This Day in Jewish American History April 26, 1913, Leo Frank bludgeoned, Raped and Strangled 13-year old Mary Phagan

Confederate Memorial Day, Saturday April 26, 1913, in the National Pencil Company factory of Atlanta, Georgia, 99 years ago today (2012), 29-year old Leo Frank violently beat, raped and strangled 13-year old Mary Phagan. Leo Frank offered $200 to his African-American janitor, Jim Conley, to drag Phagan 150 feet face down across the hard dirt floor of the factory basement and incinerate her body in the furnace, but he refused to cremate her body.

American State Trials Volume 10 (1918) by John D. Lawson, LL.D.

Beginning on page 182, an interpretation of the Leo M. Frank case by John D. Lawson is featured and then followed by an abridged version of the 1913 Leo Frank trial testimony (July 28, 1913 to August 21, 1913).

Leo Frank was charged with the April 26, 1913, murder of little Mary Phagan (If you would like to read the unabridged version of the Leo Frank trial testimony, visit: download the more complete 1913 Brief of Evidence from www.Archive.org).

After the extensively abridged Leo Frank trial testimony is republished in this work, the elusive closing arguments (August 21 to 25, 1913) of State’s Prosecution Lawyers Hugh M. Dorsey and Mr. Frank Arthur Hooper, and Leo Frank Defense Team Attorneys Reuben Rose Arnold and Luther Zeigler Rosser are featured. No other source known to exist, except for the local newspapers at the time, published the closing arguments of the 1913 Leo M. Frank trial. The 4 closing arguments are required reading.

The Jury unanimously convicted Leo M. Frank and sentenced him to death on August 25, 1913. The presiding Judge Leonard Strickland Roan agreeing with the verdict and death sentence, affirmed them both, with the sentencing added in the official record. After a failed appeal for a new trial, Judge Leonard Strickland Roan sentences Leo Frank to hang on his own 30th birthday, April 17, 1914.

The chronology of post trial conviction appeals (August 27, 1913 to April 1915) is highlighted with some commentary, however if you want to read the 1,800 pages of legal documents detailing the criminal activity of the Leo Frank defense team, you will need download the Leo M. Frank Georgia Supreme Court case documents and the response of Hugh M. Dorsey to the criminal conspiracy that occurred during the appeals process, available on www.LeoFrank.org.

The major pivotal event at the conclusion of the 2 years of failed appeals was the controversial commutation of Leo Frank’s death sentence to life in prison on June 21, 1915, by one of his attorneys closest business associate, the outgoing and corrupt Governor John M. Slaton, who was a senior law partner and part owner of the law firm representing Leo Frank at his 1913 murder trial.

July 17, 1915

At the Milledgeville Prison Farm, William Creen, a fellow prison inmate “shanked” Leo Frank with a seven inch butcher knife. Leo Frank barely survived the attack.

August 17, 1915

Finally a very detailed account of the events leading up to the abduction of Leo Frank from prison on the evening of August 16, 1915 and his lynching the morning of August 17, 1915 is provided.

Politics and Tensions

What makes this nationally followed and sensational murder trial so unlikely, is it would be the first time in U.S. history, in a Black-White racially segregated South, the testimony of two African-Americans, Jim Conley and Newt Lee, would become an integral part of the overall collective testimony and evidence presented to an all white Jury, which would help successfully convict a White man (Leo Frank) on August 25th 1913.

Leo Frank’s personal cook Minola McKnight

And though African-American Minola McKnight would later deny her shocking June 3rd 1913 affidavit, State’s Exhibit J, the half-hearted repudiation would not be believed when all things were considered and thus Minola McKnight, would become the 3rd African-American whose evidence at the trial would help build the case against Leo Frank.

What is State’s Exhibit J?

