewhere about the last of November after Thanksgiving Day. No, I don’t remember any of those dates. Couldn’t tell you to save my life what time I left home the first time I watched for him. I couldn’t tell you what time I got to the factory the second time I watched for him, nor what time I left home. I don’t know whether I drew my money on the first Saturday I watched for him. I disremember whether anybody else drew my money for me the second Saturday I watched for him. I don’t know how much I drew. I couldn’t tell you whether I drew my money Thanksgiving Day or not. I don’t know how much I drew. I don’t remember what time I got down or what time I left. I don’t know when I got to the factory the day before Thanksgiving, or how long I worked there. I don’t remember how many hours I worked the first Saturday I watched for him or the second, or the third, or Thanksgiving Day. No, I don’t know how much I drew on those days.
The first time I was in prison was in September. The next was sometime before Christmas, I can’t remember the date. I was there thirty days. It was somewhere along in October. A year before that I was in prison too, about thirty days. I have been in prison three times since I have been with the pencil company. I have been in prison about three times within the last three or four years. I have been in prison seven or eight times within the last four or five years. I can’t give you any of the dates, nor how long I stayed there any of the times that I was there. I don’t know what month or what day it was, nor how long I stayed there.
I knew the factory was not going to be run on April 26th. Yes, Snowball and I drank beer together sometimes in the building. Yes, we used to go down in the basement and drink together, but he ain’t the only man.
I never was drunk at the factory. Snowball wasn’t there the first Saturday I watched for Mr. Frank. I think he laid off. I don’t know whether he was there the second or third Saturdays, I didn’t see him Thanksgiving morning, but I saw him the day before Thanksgiving. That was the time that Mr. Frank told me to watch for him. He talked to me before Snowball. I don’t know whether Snowball was there in January when I watched. Snowball was there in January in the box room when Mr. Frank told me to watch for him. I don’t know whether Mr. Frank knew he was there or not. There were eight niggers in all working in the factory. Snowball, the fireman and me did just plain manual labor, the rest of the negroes had better jobs. Snowball, the fireman and I were the last negroes to get jobs there. We were the new darkies; the others had been working there before we went there.
Mr. Frank used to laugh and jolly with me. I couldn’t tell you the first time he did this. Mr. Darley has seen him jollying me. They would jolly me together. They would play and go on around there with me. It has been so long ago I can’t tell you any of the jokes. Mr. Schiff and Mr. Holloway has seen him joking with me. He would say, “Come on I am going to make a graveyard down there in the basement if you don’t hurry and bring that elevator back up here.” Mr. Holloway heard him say that. Mr. Schiff has seen him playing with me. He would goose me and punch me and tell me I was a good negro. I don’t remember anything else he said. Yes, Mr. Darley would goose me and kick me a little bit, just playing with me. Mr. Schiff would crack jokes with me. I don’t remember the time.
The time Mr. Frank came in the elevator and told me about watching for him, he didn’t know Snowball was in there. Snowball was standing right there by me. Mr. Frank could have seen him and he could have heard anything that was said. He saw Snowball standing there.
I have been at the factory over two years. I don’t remember the day or month I went there. It was some time in 1910. I don’t remember whether it was summer or winter. Miss Daisy Hopkins worked on the fourth floor in 1912. I don’t know when she quit. I saw her working from June, 1912, up until about Christmas. Yes, I worked on the same floor with her, I don’t know whether she worked there in 1913. Miss Daisy was a low lady, kind of heavy, and she was pretty, low, chunky kind of heavy weight. I don’t know what color hair she had or eyes, or her complexion. She was light skinned. She looked to be about twenty-three. I know she was there in June, because she gave me a note to take down to Mr. Schiff. I remember that because the note had June on it. Mr. Schiff said it had “June” on it when he read it. I can’t read but he read that note and he read “June something,” it was on the outside of the note. It was on the back of the note. “June” was written on the back of that note. She wrote the note and folded it up and he read “June” on the back of it and he laughed at it. The reason I know she left the factory during Christmas because Mr. Dalton told me she wasn’t coming back. He told me that one Saturday coming down to the factory.
I never have seen Mr. Dalton except at the factory. No, he doesn’t work there. I saw him somewhere along in January. He came out that time by himself. He and a lady had been down in the basement. The last time I saw him the detectives brought him down at the station house and asked if I had ever seen him in there. I saw Mr. Holloway at the factory the first Saturday I watched for Mr. Frank. The next Saturday I watched, he was sick and wasn’t there. He was sick two Saturdays in June.
I disremember whether I saw Mr. Schiff and Mr. Darley. I remember seeing Mr. Darley at the factory on Thanksgiving Day. I don’t remember what time he left. I couldn’t tell you anybody who came to the factory the first Saturday I watched. The second time I think there were some young ladies working up on the fourth floor. I don’t know about the third time. I don’t know whether anybody was working there Thanksgiving or not. I didn’t see Mr. Schiff at all. I will swear that he was not in the office with Mr. Frank.
I don’t know whether any ladies were working there the next time or not. I have been back in the metal department, but I never have been on the right hand side where the machines are. I have swept on the second floor, but not in the metal department. I don’t know where those vats are back there. I don’t know what you are talking about. I don’t know anything about the plating room. I never have been in Mr. Quinn’s office. I have put disinfectants in the ladies’ and gentlemen’s closets back there. I wouldn’t go inside. I would only go to the door. I stood outside of the door and sprinkled it in a little way.
Outside of that, and going to Mr. Quinn’s office, I have never been on the left hand side of the factory. I have been there where they wash the lead at, and I have stuck bills in Mr. Quinn’s office. Yes, I have been back in there where that dark place is. I don’t know how many times I have stacked some boxes back there. I have been back there three times altogether. Sometime before Christmas. Yes, sir, you can see from the top of the stairway back in there. I have been back there three times altogether. Sometime before Christmas.
