Join Date: Jun 2012
Location: Atlanta, Georgia
Part Two Closing Arguments of Solicitor General Hugh M. Dorsey, District Attorney
I honor Mr. Hill. I am as proud of having succeeded him as I am that I was elected to the position by the people of this community, to the office of Solicitor General, but I have never yet seen the man that I would take as my model or pattern; I follow the dictates of my own conscience. And if there is one act since I have been Solictor General of which I am proud, it is the fact that I joined hand and glove with the detectives in the effort to seek the murderer of Mary Phagan, and when your influence poured letters in to the Grand Jury, in an effort to hang an innocent man, negro though he be, that I stood firmly up against it. If that be treason, make the best of it And if you don’t want me to do it, then get somebody else to fill the job, and the quicker you do it the better it will suit me.
I will not pattern myself after anybody or anybody’s method, not even Mr. Hill, and, bless his old soul, he was grand and great, and I have wished a hundred times that he was here today to make the speech that I’m now making. There wouldn’t be hair or hide left on you,—he was as noble as any Roman that ever lived, as courageous as Julius Caesar, and as eloquent as Demosthenes. Such talk as that don’t scare me, don’t terrify me, don’t disturb the serenity of my conscience, which approves of everything that I have done in the prosecution of this man.
Now, let’s come back here and discuss this thing of perjury, let’s talk about that a little, let’s not get up here and say that everybody is a liar without citing any instances and that they are crack-brain fanatics, let’s knuckle down and get specific instances.
So this Mrs. Small says she saw Jim Conley,—”Did you see Mr. Frank up there on any of those days?” “I saw Mr. Frank after that crime on Tuesday.” “What time Tuesday?” “I couldn’t tell you, I guess between eight and nine o’clock, he and Miss Carson were coming up from the back end of the factory (Miss Rebecca, I presume).” “He and Mrs. Carson were coming up from the back end of the factory, and I stepped up in front of him and I said ‘Here, Mr. Frank, wait a moment, OK this ticket,’ he says ‘are you going to put me to work as soon as I get here!’ and I says ‘Yes it’s good for your health.’ He okayed the ticket and I went on with my work.”
So Frank was up there Tuesday morning. “Now, speaking about Mrs. Carson, how far towards the elevator did Mrs. Carson go with Frank?”—”Mrs. Carson wasn’t up there, it was Miss Carson, Miss Rebecca. The old lady says she was; I said, “Oh, the old lady wasn’t up there at all!” No, sir; she wasn’t there Tuesday at all.” “You saw Miss Rebecca Carson walking up towards the elevator!” “Yes sir.” “What was Conley doing?” “Standing there by the elevator.” And yet Jim has lied about Frank! Frank was up there twice, Jim was sweeping, Jim was there by the elevator.
“At the time you saw Frank, the negro was standing there at the elevator!” “Yes, sir; he wasn’t sweeping, he was standing there with his hand on the truck looking around.” “Did he see you and Frank!” “I guess he must have seen us.” “Where was Conley when he went down the steps!” “Standing in front of the elevator.” “How close did Frank pass Conley!” “As dose as from here to that table, about four feet.” “Conley was still standing there with his hand on that thing, is that true!” “Yes sir.” “That’s exactly like Conley says.”
And here’s another thing: This woman, Mrs. Small, testifies about that elevator,— it shakes the whole building, I said, anybody in the world could tell it if the machinery wasn’t running! She says, “No, anybody in the world could tell it if the machinery wasn’t running, but you can’t notice it unless you are close to the elevator.” I asked “If there was hammering and knocking, would you still hear the elevator!” She said, “You could if you get close to it.” Well, of course, you could, nobody disputes that. “If the elevator was up here, and you were back in the rear and there was hammering and knocking going on, you couldn’t!” “No sir.” And that disposes of that point, that’s the truth on that.
Now, Mrs. Carson had already sworn here positively that she didn’t go down to see that blood, hasn’t she! There were too many of these people over there at the factory who had seen that blood,—that blood that at first wasn’t blood, it was paint, and then wasn’t paint but was cat’s blood or blood from somebody that was injured, and then wasn’t fresh blood but was stale blood—too many of them had seen it. “On Wednesday I had no business back there, I was there one day but can’t remember.” “What did you go back there for?” “A crowd of us went at noon to see if we could see any blood spots.” “Were you successful!” “No sir.” “Who went with you?” And lo and behold, Mrs. Carson, the mother of Rebecca, had already stated that she didn’t go about it, the very first person that this Mrs. Small refers to— “Well, Mrs. Carson.” “Mrs. Carson went with you,” I said. “Yes sir, she saw the places where the blood was said to be.”