State’s Exhibit J, is about conversations Minola McKnight had with Lucille Selig Frank about what transpired on the late evening of April 26, 1913. It was then a drunk, remorseful and suicidal Leo Frank confessed to his wife in a roundabout way to murdering Mary Phagan in an unmistakeable way. Leo Frank broke down and told Lucille S. Frank he didn’t understand why he would murder. Leo Frank then asked Lucille Selig Frank to get his pistol so he could shoot himself.

Star Witness

Though, ultimately the most important witness testimony at the trial did not come from the African-American janitor Jim Conley or the African-American Nightwatchman Newt Lee, but from a Goldilocks 14 year old White girl named Monteen Stover, she broke Leo Frank’s alibi wide open.

The following Saturday after the murder of Mary Phagan, Monteen Stover had come to collect her pay envelope at the factory, she was unable to get it the Saturday before, because Leo M. Frank was not there at the normal prescribed time people come to pick up their pay envelopes on Saturdays. For Monteen Stover this time was 12:05 to 12:10 PM, April 26, 1913.

With this new information provided by Monteen Stover, police approached an oblivious Leo Frank and asked him about where he was that afternoon from noon onward.

Leo Frank specifically told police officer John R. Black and Pinkerton detective Harry Scott that he was in his second floor office at the factory every single minute from noon to 12:45.

To compound problems for Leo Frank, after being sworn under oath, he told the Coroners Inquest Jury, he did not use the bathroom at all on April 26, 1913, leaving the Coroner Paul Donehoo and his Jury of six men incredulous as would be expected.

Monteen Stover Character Witness

What made matters ironic is Monteen Stover liked Leo Frank, tending to be a character defense witness for Leo Frank, by countering the numerous pedophilia allegations from former employees of the closed-down pencil factory. More than a bakers dozen of pre-teen and teenage girls who worked in various positions as child laborers at the sweatshop-like National Pencil Company testified Leo Frank made unmistakeable and aggressive sexual, pedophile and lascivious innuendos towards them. The defense refused to cross examine them.

Leo Frank was not in his office from 12:05 to 12:10 PM on April 26, 1913

Monteen Stover testified to the fact of Leo Frank not being in either his inner or outer second floor office between 12:05 and 12:10 on April 26th 1913. Monteen Stover said when she had arrived in Leo Frank’s office, she looked around for Leo Frank and waited in his second floor office for 5 minutes from 12:05 to 12:10 PM, because she wanted to collect her weekly pay due to her on Saturday (No one ever disputed this fact at the trial or appeals, not even the defense lawyers).

When Monteen Stover couldn’t find Leo Frank, she then looked down the hall from Leo Frank’s second floor office, directly at the glass door to the metal room, describing it as being closed shut and she left at 12:10PM, because she thought the factory was deserted. When asked how she knew what time it was, she answered the clock on the wall.

Monteen Stover’s testimony left people presuming Leo Frank was in the metal room between 12:05 and 12:10 PM and that he was strangling Mary Phagan. Leo Frank would later accidentally affirm it, at his murder trial on August 18, 1913, with what amounted to an unmistakeable virtual murder confession.

The Leo Frank Virtual Murder Confession, August 18, 1913

It was on August 18th 1913, Leo Frank mounted the witness stand at 2:15PM at his trial and would counter the specific testimony given by Monteen Stover (about Leo Frank not being in his office from 12:05 to 12:10), with a most shocking, mind boggling blunder, an admission inescapably entrapping himself and considered to be the equivalent to a murder confession.

“Unconsciously” Going to the Bathroom in the Metal Room

In response to Monteen Stover, Leo Frank testified he may have “unconsciously” gone to the bathroom to use the toilet or to urinate to account for his lapse of unaccountable time in his empty office between 12:05 to 12:10 PM. This testimony was so grossly incriminating because in order to get to the bathroom, one has to physically walk into and through the second floor metal room where the bathroom is located inside. There was no other bathroom on the second floor, but the one in the metal room.