Yes, sir; you can see from the top of the stairway to Mr. Frank’s inside office. A man sitting at Mr. Frank’s desk can see people coming up the stairway if he is watching for them. If the safe door is open I don’t hardly think he can see them. If it is shut he can. I am certain of that. I thought you were talking about the third floor. He couldn’t see people coming up from the first floor. He can see them after they get along by the clock.
I left the factory 5:30 Friday afternoon, before the factory stopped. I think I punched when I went out. One of them was ten minutes fast. That was the one on the right, I left there without drawing my money because I knew I wasn’t going to draw but $2.75 and I owed the watchman a dollar and I knowed I wouldn’t have enough for me and to pay him and I told Mr. Holloway to let Snowball draw it for me. Snowball drew it for me and met me at the shoe shop at the corner of Alabama and Forsyth Street. He gave me $3.75. I wasn’t supposed to draw but $2.75, and Mr. Frank taken that dollar for the watchman and stuck an extra dollar in my envelope and that made $3.75.
I don’t remember how many beers I drank Friday. Yes, I told Mr. Scott I got up at 9 o’clock that morning. That wasn’t true. I ate breakfast about seven. Yes, I told Mr. Black I ate at 9:30. That wasn’t true. I left my house between 7 and 7:30. I told Mr. Scott I left somewhere between 10 and 10:30. No, that wasn’t true. I got to Peters Street about 25 minutes to 8. I don’t know how long I stayed there. Some things in my affidavit that I made that are true. Yes, there are some things in my last affidavit that are true.
I was arrested on the first of May. I sent for Mr. Black to come down when I made my first statement on May 18th. Yes, I denied I had been to the factory in that statement. I made that statement in the detectives’ office. Mr. Black and Mr. Scott were present. They didn’t question two or three hours. I did some writing before then, before that statement was made. Yes, I know I did some writing before May 18th. I did some writing in Chief’s office that Sunday. I told Black I bought whiskey on Peters Street at about 10:30. I told them I paid forty cents for ft. I don’t remember telling them that I bought the whiskey at 11 o’clock. Yes, I told them I went into the Butt-In Saloon after I went to Earley’s for the whiskey.
Some of it I told them was the truth and some of it wasn’t. They asked me if I was lying and I held my head down. I held back some of the truth, and when they asked me if that was the truth I hung my head down. I didn’t want to give the man away, but I wanted to tell some and let him see what I was going to do and see if he wasn’t going to stick to his promise as he had said [Frank’s promise to help Conley if he “kept his mouth shut.” — Ed.].
I told them I went into Butt-In Saloon and saw some negroes at tables shooting dice and I won ninety cents and bought a glass of beer. I told them that I went to three beer saloons. I told them after I went home at 2:30, I went to Joe Carr’s saloon and got 15c. worth of beer. I don’t remember telling them that I went there between 3:30 and four o’clock.
The detectives talked to me nearly every day after I made my first statement. Sometimes hours at a time. No, they didn’t cuss me.
Yes, I sent for Black on May 24th. When the statement came out in the papers that’s the time I sent for him. As to how I knew it came out in the papers, I heard the boys across the street hollering extra papers. Mr. Black came down after I sent for him and I told him it’s awful hot in here, and I told him I was going to tell him something, but I wasn’t going to tell him all of it now. I told him that I would tell him part and hold part back. Scott and Black were both there.
Yes, I told Mr. Black on May 24th, the time I made the second statement, that I helped tote the little girl. I sure remember that. I think I told them about Mr. Frank getting me to watch for him, that he told me he struck a girl and for me to go back and get her. I didn’t give Mr. Frank clear away that time. I kept some things back. I don’t remember now whether I told them at that time or not. I don’t know whether I told them about going down the basement or not. The first time I told them I wrote the notes on Friday. They didn’t tell me my story wouldn’t fit. I don’t remember them telling me anything about changing my statement. I told them that was all I had to say.
They never told me they wanted me to tell anything else. They didn’t say anything to me that it didn’t sound right. Mr. Black talked to me right smart and Mr. Lanford talked to me a little. No, they never talked to me a whole day. As to why I changed my statement from Friday to Saturday, I put it on Saturday, because I was at the factory on Saturday. As to why I didn’t put myself there on Saturday, the blame would be put on me. I didn’t want them to know that I had written any notes for Mr. Frank. Yes, in that statement I told the officers I was going to tell the whole truth.
I told them that I got up at nine o’clock, because there was nothing doing at the factory that day at the time. I said I was there at 9 o’clock, because he had done told me where to meet him at. Yes, I told them that I was going to tell the whole truth. Yes, the reason I told them I left home at 9 or 9:30, because there was not anything doing at the factory at that time. I told them it was about 9 o’clock when I looked at the clock, because I don’t know what time it was when I looked at the clock, and I told them I had some steak and some sausage for breakfast and a piece of liver and I drank some tea and bread. Well, there was some sausage, but I don’t know whether I ate it or not. Yes, I had steak, liver and sausage for breakfast. I know I ate the steak and a piece of liver, and drank a cup of tea and ate some bread. I got up that morning at six o’clock. Yes, I told the officers I got up at 9 or 9:30. I don’t remember anything else I told them. Yes, I told them that I went straight to Peters Street and went in the first beer saloon there, and drank two beers and gave a fellow a beer, that had a whip around his neck. I told them three saloons and I called two names. I don’t know whether I told them about this whiskey or not. I told them I bought it between 10 and 10:30.
No, that is not true. I told them that on account of my saying I didn’t leave home until about 9 or 9:30. I bought it about a quarter to eight. The reason I told these lies about the time was because I didn’t want to put myself at the factory twice, because there wasn’t anything doing at the factory that morning. That is the only reason I told that story.