“You know she was there, you are pretty sure she was there?” Mrs. Small said “Yes sir.” “It looked like what!” “Looked like powder.” “How much of it down there?” “A small amount, just a little, looked like some of the girls had been powdering their face and spilled powder.” You know better than that. I came back to the subject, “What makes you say Mrs. Carson went down there with you?” Answer —”Because curiosity sent us down there.” “Did curiosity send her down there too?” “We went back afterwards.”
Now, gentlemen, somebody swore,—and I put it up to you, too,—somebody committed perjury! “You were going back yourself and went to get her?” “Yes sir.” “She didn’t make any objection to going down, did she?” “No sir.” “Don’t you know she didn’t go?” “I know,” she says, “that she did.” All right; if this case is founded on perjury, it’s the kettle calling the pot black, and I haven’t dealt in glittering generalities, I have set forth specific cases. But that isn’t intended to be exhaustive, that’s a mere summary of a few of these instances, they are too numerous to mention. The truth is that there is no phase of this case, where evidence was needed to bolster it up that somebody hasn’t come in, you say, willingly and without pay, because, you say there is no slush fund back of this case.
Now, let’s pass on here a little bit. They tried mighty hard to break down this man Albert McKnight with Minola—and I believe I’ll leave that for a little later and come now to this statement of Frank’s. Gentlemen, I wish I could travel faster over this. I’m doing the very best I can, I have a difficult task and I wish I didn’t have it to do it all.
Now, gentlemen, I want to discuss briefly right here these letters, and if these letters weren’t “the order of an all-ruling Providence I should agree with my friends that they are the silliest pieces of stuff ever practiced; but these letters have intrinsic marks of a knowledge of this transaction,” these pads, that pad,—things usually found in his office,—this man Frank, by the language of these notes, in attempting to fasten the crime upon another, “has indelibly fixed it upon himself.” I repeat it, these notes, which were intended to fix the crime upon another, “have indelibly fixed it upon this defendant,” Leo M. Frank. The pad, the paper, the fact that he wanted a note,—you tell me that ever a negro lived on the face of the earth who, after having killed and robbed, or ravished and murdered a girl down in that dark basement, or down there in that area, would have taken up the time to have written these notes, and written them on a scratch pad which is a thing that usually stays in the office, or written them on paper like this, found right outside of the office of Frank, as shown on that diagram, which is introduced in evidence and which you will have out with you?
You tell me that that man, Jim Conley, sober, as Tillander and Graham tell you, when they went there, would have ravished this girl with a knowledge of the fact that Frank was in that house? I tell you no. Do you tell me that this man, Jim Conley, “drunk as a fiddler’s bitch,” if you want it that way, would, or could have taken time to have written these notes to put beside the body of that dead girl? I tell you no, and you don’t need me to tell you, you know it The fact, gentlemen of the jury, that these notes were written—ah, but you say that it’s foolish. You say it’s foolish. It’s ridiculous. It was a silly piece of business, it was a great folly; but murder will out, and Providence directs things in a mysterious way, and not only that, as Judge Bleckley says, “Crime, whenever committed, is a mistake in itself; and what kind of logic is it that will say that a man committed a crime, which is a great big mistake and then in an effort to cover it up, won’t make a smaller mistake!” There’s no logic in that position.
The man who commits a crime makes a mistake, and the man who seeks to cover it up nearly always makes also a little mistake. And this man here, by these notes, purporting to have been written by little Mary Phagan, by the verbiage and the language and the context, in trying to fasten it on another, as sure as you are sitting in this jury box “has indelibly fastened it on himself.”
These gentlemen saw the significance of the difference between Scott’s evidence, when he was before the Coroner,—and he wasn’t quizzed there particularly about it,—”I told her no,” and “I told her I didn’t know;” to tell that little girl “No,” would have given her no excuse, according to their way of thinking, to go back to see whether that metal had come or not, but to tell her “I didn’t know,” would lure her back into the snare where she met her death. And your own detective, Scott, says, after he gave the thing mature deliberation, that this man on the Monday evening,—and he was so anxious about getting a detective that he had that man Schiff telephone three times, three times, three times, three times,—remember that,—so anxious was he. Scott says, after thinking over the matter, that Leo M. Frank told that girl that he didn’t know whether the metal had come or not, and she went back there to see about the metal, and he followed her back there.