The State’s prosecution team led by Hugh Dorsey spent nearly 4 weeks in total, during the longest criminal trial in Southern history at the time, building it’s entire case and successfully convincing the Judge and Jury, that Leo M. Frank murdered Mary Phagan in the second floor metal room between 12:05 and 12:10 PM on Confederate Memorial Day, April 26th 1913.

The 12:05 to 12:10 PM murder time frame was decided upon because, it was this exact time range given by Leo Frank on Monday, April 29, 1913, when he said Mary Phagan had come into his office on April 26, 1913. The statement was entered as evidence called State’s Exhibit B.

Leo Frank’s August 18, 1913, statement about his “unconscious” bathroom visit amounted to a virtual murder confession, not only because the only bathroom on the second floor was in the metal room, but also because of the time frame. State’s Prosecution Attorneys Solicitor General Hugh M. Dorsey and Frank Arthur Hooper would articulate the virtual murder confession in their closing arguments August 21, 22, 23, and 25, 1913. However they tried to give every piece of evidence equal weight in their arguments, not putting too much emphasis on each point, rather they acted as if each one were a thread, bound together with many threads to make an invincible hangman’s noose (See: Argument of Hugh M. Dorsey, 1913).

The August 18, 1913, Leo Frank murder confession was the first time in Southern U.S. history, that the prime suspect indicted for murder made a virtual confession at their own capital murder trial. People are still flabbergasted by it today.

The August 18, 1913, Leo Frank murder confession ensured a total shutout and victory for the prosecution.

The Jury, August 25, 1913

With less than 4 hours of deliberation, the Jury had arrived at it’s unanimous decision of guilt without a recommendation of mercy (they unanimously voted for the execution of Leo Frank by hanging).

The Presiding Judge Leonard Stickland Roan

On August 26, 1913, Judge Leonard Stickland Roan agreeing with the conviction, affirmed it and sentenced Leo Frank to death. Judge Leonard Stickland Roan was so convinced of Leo Frank’s guilt, he eventually sentenced him to die on his 30th birthday, April 17, 1914.

Leo Frank Appeals (1913 to 1915)

Two embarrassing years of failed appeals occurred at the State and Federal Court Systems, because it was found out the Leo M. Frank defense team was criminally manufacturing affidavits and bribing people to false swear to lies. In May of 1915, Leo Frank had one last hope, and appealed to the unscrupulous Governor of Georgia, who was part owner of the law firm originally representing Leo Frank at the infamous murder trial.

When Georgian Governor John M. Slaton, commuted his client Leo Franks death sentence to life in prison on June 21st 1915, there was public outrage at the perceived gross conflict of interest. Most people believed John M. Slaton was disqualified from being legitimately qualified to make an impartial decision in terms of whether or not to give Leo Frank clemency against the wishes of the Judge, trial Jury and two years of majority decisions at every level of the United States Appellate System.

Betrayal of the Oath to the Constitution of the United States of America

Southerners raged indignantly, because Governor John M. Slaton on the last page of his commutation order said he was sustaining the Jury and Appellate Tribunals. What also made matters hard to swallow is Governor John M. Slaton completely disregarded the sworn trial testimony of Newt Lee, Harry Scott, Monteen Stover, Jim Conley, Leo Frank and 19 girls whose testimony incriminated Leo Frank. Governor John M. Slaton was a part owner and senior partner of the lawfirm, ‘Rosser, Brandon, Slaton and Phillips’, the same lawfirm that represented Leo Frank during his trial and State appeals.

Mob Violence

Immediately after the commutation of Leo Frank, a demonstration of 1,200 people marched on John M. Slaton’s home, and in a terrified response, the armed national guard not been called in to disperse the crowd. Their was fear John Slaton would have been lynched and the inside of his palatial mansion torched to the ground.

Leo Frank Transferred

After the John M. Slaton clemency scandal Leo Frank was secretly whisked far away to Milledgeville, Georgia, a minimum security work farm nearly 150 miles from Atlanta.