I don’t know when the first time was I told them I got there at 8 o’clock instead of 10 or half past, it was after I got out of jail up there. I guess I made most of these changes after I got out of jail. I don’t know who the detective was I told about my not leaving home at 9 o’clock. Four of them were talking to me, all at the same time. I think it was Starnes and Campbell that I told that to, about changing the time. I don’t remember whether I told them then that I was going to tell the whole truth. I told them that after I got out of jail, after I got back to headquarters. If you tell a story you know you’ve got to change it. A lie won’t work, and you know you’ve got to tell the whole truth.
Yes, I knew it was bound to come when I told it the first time. I didn’t tell the whole truth then, because I didn’t want to give the whole thing away then. In the statement where I told about my moving the little girl for Mr. Frank, the reason why I didn’t correct it then about the time I bought the liquor, I don’t know whether I did it then or not, but I did tell them.
I told them I drank four or five beers that morning. I told them at the first saloon I bought two beers. I didn’t tell them I bought any wine at that time. I told them I had some wine put in my beer. What they call wine. It wasn’t any wine though. I don’t know whether I told them that in the statement I made about moving the little girl or not. The wine was put in my beer at Mr. Earl’s beer saloon on Saturday morning. I told that to Mr. Black and Mr. Scott, I don’t remember when.
As to my not testifying about that yesterday, you didn’t ask me that. I remember telling you that yesterday. I remember saying I didn’t buy any wine. No, I didn’t say anything about putting beer in wine yesterday, but I remember I said something about putting wine in beer. I know I told you that yesterday.
I don’t remember telling them I started straight from Peters Street to Capital City Laundry. I told them I started for the laundry after leaving Mr. Frank at the factory. If they have got it down there, I must have said so. I don’t remember saying it. I told them I met Mr. Frank at the corner of Nelson and Forsyth Street before I went to the factory. Yes, I told them I went from Peters Street and met him at the corner of Nelson and Forsyth before I went to the factory. As to why I told them that story, because I did meet him there. No, I didn’t go straight from Peters Street to meet him at the corner of Nelson and Forsyth as I told them. I went straight from Peters Street to the pencil factory.
I don’t remember when the first time I told the truth about it. I told it either to Mr. Starnes, Mr. Campbell, Mr. Black or Mr. Scott. I told it after I got out of jail, I remember telling the officers when he said “Ah, ha,” when I met him at the corner. I don’t remember telling the officers that he asked me where I was going and I told him I was going to the Capital City Laundry to see my mother. I don’t remember saying that to the officers. If I did say that it was not the truth. As to why I lied about that, because I did tell Mr. Frank down there when I left the factory that I was going to see my mother. I told the officers he stayed at Montag’s about 20 minutes. I did tell you yesterday that I didn’t have any idea how long he stayed there, because I haven’t any idea now. As to why I didn’t say yesterday that it was 20 minutes, because you didn’t ask me. I didn’t tell Mr. Dorsey how long it was, because he didn’t ask me what I told detectives about it, but I told detectives that. I told them that story because I didn’t have any idea how long he stayed there. I don’t know how long Mr. Frank stayed there. I told the officers 20 minutes as that was the best I could do about it, so I just told him 20 minutes.
I told the detectives about wanting me to watch for him when I got back to the factory. I don’t know why I didn’t tell them that at the time I told them about moving the body. I don’t remember who I told it to or when, but I told them. I did tell them about Mr. Frank stamping his foot. I don’t know whether I told them at the time I told about helping move the body. I told it to Mr. Scott, Mr. Black, Mr. Campbell, Mr. Starnes and Mr. Dorsey. Mr. Starnes and Mr. Campbell wasn’t in there sometimes when I told it. No, I didn’t tell it to Mr. Scott and Mr. Black. They dropped the case and Mr. Starnes and Mr. Campbell taken it up.
They came down and was talking to me for a month or more in my cell. Yes, I told Mr. Black about Frank stomping his foot and Mr. Scott. I told them all about it. Yes, I told the detectives that the first party I saw going up the factory after I got back from Montag’s was Miss Mattie Smith. That was a mistake. I didn’t see Mr. Darley go up after I got back from Montag’s. No, I didn’t say yesterday that I saw him go up after I got back from Montag’s. I don’t know whether Mr. Darley saw me or not. I was sitting right there at the box. He could have seen me if he had looked, so could Miss Mattie Smith. The rest of them could have seen me if they had looked. Yes, I told the officers the first time I saw them go up was after I got back from Montag’s. That was not so. I was just mistaken about it. Don’t know when I corrected the mistake or to whom. Yes, I stated it to Mr. Dorsey. It was after I came from jail. I have corrected it to Mr. Starnes and Mr. Campbell too.
It was about 11:30 when Mr. Darley left the factory, right after we got back from Montag’s. It may have been about 11 o’clock. Miss Mattie Smith left the factory somewhere about 9:30. It was after we got back from Montag’s that I saw Mr. Darley leave. Mr. Holloway and the peg-legged negro went upstairs and came down before Mr. Darley left the factory. They could have seen me sitting on the box, as they came out the factory. Mr. Holloway left about 10 or 15 minutes after Mr. Darley left. It may have been four or five minutes. After Mr. Holloway left, I told them Mr. Quinn came in. I may have told them that a lady dressed in green was the next one. That wasn’t true. A lady in green did go up before Mr. Darley came down. She came down before Holloway and Darley left. If I told the officers that she went up after they left, I made a mistake.