Ill tell you another thing, that old Starnes and Campbell and Rosser, and even Newport Lanford, if he had been called in, and even if I had been called in, to save my life, could not have known that the very word that Leo M. Frank used, according to Jim Conley when Conley says Frank told him “I’m going to chat with a girl,” would have been used exactly four times, as I’ll show you when I come to read this statement by Leo M. Frank, for he chatted, and he chatted, and he chatted, and he chatted, according to his own statement.
This letter that I hold in my hand says that this negro “did it.” Old Jim Conley in his statement here, which I hold in my hand, every time he opened his month says “I done it.” Old Jim Conley, if he had written these notes, never would have said “this negro did it by his self” but Frank wanted it understood that the man that did do it, “did it by his self.” Jim Conley says that Frank says he wanted to chat, and four times in this statement before they suspended to go out and let you refresh yourself, this man Frank had said that somebody came in the office “to chat,” and Mr. Arnold, in making his argument to the jury, realized, because he is as keen and as smart as they ever get to be, the force of that word and endeavored to parry the blow which I now seek to give this defendant.
And you tell me that old Jim Conley, after he had robbed and murdered, or after he had ravished and murdered this girl, when he would have had no occasion in the world to have cared whether her dead body was found right there at that chute, was such a fool as to take the time to take her body way back there in the basement and hide it behind the corner of that room! I tell you that it never occurred. That body was taken down there and put in the place where it was. Why! Because she was murdered on the second floor, where the blood spots are found, and because Leo M. Frank, the superintendent of the plant, saw and felt the necessity that that girl’s body should not be found on the second floor of the pencil factory, but, to use the language which he put in the letter or telegram which he sent to Adolph Montag in New York, “in the cellar.” My! My! “That negro fireman down here did this.”
Now, let’s see how many times Jim says “done it”: “I locked the door like he done told me, I remembers that because the man what was with the baby looked at me like he thought I done it” That’s when they ran into the man that Jim says looked at him like he thought “I done it” It’s the difference between ignorance and education, and these notes that you had that man prepare in your office on this paper that stayed on that floor and on that pad that came from your office, bear the marks of your diction, and Starnes and Campbell, with all their ingenuity, couldn’t have anticipated that old Jim would get up here and state that “this man looked at me when he ran into that baby, like I done it” and couldn’t have made him say “I locked the door like he done told me;” and couldn’t have said “I went on and walked up to Mr. Frank and told him that girl was done dead, he done just like this and said sh-h-h.” I could go on with other instances.
And there’s your word “chat,” “chat,” “chat,” “chat,” four times, I’m going to read it to you, it’s here in black and white, and you can’t get around it.
This girl went down there in that scuttle hole? Listen at this,—you didn’t want to say that she went back there to see about the metal, but you knew that the ladies’ water closet was back there, and you make this poor girl say “I went to make water,” “I went to make water, he pushed me down that hole, a long, tall, black negro”—”long, slim, tall, negro, I write while he play with me.” And this note says “that long, tall, black negro did it by his self. ”
Make water? Where did she go to make water? Right back there in the same direction that she would have gone to see about the metal. You tell me, except providentially, that that would have crept in here? You tell me that old Jim Conley, negro, after he had struck that girl with that big stick,—which is a plant as sure as you are living here and as sure as Newt Lee’s shirt was a plant,—you tell me that negro felt any inducement or necessity for leaving that girl’s form anywhere except where he hit her and knocked her down! You tell me that he had the ingenuity, —and mark you, Starnes and these other men weren’t there then to dictate and map out,—you tell me that he would write a note that she went back to make water when there’s no place and her usual place was up there on the second floor?