On July 17, 1915, an inmate shanked Leo Frank, slashing his throat with a 7 inch butcher knife. Leo Frank barely survived and his wounds were slow to heal in the hot and humid Georgia summer of 1915, and one month later Leo Frank would meet his verdict by a group of prominent Southern vigilantes.

A well organized lynch party came together in critical mass immediately after the Leo Frank commutation order of June 21, 1915, it was a group of elite men that donned itself “The Knights of Mary Phagan”, formed by the leadership of the “good ole boys”, Georgia’s most prominent members of society and the upper crust of Marietta citizenry.

Nearly two months after the June 21, 1915, commutation, the lynch party launched one of the most audacious prison breaks in US history, in an unprecedented commando style raid unleashed with military precision, they seized and abducted Leo Frank from the Milledgeville prison on August 16, 1915 at 11PM. The abduction was so well executed it was achieved without a single shot being fired.

The lynch party made up of several dozen men drove Leo Frank 150 miles from Milledgeville all through the night in a tail gating party conga line, of slow rolling model-T fords at approximately 18 miles an hour. The caravan of lynch party members delivered Leo Frank to his final destination at Frey’s Gin (1200 Roswell Road, Marietta, Ga), the preplanned place Leo Frank was to be hanged. The execution site was a location in the close relative vicinity of where Mary had once lived and was buried.

A 3/4″ manila rope was prepped into a hang mans noose, it was thrown over a sturdy oak tree branch the thickness of a mans thy and the loop was placed snugly around Leo Frank’s neck like a thread through the head of a needle. Leo Frank was carefully hoisted onto a small table by 4 men, 2 on either side of him meant to hold him steady. With the noose securely snug around Leo Frank’s neck the other end of the rope was tied off to a nearby tree with slack, the sentence of the Jury was read by a former Judge and the table was kicked away.

In a normal hanging, the person falls through a trap door and their neck is broken, in this case, Leo Frank did not have enough room to fall when the table was kicked away and as a result he was strangled in midair, dying the same way Mary Phagan died.

Leo Frank was properly lynched on the morning of August 17th, 1915 at 7:17AM for the bludgeon, rape and strangulation of 13 year old Mary Anne Phagan (1899 to 1913).

Leo Frank was president of the elite Jewish Fraternal organization B’nai B’rith, his August 1913 conviction became part of the impetus for the creation of the Jewish Anti-Defamation League (ADL) of B’nai B’rith in October 1913. The Anti-Defamation League is a Jewish spy and espionage organization that subverts US Laws and works to destroy European-American hegemony in Western Civilization. The ADL blindly supports a racist, discriminatory, terrorist Israel that commits the worst civil rights abuses against Palestinians.

More excellent books and reading on the subject include:

0. The Leo Frank Case (Mary Phagan) Inside Story of Georgia’s Greatest Murder Mystery 1913 – The first neutral book written on the subject. Very interesting read.

1. The Murder of Little Mary Phagan by Mary Phagan Kean (Available here on www.Archive.org). Written by Mary Phagan Kean, the great grand niece of Mary Phagan. A neutral account of the events surrounding the trial of Leo Frank. The Murder of Little Mary Phagan is well worth reading and it is a refreshing change from the endless number of Jewish and contemporary books turning the Leo Frank case into a neurotic race obsessed tabloid controversy.

2. American State Trials, volume X (1918) by John Lawson (Available here on www.Archive.org) Tends to be biased in favor of Leo Frank and his legal defense team, this document provides an abridged version of the Brief of Evidence, leaving out some important things said and details when it republishes parts of the trial testimony. Be sure to read the closing arguments of Luther Zeigler Rosser, Reuben Rose Arnold, Frank Arthur Hooper and Hugh Manson Dorsey. For a more complete version of the Leo M. Frank trial testimony, read the 1913 murder trial brief of evidence found on www.archive.org and you can see what was left out.