Mr. Quinn was the next man that went up after Mr. Holloway came down. Yes, I said that yesterday. Yes, I said yesterday Mr. Quinn was the last man I saw come down. No, I didn’t say yesterday Miss Monteen Stover came down after Mr. Quinn came down. I might have told the officers that I saw Mr. Holloway return upstairs, turn to the right toward Hunter Street and go in the factory. If I did, I made a mistake. I don’t remember all the mistakes I made. No, I have never told about a lady going up there after them six or seven minutes, I was mistaken. I don’t know whether I have ever corrected that mistake or not. She went upstairs and Mr. Quinn went up and came down before she did. If I told the officers she stayed there 7 or 8 minutes and came right down, I made a mistake. I don’t think I corrected that mistake at all. I don’t know how long it was after she came down before anybody else went up and down. If I told the officers it was 10 or 15 minutes that was a mistake. I don’t think I corrected that mistake at all. I haven’t got any idea at all how long before the lady in green came down that anybody else went up. Yes, I told Mr. Scott and Mr. Black that the only people who went up at all were Miss Mattie Smith, Darley, Holloway and the woman in green, and nobody went up and down until Mr. Frank whistled.
No, that wasn’t true. The reason why I told that story was because I didn’t want them to know that these other people passed by me, for they might accuse me. The reason why I didn’t tell them was because I didn’t want people to think that I was the one that done the murder. I told them that I saw those four men go up because I didn’t think they saw me sitting there, and I didn’t tell of seeing the other people for fear they would report on me. The reason why I told the police about those four going up there, because that is all I could remember that went up and down. I don’t know when my memory got fresher about other people going up and down. I think it was after I got out of jail. I think I corrected that with Mr. Starnes, Mr. Campbell and Mr. Dorsey, at police headquarters.
After I corrected with the detectives down at headquarters, they took me to Mr. Dorsey’s office. I have been in Mr. Dorsey’s office three times. Mr. Dorsey was down at headquarters with me I think about four times. As to whether it took Mr. Dorsey about seven times to get my testimony straight, it didn’t take him that long to get it straight, it took that long for me. As to why I didn’t tell it all, I didn’t want to tell it all. I was intending to hold back some. I didn’t want to tell it all right at one time. I just told a little and kept back a little. Yes, and Mr. Dorsey went down seven times while I was telling some and holding back some. They didn’t ask me to take back any stories. No, it didn’t take Mr. Dorsey seven times to tell the story. Yes, I said I added to it every time he went down. But he wouldn’t came back and try to do anything with it. I didn’t tell the officers that I went to a moving picture show after I left the factory. I said I looked at the pictures from the outside. I told them I went on Peters Street and looked at the pictures from the outside. I stayed there about ten or fifteen minutes. I drank two glasses of beer.
I don’t know whether it was in the first, second or third statement that I told about watching for Mr. Frank. Two of the detectives were there.
Yes, I locked the front door that Saturday of the murder. I don’t know what time. It was somewhere after dinner. I can’t give you any estimate. It was later than 12 o’clock. It wasn’t one o’clock, because it was four minutes to one after I went upstairs and came downstairs and unlocked the door. Yes, I heard the stamping before I locked the door, and I heard the scream before I heard the stamping. After he stamped for me I went and locked the door. I couldn’t tell to save my life how long the door stayed locked. I was upstairs between the time I locked the door and the time I went down and unlocked it. I unlocked the door before I went upstairs. I locked the door when he stamped and I unlocked it when he whistled. As soon as he whistled I unlocked the door and went upstairs. Mr. Frank sent me back in the metal department. He wouldn’t go back there with me.
When he whistled that was the signal for me to unlock the door and the stamping was for me to unlock the door. He showed me how to lock the door that day. He showed me how to lock the door on Thanksgiving Day too. I don’t know how he came to show it to me again. I guess he thought I forgot it. When I went down to leave the door were unlocked, both doors were unlocked.
The only thing I remember Mr. Frank telling me was not to let Mr. Darley see me around the door, that a young lady would be up there after awhile to chat, and he wanted me to watch for him.
No, he didn’t tell me what he wanted me to meet him at Nelson and Forsyth Street for. Yes, I could have come back to the factory just as well as going to meet him at Nelson and Forsyth Street if he had told me that. I don’t know why he told me to meet him at Nelson and Forsyth. I don’t remember telling the officers that I met him accidentally at Nelson and Forsyth Street. Mr. Frank sayed at Montag’s about an hour. Mr. Frank went to Montag’s between 10 and 10:30 and stayed about an hour. I guess it was about a half an hour. Mr. Frank didn’t say a thing about why he wanted me at the corner of Nelson and Forsyth Street.
Before we went to Montag’s he said he didn’t want me to say anything to Mr. Darley that there was going to be a young lady there after a while, and he told me that again after we came back from Montag’s. Mr. Frank gave me the signal about stamping and whistling on Thanksgiving Day and he repeated it again that day. I told yesterday how he done it, like I am telling now. I think I am telling the truth now.
We had been hack from Montag’s about five minutes when the lady in the green dress went up. She stayed up there a good little while, ten or fifteen minutes. I didn’t tell the officers the peg- legged negro went up first. I didn’t tell them in the first statement. I may have told them in the next statement. The peg-legged negro didn’t stay upstairs no time. Came back down with Mr. Holloway. Mr. Darley came down five or ten minutes after Mr. Holloway came down. Yes, that was after he came back from Montag’s. I have no idea what time it was. After Holloway came down, the lady with the green dress came down. She went on out and Mr. Quinn came in. He went up and came down before Monteen Stover came in and before Mary Phagan came in. Yes, I am certain of that.
No one else came in after Mr. Quinn except Mary Phagan. Mr. Quinn, Monteen Stover and Mary Phagan went in almost the same time. They went and came out almost together. Quinn first, Mary Phagan next and Monteen Stover next. Mr. Quinn had already come out of the factory when Mary Phagan went up. I didn’t see Mrs. Barrett, or Miss Corinthia Hall or Miss Hattie Hall or Alonzo Mann, or Emma Clarke. I didn’t see none of them. I never saw Mrs. White go in there at all that day. I was sitting on the box all the time. I got up twice to make water. I made water against the elevator door, right in front of the elevator shaft.