I tell you, gentlemen of the jury, that a smarter man than Starnes, or a smarter man than Campbell, a smarter man than Black, a smarter man than Rosser, in the person of Leo M. Frank, felt impelled to put there these letters, which he thought would exculpate him, but which incriminate and damn him in the minds of every man seeking to get at the truth. Yet you tell me there’s nothing in circumstantial evidence, when here’s a pad and there’s the pad and there’s the notes, which you must admit, or which you don’t deny, old Jim Conley wrote, because you say in your statement you had got numerous notes from him, and yet, the very day, at the police station, according to your own statement, when you wrote that, you saw the original of these, and you didn’t open your mouth, you didn’t say a word, you didn’t direct the finger of suspicion against this man Jim Conley, who had been infamously directed to keep quiet to protect you. Things don’t happen that way, gentlemen, and you know it. There isn’t an honest man on that jury, unbiased, unprejudiced, seeking to get at the truth, but what knows that these letters,—silly? Yes, silly, except you see the hand of Providence in it all—that don’t know that the language and the context and the material out of which they are written were written for the protection of Leo M. Frank, the superintendent of this factory, who wired Montag to tell his uncle “if my uncle inquires about me state that I am all right, the police have the thing well in hand and will eventually solve the problem,” and the girl was found dead, not in the factory, but in the cellar. The man who wrote the note, “nothing startling has happened in so short a time,” wrote it with a knowledge and conscious of the fact that this poor girl’s life had been snuffed out even at the time he penned the words. You’ll have this out with you, you look at them, if you can get anything else out of them you do it, and as honest men, I don’t want you to convict this man unless you are satisfied of his guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, but don’t let that doubt be the doubt of a crank, don’t let it be the doubt of a man who has conjured it up simply to acquit a friend, or a man that has been the friend of a friend; let it be the doubt of an honest, conscientious, upright juror, the noblest work of Almighty God.
Now this statement. I tell you, gentlemen of the jury, that when this statement you heard Frank make is scanned, it is susceptible of but one construction, and that is, that it is the statement of a guilty man, made to fit in these general circumstances, as they would have you believe—these gentlemen here harped a great deal, gentlemen of the jury, “are you going to convict him on this, are you going to convict him on that.” It isn’t the law that circumstantial evidence is inferior to direct and positive evidence, and it is correct to instruct the jury that there is nothing in the nature of circumstantial evidence that renders it less reliable than other classes of evidence. The illustration that they would seek, gentlemen of the jury, not by direct language did they do it in their argument to you, because we had already read them this authority, but they would bring up this isolated fact and that isolated fact and they would say “are you going to convict him on that?” I don’t ask your conviction on that.
Two illustrations, first, each of the incidental facts surrounding the main fact in issue, is a link in a chain, and that the chain is not stronger than its weakest link, this authority says is generally rejected as an incorrect metaphor and liable to misconstruction. The second illustration and the one that is approved is, each of the incidental facts surrounding the main facts in issue are compared to the strands in a rope, where none of them may be sufficient in itself, but all taken together may be strong enough to establish the guilt of the accused beyond a reasonable doubt. And so they took isolated instance after isolated instance and then said “are you going to convict him on that?” I say no. But I do say that these instances each constitute a chain, or a cord,—a strand in a cable, and that, when you get them all, all together, you have a cable that ought to hang anybody. That’s the proposition. Not on this isolated instance or that one, but upon all, taken together and bound together, which make a cable as strong as it is possible for the ingenuity of man to weave around anybody.
Now, listen at this statement and let’s analyze that as we go on a little. I don’t know whether this man’s statement to the jury will rank along with the cross-examination of that celebrated pervert, Oscar Wilde, or not, but it was a brilliant statement, when unanalyzed, and if you just simply shut your eyes and mind to reason and take this statement, then, of course, you are not going to convict. But listen to what our Courts say about these statements—I have already read it to you, but I want to read it again. “Evidence given by a witness has inherent strength which even a jury cannot under all circumstances disregard; a statement has none.” No cross-examination, no oath, merely a statement adroitly prepared to meet the exigencies of the case.
Now, listen at this. This man Frank says “I sat in my office checking over the amount of money which had been left over”—not the cash, not cash, but the amount of money which had been left over—”from the pay-roll”—from the $1,100.00 that they had drawn Friday, and to this day, we don’t know how much was left over, and we don’t know whether what was left over coupled with the cash left on hand would make this bundle of bills that old Jim says was shown to him and taken back, when Frank wanted to get him to go down into the dark cellar and burn that body by himself, and old Jim says “I’ll go if you go, but if I go down there and burn that body, somebody might come along and catch me and then what kind of a fix will I be in?” And I’ll tell you right now, if Jim Conley had gone down in that cellar and had undertaken to have burned that body, as sure as the smoke would have curled upward out of that funnel towards Heaven, just so certain would Leo M. Frank have been down there with these same detectives, and Jim Conley would have been without a shadow of a defense. But old Jim, drunk or sober, ignorant or smart, vile or pure, had too much sense, and while he was willing to write the notes to be put by the dead body, and was willing to help this man take the body from the second floor, where the blood was found, into the basement and keep his mouth shut and to protect him, until the combined efforts of Scott and Black and Starnes and all these detectives beat him down and made him admit a little now and a little then, he wasn’t willing, and he had too much sense, to go down into that basement to do that dirty job by himself and cremate the remains of this little girl that that man in his passionate lust had put to death.