3. Argument of Hugh M. Dorsey in the Trial of Leo Frank (Available here on www.archive.org). Some but not all of the 9 hours of arguments given to the Jury at the end of the Leo Frank trial. Only 18 Libraries in the world have copies of this books. This is an excellent book and required reading to see how Dorsey in sales vernacular ‘closed’ a Jury of 12 men and Judge Roan.

4. Leo M. Frank, Plaintiff in Error, vs. State of Georgia, Defendant in Error. In Error from Fulton Superior Court at the July Term 1913, Brief of Evidence. Extremely rare, only 1 copy exists, and it is at the Georgia State Archive. (available on archive.org)

5., 6., 7., The Atlanta Constitution, The Atlanta Journal, The Atlanta Georgian, April 28th to August 27th 1913.

Watson’s Magazine 1915

8. Tom Watson’s Jeffersonian and Watson’s Magazine: Watson’s Magazine, January 1915, Watson’s Magazine, March 1915; Watson’s Magazine, August 1915, Watson’s Magazine, September 1915, and Watson’s Magazine, October of 1915. (Available here on www.Archive.org). Tom Watson’s best work on the Leo M. Frank case was published in September 1915. Watson’s five works written collectively on the Leo M. Frank topic, provide logical arguments confirming the guilt of Leo M. Frank with superb reasoning.

These five works are absolutely required reading for anyone interested in the Leo M. Frank Case. Tom Watson’s magazine publications surged from 30,000 to 100,000 copies, when it was announced he would be writing on the Leo Frank case. These magazines are extremely rare and very difficult to find. However they have been scanned and are available on www.Archive.org

1. The Leo Frank Case By Tom Watson (January 1915) Watson’s Magazine Volume 20 No. 3. See page 139 for the Leo Frank Case. Jeffersonian Publishing Company, Thomson, Ga., Digital Source Archive.org

2. The Full Review of the Leo Frank Case By Tom Watson (March 1915) Volume 20. No. 5. See page 235 for ‘A Full Review of the Leo Frank Case’. Jeffersonian Publishing Company, Thomson, Ga., Digital Source Archive.org

3. The Celebrated Case of The State of Georgia vs. Leo Frank By Tom Watson (August 1915) Volumne 21, No 4. See page 182 for ‘The Celebrated Case of the State of Georgia vs. Leo Frank”. Jeffersonian Publishing Company, Thomson, Ga., Digital Source Archive.org

4. The Official Record in the Case of Leo Frank, Jew Pervert By Tom Watson (September 1915) Volume 21. No. 5. See page 251 for ‘The Official Record in the Case of Leo Frank, Jew Pervert’. Jeffersonian Publishing Company, Thomson, Ga., Digital Source Archive.org

5. The Rich Jews Indict a State! The Whole South Traduced in the Matter of Leo Frank By Tom Watson (October 1915) Volume 21. No. 6. See page 301. Jeffersonian Publishing Company, Thomson, Ga., Digital Source Archive.org

Though Tom Watson is considered a controversial figure by some, when one puts the rhetoric aside, his writings on the Leo Frank case are lucid, making a very complicated trial easy to understand.

Tom Watson’s Jeffersonian Newspaper

9. The Tom E. Watson Digital Papers Archive, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill: http://www.lib.unc.edu/dc/watson

Tom W. Brown, Grandson of Thomas Edward Watson

10. Notes on the Case of Leo M. Frank, By Tom Watson Brown, Emery University, Atlanta, Georgia, 1982.

Leo Frank Archive

11. The Leo Frank Archive: http://www.LeoFrank.org

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April 26, 2012   Posted in: Anti-Defamation League, Anti-Semitism, Anti-Semitism News, Ashkenazi, B'nai B'rith, Censorship, Holocaust, Jewish, Jewish American Heritage Month, Jewish Heritage, Jewish History, Jews, Judaism, Ku Klux Klan, Leo Frank, Race Relations, White Nationalism, White Supremacism, Zionism |

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