Miss Stover had done gone then, and Mr. Quinn also. I went to sleep after Miss Monteen Stover came down. Don’t know how long I was asleep, maybe ten or fifteen minutes. I heard the scream before I went to sleep, before Monteen Stover ever went in there. Mr. Quinn had already gone.
I told the officers I didn’t see Mary Phagan go up at all. I didn’t tell them I heard any scream. I don’t know when I first told that story. I told Mr. Starnes and Mr. Campbell. That was after I got out of jail. I said I heard the scream before I went to sleep, which I did. Monteen Stover came up and went down before I went to sleep. I told Mr. Starnes and Mr. Campbell about somebody running back on tiptoes. I don’t know when I told them. He woke me up stamping, then I locked the door, and went to the box and kicked on the side of the elevator door. It was about ten or fifteen minutes after he stamped that I heard him whistle. When he whistled I unlocked the door.
I don’t know when I first told about Mr. Frank standing at the top of the stairs, trembling and nervous. I told Mr. Dorsey, Mr. Starnes and Campbell. I don’t know why I didn’t tell it the day I told them I was going to tell the whole truth. I didn’t mean to keep back anything then. That day I told them everything I remembered.
When I got to the top of the stairs, Mr. Frank had that cord in his hands. I don’t remember when I first told about that. I didn’t tell it that day when I said I was telling the whole truth, I just didn’t remember it. When I told Black and Scott that I was telling the whole truth I didn’t say anything about Mr. Frank having hit the little girl. I thought I had told them that. I have told that to some of the officers. I remember now that I told them that. He told me to get her out of there some way or other. He didn’t say she was dead. I didn’t know she was dead.
I went back there and found the cord around her neck. When I looked at the clock it was four minutes to one. That was after I went and seen the girl was dead, and he told me to bring her up there. I was standing at the steps. I could see the clock from there. Then I went back and got a piece of striped bed tick, something like your shirt there, had whitish looking stripes on it. I taken the cloth and spread it down and rolled the little girl in the cloth and tied it up. When I laid her down in the cloth, I tied the cloth around her. I did my best. Her feet were hanging out of the cloth, also her head.
If I didn’t tell Black and Scott anything about the hat and the slippers and the ribbon, they must not have asked me. I know I took the things and pitched them in front of the boiler. The elevator don’t hit hard when it hits the ground. The wheels at the top don’t make any noise. The motor makes a little noise, something like a June bug. The elevator hits the dirt at the bottom, but it don’t make any noise.
I left the factory about 1:30. The reason why I didn’t tell Scott and Black before I wrote four notes instead of two, they didn’t ask me how many I wrote. Another reason why is, because Mr. Frank taken that and folded it up like he wasn’t going to use it. I wrote three notes on white and one on green paper. The green one is the one he folded up like he wasn’t going to use it. I don’t know how long it took me to write those notes. I took me somewhere about two minutes and a half, I reckon.
The reason I didn’t tell Scott and Black about burning the body, because someone had done taken them off the case. Mr. Scott told me. The first time I told that was to Mr. Starnes and Mr. Campbell after I came back from jail. I don’t remember telling the officers that Mr. Frank told me he was going to send those notes to his folks up North. If they have got it down there I must have said it.
He told me he was going to write to his mother and tell her that I was a good negro. The reason I didn’t take the parasol down with the shoes, it was too far back for me to see it.
I got my hair cut last week. My lawyer sent the barber. They gave me a bath and bought me clean clothes. My wife gave me my shirt. I didn’t read any newspapers on Monday about this crime. It don’t do me no good because I can’t make any out. I didn’t try to read any that day. I washed that shirt on Thursday, May 1st, in the metal room about half past one or two.
As to how that dung came to be in the elevator shaft, when Mr. Frank had explained to me where he wanted to meet me and just as I started out of the place that negro drayman came in there with a sack of hay and I gave him a drink of whiskey that I bought at Earley’s saloon on Peters Street that morning, and he suggested that I go down in the basement and do it, there’s a light down there, and I went down the ladder and stopped right by the side of the elevator, in front of the elevator, somewhere about the edges of it.
No, I didn’t see the two white men go up and talk to Mr. Frank in his office that day. No, I didn’t see a man by the name of Mincey at the corner of Carter and Electric Avenue that day. I didn’t tell him that I killed a girl that day. I didn’t say I killed one to-day and I didn’t want to kill another. I didn’t tell Harlee Branch that Mary Phagan was murdered in the toilet room on the second floor, or that the body was stiff when I got back there, or that it took at least thirty minutes to get the body downstairs and write the notes. I don’t remember telling Miss Carson on May 1st, that Mr. Frank was innocent. I didn’t have any conversation with Miss Mary Pirk on April 28th and she didn’t say that I committed the crime and I didn’t shoot out of the room immediately after she said that I didn’t tell Miss Carson on Monday that I was drunk all day Saturday. I didn’t see her at all on Monday.
I didn’t tell Mr. Herbert Schiff on Monday that I was afraid to go on the street, that I would give a million dollars if I was a white man. I said if I was a white man I would go on out. I didn’t say nothing about no million dollars because I don’t know what it takes to make a million. I didn’t ask Miss Small on Monday what the extra had in it and I didn’t say Mr. Frank is just as innocent as you are. I didn’t ask Miss Fuss on Wednesday for an extra, I didn’t tell her that I thought Mr. Frank was as innocent as the angels in heaven.
I never was in jail until April 26th. I have been down at police head- quarters several times. First time I was arrested was for throwing rocks. I was a small boy then. I was arrested another time for fighting black boys, then I was arrested about drinking and disorderly, and the last time I was arrested was about fighting again. I never have fought with a white man or white woman.