You don’t show that he didn’t have the money, and the truth of the business is, I expect, that out of that $1,100.00 for the pay-roll, and $30.00 in cash which you had, if the truth were known, you offered old Jim Conley and bought him with that $200.00 just as surely as Judas Iscariot implanted the kiss for the thirty shekels. He says that “No one came into my office who asked for a pay envelope or for the pay envelope of another.” This running- mate and friend of the dead girl tells you under oath that she went there on Friday evening when they were paid, with the knowledge that little Mary wasn’t there, and as she had done on previous occasions, sought to get the money to take to her. And I’ll show you when I get to the State’s case later on that this diabolical plot, of which you have made so much fun, is founded in reason and really did exist, and that this man really, goaded on by passion, had been expecting some time before to ultimately, not murder this little girl, but cause her to yield to his blandishments and deflower here without her resistance.
Let me do it right now. Way back yonder in March, as far back as March, little Willie Turner, an ignorant country boy, saw Frank trying to force his attentions on this little girl in the metal room; he is unimpeached, he is unimpeachable.
She backed off and told him she must go to her work, and Frank said “I am superintendent of this factory,”—a species of coercion—”and I want to talk to you.”
You tell me that that little girl that worked up there and upon the same floor with you in the metal department, and you had passed right by her machine, this pretty, attractive little girl, twelve months, and a man of your brilliant parts didn’t even know her, and do you tell me that you had made up the pay-roll with Schiff fifty-two times during the year that Mary Phagan was there and still you didn’t know her name or number? You tell me that this little country boy who comes from Oak Grove, near Sandy Springs in the northern part of this county, was lying when he got on that stand? I’ll tell you no. Do you tell me that little Dewey Hewell, a little girl now from the Home of the Good Shepherd in Cincinnati, who used to work at the National Pencil Company, who probably has lost her virtue though she is of such tender years, was lying when she tells you that she heard him talking to her frequently,—talked to Mary frequently, placed his hands on her shoulder and called her Mary?
You tell me that that long-legged man, Gantt, the man you tried to direct suspicion towards, the man Schiff was so anxious to have arrested that he accompanied the police, that you said in your telegram to your uncle, had the case in hand and would eventually solve the mystery,—do you tell me that Gantt has lied when he tells you that this man Frank noticed that he knew little Mary and said to him, “I see that you know Mary pretty well?”
I am prepared to believe, knowing this man’s character as shown by this evidence, that way back yonder in March, old passion had seized him. Yesterday Mr. Rosser quoted from Burns, and said it’s human to err; and I quote you from the same poem, in which old Burns says that “there’s no telling what a man will do when he has the lassie, when convenience snug, and he has a treacherous, passionate inclination.” There’s no telling what he will do when he’s normal, there’s no telling what he will do when he’s like other men, but oh! gentlemen, there’s no telling what a pervert will do when he’s goaded on by the unusual, extraordinary passion that goaded on this man, Leo M. Frank, when he saw his opportunity with this little girl in that pencil factory, when she went back to find out if the metal had come.
You tell me that all of these people have lied,—Willie Turer has lied? Dewey Hewell has lied! That Gantt has lied? That Miss Ruth Robinson has lied? And even Frank, in his statement, admits that he knew Mary well enough to know that Gantt was familiar with her, because Chief Detective Harry Scott was told on Monday, April 28th, that this man Gantt was familiar with little Mary. And yet you expect an honest jury of twelve men—although out of your own mouth you told these detectives, whom you wired your uncle would eventually solve the problem, you told them that this man Gantt was so familiar with her that you directed suspicion towards him. How did you know it if you didn’t know little Mary?
And in addition, as I have stated, you tell me that this brilliant man had helped to make out the pay-roll for fifty-two times and seen little Mary’s name there, and he didn’t even know her name and had to go and get his book to tell whether she worked there or not? And I wouldn’t be at all surprised, gentlemen of the jury—it’s your man Frank’s own statement,—that shortages occurred in the cash even after this man Gantt left,—I wouldn’t be at all surprised if the truth of the business is that this man coveted that little girl away back yonder in March, I wouldn’t be at all surprised, gentlemen, and, indeed, I submit that it’s the truth, that every one of these girls has told the truth when they swore to you on the stand that back yonder in March, after this little girl had come down to work on the office floor in the metal department, that they observed this man, Leo M. Frank, making advances towards her and using his position as superintendent to force her to talk with him. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if he didn’t hang around, I wouldn’t be at all surprised if he didn’t try to get little Mary to yield. I wouldn’t be surprised if he didn’t look upon this man Gantt, who was raised on an adjoining farm in Cobb County, as an obstacle to the accomplishment of the evil purpose which he had in hand, and I wouldn’t be at all surprised if, instead of discharging Gantt for a one dollar shortage, which Gantt says “I’ll give up my job rather than pay,” that you put him out of that factory because you thought he stood in the way of the consummation of your diabolical and evil plans.
And you say that you and Schiff made up the pay-roll Friday, and I wouldn’t be at all surprised that, after little Mary had gone and while you and Schiff were making up the payroll Friday afternoon, you saw little Mary’s name and you knew that she hadn’t been notified to come there and get her money Friday afternoon at six o’clock, and then, as early as three o’clock,—yes, as early as three,—knowing that this little girl would probably come there Saturday at twelve, at the usual hour, to get her pay, you went up and arranged with this man Jim Conley to look out for you,—this man Jim Conley, who had looked out for you on other occasions, who had locked the door and unlocked it while you carried on your immoral practices in that factory,—yes, at three o’clock, when you and Schiff were so busy working on the pay-roll, I dare say you went up there and told Jim that you wanted him to come back Saturday but you didn’t want Darley to know that he was there.
And I wouldn’t be at all surprised if it were not true that this little Helen Ferguson, the friend of Mary Phagan, who had often gotten Mary’s pay envelope before, when she went in and asked you to let her have that pay envelope, if you didn’t refuse because you had already arranged with Jim to be there, and you expected to make the final onslaught on this girl, in order to deflower and ruin her and make her, this poor little factory girl, subservient to your purposes.
Ah, gentlemen, then Saturday comes, Saturday comes, and it’s a reasonable tale that old Jim tells you, and old Jim says “I done it,”—not “I did it,” but “I done it” just exactly like this brilliant factory superintendent told him. There’s your plot.
I’ll tell you, you know this thing passion is like fraud,—it’s subtle, it moves in mysterious ways; people don’t know what lurks in the mind of a libertine, or how anxious they are, or how far ahead they look, and it isn’t at all improbable, indeed, I submit to you as honest men seeking to get at the truth, that this man, whose character was put in issue and torn down, who refused to go into specific instances on cross-examination, if he didn’t contemplate this little girl’s ruin and damnation it was because he was infatuated with her and didn’t have the power to control that ungovernable passion.
There’s your plot; and it fits right in and jams right up, and you can twist and turn and wobble as much as you want to, but out of your own mouth, when you told your detective, Scott, that this man Gantt was familiar with that little girl, notwithstanding at other places in this statement you tried to lead this jury of honest men to believe you didn’t know her—I tell you that he did know her, and you know that he knew her. What are you going to believe? Has this little Ferguson girl lied? Is this little factory girl a hare-brained fanatic suborned to come up here and perjure herself, by John Starnes or Black or Campbell or any of the detectives? Do you tell me that such a thing can be done, when the State of Georgia, under the law, hasn’t a nickel that this girl could get? I tell you, gentlemen, you know that’s a charge that can’t stand one instant.
Now, he says right here in his statement that he kept the key to his cash box right there in his desk. Well, he makes a very beautiful statement about these slips—but I’ll pass that and come to that later. He explains why they were put on there April 28th, and so forth. Now, here’s the first reference that he makes to “chatting”: “I stopped that work that I was doing that day and went to the outer office and chatted with Mr. Darley and Mr. Campbell.” “I should figure about 9 :15, or a quarter to nine, Miss Mattie Smith came in and asked for her pay envelope.” Jim is corroborated there, he identified Miss Mattie Smith and told with particularity what she did. He says, “I kept my cash box in the lower drawer of the left hand side of my desk.” Jim says that’s where he got some cash. This man also shows he took a drink at Cruickshank’s soda fount and two or three times during this statement he showed that he was doing at the soda fount exactly as Jim says he was doing as they came on back from the factory.