Police officers took me down to jail and to [the] door where Mr. Frank was. I never did see Mr. Frank in jail. The last time I saw Mr. Frank was in the station house before I had talked. He looked at me and smiled and bowed his head.
While I was writing the notes, Mr. Frank took the pencil out of my hand and told me to rub out that “a” I had down there on the word “negro.” I saw Mary Phagan’s pocketbook, or mesh bag, in Mr. Frank’s office after he got back from the basement. It was lying on his desk. He taken it and put it in the safe. When I went back to see about the girl, it wouldn’t have taken more than about a minute to go down and lock and unlock the door. He had time enough to do it.
Mr. Scott talked to me about three hours and a half one Thursday. Mr. Frank told me he would send me away from here if they caught me. He would get me out on bond and send me away.
I never saw Mincey before seeing him at the station house in Mr. Lanford’s office. I had orders from Mr. Frank to write down how many boxes we needed and give it to him. I didn’t tell Mr. Black or Mr. Scott about the mesh bag because they didn’t ask me. I disremember when I first told about it. I think it was after I was in jail. I told Mr. Dorsey about it after I came out of jail.
Mr. Frank knew for a whole year that I could write. I used to write for him the word “Luxury,” “George Washington,” “Magnolia,” “Uncle Remus,” “Thomas Jefferson,” that’s the name of pencils. I spell “Uncle Remus” “O-n-e Rines. ” I spell “Luxury” I ‘ “L-u-s-t-r-i-s.” I spell ” I Thomas Jefferson” ” T-o-m J-e-f-f- or J-e-i-s-s.” I spell “George Washington” “J-o-e W-i-s-h- t-o-n.” After Mr. Frank found out what I meant he understood it. I spell “ox” “o-x.” Yes I wrote him orders to take money out of my wages.
The pocketbook was a wire looking whitish looking pocketbook, had a chain to it. You could take it and fold it up and hold it in one hand. When I wrote the word “Luxury” and “Thomas Jefferson,” I didn’t have anything at all to copy from. I was writing it down for Mr. Frank.
After Conley’s direct testimony, Leo Frank called it “the vilest and most amazing pack of lies ever conceived in the perverted brain of a wicked human being.” But, as you have read above, Conley held up well under the ferocious attack of the defense. He freely admitted that he had been confused on a few occasions and had lied in his first two statements — first, to protect himself, and second to protect Frank, who he still expected would come up with bail money and get him out of town — and he also provided a wealth of new detail about Leo Frank’s “chats” with young women.
At one point, Frank’s attorney Luther Rosser, referring to the recent haircut and clean set of clothes that Conley had been given, snidely remarked “They put some new clothes on you so the jury could see you like a dressed-up nigger” — possibly inflaming racial feelings among the all-White jury. It was widely believed at the time that Conley would be disbelieved by many simply because he was black and because Leo Frank, a white man, and Frank’s attorneys would contradict Conley and accuse him of the murder — a woe be unto any black man in 1913 Atlanta accused of harming a white girl.
Nevertheless Conley, a simple and poorly educated man, gave not an inch on his most damaging claims against Frank even when the most skilled attorneys money could buy cross-questioned him for more than 13 hours.
Much has been made of Conley’s testimony that Frank stated “I wanted to be with the little girl, and she refused me, and I struck her and I guess I struck her too hard and she fell and hit her head against something, and I don’t know how bad she got hurt. Of course you know I ain’t built like other men.” Conley himself said he thought that Frank meant by not being “built like other men” that he, Frank, was sexually abnormal in some way that prevented normal intercourse, adding that he had glimpsed Frank with young women in positions implying oral sex. Later medical testimony, however, would show no physical abnormality in Frank. But “I ain’t built like other men” might have had reference instead to Frank’s thin, light physique, and the implication that he might strike a girl and never imagine the blow could do her serious harm. Such a bit of self-exculpation is quite understandable under the circumstances — though the strangulation, evidently done to ensure her silence after she had been knocked down and injured, is disgusting and heinous in the extreme.
Testifying before Conley had been Helen Ferguson, who indicated that Frank would not give Mary’s pay to Mary’s friend (who had offered to take it to her) the day before the murder, suggesting that Frank wanted to ensure that Mary would come to him personally in his office the next day:
MISS HELEN FERGUSON, sworn for the State.
My name is Helen Ferguson, I worked at the National Pencil Company on Friday the 25th. I saw Mr. Frank Friday, April 25th, about 7 o’clock in the evening and asked for Mary Phagan’s money. Mr. Frank said “I can’t let you have it,” and before he said anything else I turned around and walked out.
I had gotten Mary’s money before, but I didn’t get it from Mr. Frank.
When I got Mary’s money before I went up there and called my number and called her number, and I got mine and hers. I didn’t ask the man that was paying off this time to let me have it. I don’t remember whether Mr. Schiff was in the office or not when I asked Mr. Frank for Mary’s money. Some of the office force were there, but I can’t recall their name.
I worked in the metal department about two years. I never saw little Mary Phagan in Mr. Frank’s office. I don’t think Mr. Frank knew my name, he knew my face. It has been some time since I asked for Mary’s pay by number. I do not believe that I ever saw Mr. Frank speak to Mary Phagan.
I don’t know who paid off on Friday, April 25th.
After Conley, Dr. Henry F. Harris was recalled to the stand with more autopsy testimony proving that the murder had been committed around noon on April 26. Though the defense tried to imply that the hour of death really couldn’t be determined, Dr. Harris’s words made it clearer than ever that Newt Lee could not have committed the crime, that the only possible killers were Frank or Conley, and that the bloody shirt found in Newt Lee’s trash barrel and Lee’s alleged time card with missing punches were evidence, not of Lee’s guilt, but of a malevolent effort by Frank partisans to shield the real murderer.
A low character, C.B. Dalton’s testimony confirmed Conley’s statement about his keeping watch for Frank during Frank’s trysts with young women:
C.B. DALTON, sworn for the State.