Again he says, “but I know there was several of them and I went on chatting with Mr. Montag.” I told you I was going to read you this, and I just wanted you to know we were going to have this out with you. Another thing he says, “I moved the papers I brought back from Montag’s in the folder”; old Jim says he had the folder and put the folder away; “I would look and see how far along the reports were which I used in getting my financial statement up every Saturday afternoon, and, to my surprise, I found the sheet which contains the record of pencils packed for the week didn’t include the report for Thursday, the day the fiscal week ended, that’s the only part of the data that Schiff hadn’t got up.” “A short time after they left my office, two gentlemen came in, one of them Mr. Graham”—Mr. Graham says that he talked to this negro down stairs; the negro told him the way to the office, and they tried to get around it on the idea there’s some difference in color. Well, being in jail, gentlemen, changes the complexion of anybody. That man was there, Graham says, Tillander says, and he was there for what purpose? By whose request? And he wasn’t drunk, either. And then he says, “I gave the required pay envelope to the two fathers,” this man Frank says, “I gave the pay envelope and chatted with them at some length.”
Mr. Arnold says these darkeys pick up the language and manners of the men by whom they are employed. I tell you that, if Frank didn’t come in contact with the people that worked in that factory more than he would lead you to believe, old Jim Conley never had the opportunity to pick up words that he uses ; and yet here old Jim says, and even in his statement, even in his statement, this man uses the very language that Jim puts in his mouth. I just picked out four of them, in a very few pages, I don’t know how many others there are. “Miss Hall finished her work and started to leave when the twelve o’clock whistle blew.” Whistle blowing on a holiday? Well, maybe it did, I’ll leave that for you to say. Another place he says “I chatted with them:” “Entering, I found quite a number of people, among them Darley,” etc. “I chatted with them a few minutes”—using the same words Jim said he used with reference to this girl: “Miss Hall left my office on her way home; there were in the building at the time, Arthur White and Harry Denham and Arthur White’s wife, on the top floor; to the best of my knowledge, it must have been ten or fifteen minutes after Miss Hall left my office when this little girl, whom I afterwards found to be Mary Phagan, entered my office and asked for her pay envelope.”
“This little girl whom I afterwards found”—why didn’t you give her her money? No, he didn’t give her her money; he knew her all right. That child never got her money, she never got her money, and this man Frank, when Mrs. White came down there at 12 :35, and when he jumped and when Jim Gonley was still sitting downstairs,—the one fact in this case that must make you see that Jim Conley didn’t do the deed,—this man Frank was at that safe then, when he jumped and Mrs. White came up, getting out the pay envelope of this little girl, who had gone back to the rear to see whether the metal had come or not—not to make water, as he stated in that note. At the time Frank was at that safe and Mrs. White came in, she says he jumped. Remember that. As she went down the stairs at 12 :35 she saw Jim Conley, or a negro who resembled him, and that’s the one incident in this case that shows that old Jim Conley didn’t do the deed. Then it was after this man had tipped up and tipped back, —then it was, he had to let Mrs. White go up. Previously he had sent up had them to come down, but this time he lets Mrs. White go up, and then after Mrs. White had been up there a little while, and in order not to get caught in the act of moving that body, because he knew Mrs. White might come down, he knew that these men had their lunches and would work and stay up on that floor; at 12:50, Mrs. White says when she went down she saw Conley there, at 12:50, and Frank was anxious to get Mrs. White out of the building, in order that he might call Jim Conley, if Jim had seen, and his saying that he had seen would have given him away; then it was that he wanted to get her out of the building, and he sent her upstairs and then went upstairs to get her out and pretended to be in a big hurry to get out, but according to her evidence, instead of going out, he didn’t have on his coat and went back in his office and sat down at his desk. Anxious to get out, — going to close up right now! Now, that wasn’t the purpose. Talk about no blood being found back down there! Talk about no blood being found! Well, there’s two reasons why there wasn’t any found: This lick the girl got on the back of the head down there wasn’t sufficient to have caused any great amount of blood, and if old Jim Conley hadn’t dropped that girl as he went by the dressing room and the thing hadn’t gone out like a sunburst all around there, like these men describe it, there wouldn’t have been any blood. When you assaulted her and you hit her and she fell and she was unconscious, you gagged her with that, and then quickly you tipped up to the front, where you knew there was a cord, and you got the cord and in order to save this reputation which you had among the members of the B’nai B’rith, in order to save, not your character because you never had it, but in order to save the reputation with the Haases and the Montags and the members of Doctor Marx’s church and the members of the B’nai B’rith and your kinfolks in Brooklyn, rich and poor, and in Athens, then it was that you got the cord and fixed the little girl whom you had assaulted, who wouldn’t yield to your proposals, to save your reputation, because dead people tell no tales, dead people can’t talk.