I know Leo M. Frank, Daisy Hopkins, and Jim Conley. I have visited the National Pencil Company three, four or five times. I have been in the office of Leo M. Frank two or three times. I have been down in the basement. I don’t know whether Mr. Frank knew I was in the basement or not, but he knew I was there. I saw Conley there and the night watchman, and he was not Conley. There would be some ladies in Mr. Frank’s office. Sometimes there would be two, and sometimes one. May be they didn’t work in the mornings and they would be there in the evenings.
I don’t recollect the first time I was in Mr. Frank’s office. It was last fall. I have been down there one time this year but Mr. Frank wasn’t there. It was Saturday evening. I went in there with Miss Daisy Hopkins. I saw some parties in the office but I don’t know them. They were ladies. Sometimes there would be two and sometimes more. I don’t know whether it was the stenographer or not.
I don’t recollect the next time I saw him in his office. I never saw any gentlemen but Mr. Frank in there. Every time I was in Mr. Frank’s office was before Christmas. Miss Daisy Hopkins introduced me to him. I saw Conley there one time this year and several times on Saturday evenings. Mr. Frank wasn’t there the last time. Conley was sitting there at the front door.
When I went down the ladder Miss Daisy went with me. We went back by the trash pile in the basement. I saw an old cot and a stretcher. I have been in Atlanta for ten years. I have never been away over a week. I saw Mr. Frank about two o’clock in the afternoon. There was no curtains drawn in the office. It was very light in there. I went in the first office, near the stairway. The night watchman I spoke of was a negro. I saw him about the first of January. I saw a negro night watchman there between September and December. I lived in Walton County for twenty years. I came right here from Walton County. I was absent from Walton County once for two or three years and lived in Lawrenceville. I have walked home from the factory with Miss Laura Atkins and Miss Smith.
I gave Jim Conley a half dozen or more quarters. I saw Mr. Frank in his office in the daytime. Mr. Frank had Coca-Cola, lemon and lime and beer in the office. I never saw the ladies in his office doing any writing.
RECALLED FOR CROSS EXAMINATION.
Andrew Dalton is my brother-in-law. John Dalton is a first cousin. I am the Dalton that went to the chain gang for stealing in Walton County in 1894. We all pleaded guilty. The others paid out. I don’t know how long I served. I stole a shop hammer. That was in case No. L. There were three cases and the sentences were concurrent. One of the other Daltons stole a plow and I don’t know what the other one stole. I was with them. In 1899 at the February term of Walton Superior Court I was indicted for helping steal [a] bale of cotton. In Gwinnett County I was prosecuted for stealing corn, but I came clear.
It has been 18 or 20 years since I have been in trouble. I was drunk with the two Dalton boys when we got into that hammer and plow stock scrape.
I don’t know whether I was indicted in 1906 in Walton County for selling liquor. I know Dan Hillman and I know Bob Harris. I don’t know whether I was indicted for selling liquor to them or not.
Miss Daisy Hopkins knows Mr. Frank. I have seen her talking to him and she told me about it.
Dalton’s checkered and criminal past was brought out by the defense, but since he was freely admitting involvement in immoral activities as part of his direct testimony, the revelation of his criminal record had little sting.
Several witnesses were called or recalled to clarify points made earlier in the trial; the most significant of these was Pinkerton agent Harry Scott:
HARRY SCOTT, re-called for State.
It took Jim Conley two or three minutes to write out the notes that I dictated to him [testing to see if Conley could have written the death notes — Ed.].
I knew on Monday that Mrs. White claimed she saw a darkey at the pencil factory [Conley, watching at the bottom of the steps near the front door for Frank according to the prosecution theory; lying in wait to attack Mary Phagan according to the new defense theory. — Ed.]. I gave that information to the police department.
Mr. Frank gave me the information when I first talked to him. I never inquired of Frank or any of the pencil factory people if Conley could write. Sunday, May 18th, I was present when Conley made his statement. May 18th. I wrote it out myself. (Defendant’s Exhibit 36). He made no further statement on that day. He stated that he did not go to the pencil factory at all that day. At that time I knew he could write. [It had been claimed by the defense that the information that Conley could write had first come from Leo Frank. — Ed.]
He told me everything that was in that statement. The information that Conley could write came from the pencil factory on May 18th. On May 18th I dictated to Conley these words: “That long tall black negro did by himself.” I dictated each word singly and I should judge it took him more than six or seven minutes to write it. He writes quite slowly.
When he was brought before Mrs. White to see if she could identify him he was chewing his lips and twirling a cigarette in his fingers. He didn’t seem to know how to hold on to it. He could not keep [his] feet still. He positively denied on May 18th that he had anything to do with the murder of Mary Phagan and that he was at the factory at all.
We talked very strongly to him and tried to make him give a confession. We used a little profanity and cussed him. He made that statement after he knew that I knew he could write. We had him for about two or three hours that day. He made another statement on May 24th which was put in writing. (Defendant’s Exhibit 37). He was carried to Mr. Dorsey’s office that day and went over the statement with Mr. Dorsey. He still denied that he had seen the little girl the day of the murder. He swore to all that the statement contains. That statement was a voluntary statement from him. He sent for Mr. Black and we went there together. We questioned him again very closely for about three hours on May 25th. He repeated the story that he told in his statement of May 24th.
We saw him again on May 27th in Chief Lanford’s office. Talked to him about five or six hours. We tried to impress him with the fact that Frank would not have written those notes on Friday. That that was not a reasonable story. That showed premeditation and that would not do. We pointed out to him why the first statement would not fit. We told him we wanted another statement. He declined to make another statement. He said he had told the truth. On May 28th Chief Lanford and I grilled him for five or six hours again, endeavoring to make clear several points which were far-fetched in his statement. We pointed out to him that his statement would not do and would not fit. He then made us another long statement on May 28th (Defendant’s Exhibit 38), having been told that his previous statement showed deliberation; that that could not be accepted. He told us then all that appears in the statement of May 28th. He never told us [then — Ed.] anything about Mr. Frank making an engagement for him to stamp for him and for him to lock the door. He told us nothing about seeing Monteen Stover. He did not tell us about seeing Mary Phagan. He said he did not see her. He didn’t say he saw Lemmie Quinn.
Conley was a rather dirty negro when I first saw him. He looked pretty good when he testified here.
Frank was arrested Tuesday morning at about 11:30; on May 29th we had another talk with him [Conley — Ed.]. Talked with him almost all day. Yes, we pointed out things in his story that were improbable and told him he must do better than that. Anything in his story that looked to be out of place we told him wouldn’t do. After he had made his last statement we didn’t wish to make any further suggestion to him at that time.
He then made his last statement on May 29th (Defendant’s Exhibit 39). He told us all that appears in that statement. We tried to get him to tell about the little mesh bag. We tried pretty strong. He always denied ever having seen it. He never said that he saw it in Frank’s office, or that Frank put it in his safe. We asked him about the parasol. He didn’t tell us anything about it. He didn’t tell us anything about Frank stumbling as he got on the street floor at the elevator and hit him.
Since making this statement on May 29th I have not communicated with Conley and have not seen him. He never told us that he came from his home straight to the factory. He denied knowing anything about the fecal matter down in the basement in the elevator shaft. He never said he went down there himself between the time he first came to the factory and went to Montag’s. He never said he thought the name of the little girl was Mary Perkins. He never said anything at all about Mary Perkins. We pressed him that day as to whether he saw Mary Phagan or not. He finally told us that he saw her dead body. He never did tell us that he heard a lady scream though we asked him about it. He said he did not hear anybody scream while he was sitting on the box. He said he didn’t hear anything at all that day. He never said any thing about Mr. Frank having hit her, and having hit her too hard. He never said anything about somebody running on tiptoes from the metal department and back again. He said he did not hear any stamping. He did not tell us anything about Mr. Frank telling him how to lock the door. He did not tell us anything about Frank having a cord in his hand at the top of the steps or that Frank looked funny about his eyes or that his face was red. He didn’t tell us that he went back there and found the little girl with a rope around her neck and a piece of underclothing or that he went back to Mr. Frank and told him the girl was dead, or that he wrapped her in a piece of cloth. He said it was a crocus sack. He did not say anything about Mr. Frank saying “Sh-sh.” He didn’t say that he put the sack on his shoulder and that body dangled round about his legs. He said he never saw the ribbon; didn’t know where it was. We asked him whether there was any thought of burning the body and he said not. He didn’t know anything about that. He never said anything about his promising to come back and burn the body or that he said to Mr. Frank “You are a white man and done it, and I am not going down there and burn it myself;” or that Mr. Frank had arranged to give his bond and send him away; or that Frank said he would have a place to get in by when he came back to burn the body, or said he owed a Jew ten cents and paid it.
He did not tell us of any conversation he had with Mr. Frank on Tuesday after the murder in which Mr. Frank said “If you had come back on Saturday and done what I told you there wouldn’t have been any trouble.” As to the scene between Conley and me when I undertook to convince him that I knew he could write on Sunday, May 18th, I called him up at Chief Lanford’s office, gave him a paper and pencil and told him that we understood he said he couldn’t write and now we knew he could write and we wanted him to write what we told him. He sat there and looked at us while we were talking and I told him to write as I dictated and he picked up the pencil and wrote immediately. We convinced him that we knew he could write and then he wrote.
I got information as to Conley writing through my operations while I was out of town. McWorth told me when I returned. I got no information personally about Conley being able to write from the pencil company people. Personally I did not get information as to Conley’s being able to write from [the] pencil company. I got it from outside sources, wholly disconnected with the pencil company. As to whom I first communicated anything about Mrs. White’s statement about seeing a negro down there, my impression is I told it in my many conversations with Black, and Chief Lanford and Bass Rosser. Don’t know the day. It was shortly after April 28th. After Conley made his last statement Chief Beavers, Lanford and I went to the jail with Conley and saw the sheriff and he went to Frank’s cell.
The last time I saw Frank was Saturday, May 3rd. As to whether Mr. Frank refused to see me, only through Sheriff Mangum, as to the number of matters I told Conley didn’t fit the first time and those I told him didn’t fit the last time, I could not name those, that would almost be impossible unless I had the statement clear in my head. I never suggested what to put in or what to substitute or what to change. They came from Conley himself.
THE STATE RESTS.
Scott’s grilling at the hands of the defense had mainly proved only that Conley had changed his story several times, which Conley himself admitted he had done to protect himself — and to protect Frank, who had, Conley said, offered to help him skip town if he “kept his mouth shut.”
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Next came the defense — and no one in Atlanta was ready for the shocking revelation that would soon come from Leo Frank himself as he took the stand.
Be sure to read about it in next week’s installment here at The American Mercury.
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For further study we recommend the following resources:
The American Mercury is following these events of 100 years ago, the month-long trial of Leo M. Frank for the brutal murder of Miss Mary Phagan, in capsule form on a regular basis until August 26, the 100th anniversary of the reading of the verdict. Follow along with us and experience the trial as Atlantans of a century ago did, and come to your own conclusions.
A fearless scholar, dedicated to the truth about this case, has obtained, scanned, and uploaded every single relevant issue of the major Atlanta daily newspapers and they now can be accessed through archive.org as follows:
Atlanta Constitution Newspaper:
Atlanta Georgian Newspaper:
Atlanta Journal Newspaper:
More background on the case may be found in my article here at the Mercury, 100 Reasons Leo Frank Is Guilty.