And you talk about George Kendley saying that he would be one to lead a riot, and you talk about your ability to run George Kendley with a fan or a corn shuck. I tell you Frank knew and you know that there would have been men who would have sprung up in this town, had that little girl lived to tell the tale of that brutal assault, that would have run over ten thousand men like you, would have stormed the jail or done anything. It oughtn’t to be, because that thing ought to be left to be threshed out before an upright Court and an honest jury. But this man Frank knew,—he didn’t expect her to turn him down, he paved the way, he had set the snare and he thought that this poor little girl would yield to his importunities, but, ah! thank God, she was made of that kind of stuff to which you are a stranger, and she resisted, she wouldn’t yield, you couldn’t control your passion and you struck her and you ravished her, she was unconscious, you gagged her and you choked her.
Then you got Mrs. White out, the woman that saw you jump at 12 :35 when you were there fixing to see about little Mary’s pay envelope, which you never did give the poor child. And you fussed a good deal about that pocket book, that mesh bag; I wouldn’t be at all surprised if old Jim’s statement that Frank had that mesh bag, didn’t keep that mesh bag from turning up in this trial, just exactly like that plant of old Newt Lee’s shirt and just exactly like that club and just exactly like these spots these men found on May 15th around that scuttle hole. It worried you too much, it worried you too much, it disconcerted your plans. The thing had already been done when Mrs. White got back there at 12 :35 and old Jim Conley was still sitting down there waiting patiently for the signal that had been agreed upon, waiting patiently for the signals that you had used when some other women from the fourth floor and other people had been down there to meet you Saturdays and holidays.
And the first thing he did after he had gagged her with a piece of her underskirt, torn from her own underskirt, was to tip up to the front, where he knew the cords hung, and come back down there and choke that poor little child to death. You tell me that she wasn’t ravished? I ask you to look at the blood—you tell me that that little child wasn’t ravished! I ask you to look at the drawers, that were torn, I ask you to look at the blood on the drawers, I ask you to look at the thing that held up the stockings.
And I say that as sure as you are born, that man is not like other men. He saw this girl, he coveted her; others without her stamina and her character had yielded to his lust, but she denied him, and when she did, not being like other men, he struck her, he gagged her, he choked her; and then able counsel go through the farce of showing that he had no marks on his person! Durant didn’t have any marks on his person, either. He didn’t give her time to put marks on his person, but in his shirt sleeves, goaded on by an uncontrollable passion, this little girl gave up her life in defense of that which is dearer than life, and you know it.
Why this man says he had an impression of a female voice saying something. How unjust! This little girl had evidently—listen at that, gentleman, this little girl whose name had appeared on the pay-roll, had evidently worked in the metal department, and never was such a farce enacted in the courthouse as this effort on the part of able counsel to make it appear that that wasn’t blood up there on that floor. Absurd! Not satisfied with the absurdity of the contention that it’s paint, that it’s cat blood, rat’s blood, varnish, they bring in this fellow Lee, who perjures himself to say that that man stood there just letting the blood drip. Old man Starnes tells you that they saw the blood there and chipped it up, and saw the blood right along on the route towards the elevator; Jim Conley tells you that right there is where he dropped the head so hard, and where Frank came and took hold and caught the feet. Every person that described that blood and its appearance bears it out that it was caused by dropping, because it was spattered,—one big spot here and other little ones around it,—and if human testimony is to be believed, you know that was blood—that that was blood and not paint, you know that it was the blood of Mary Phagan and not the blood of Duffy. Duffy says so. You know that it was the blood of Mary Phagan because it corresponds with the manner in which Jim Conley says he dropped the body. You know it’s blood because Chief Beavers saw blood there. It spattered towards the dressing room; you know it was blood because Starnes says he saw it was blood and he saw that the haskoline had been put over it,—and I’m going to read you this man’s statement, too, unless I give out physically, about this haskoline, it’s the purest subterfuge that ever a man sought to palm off on an honest jury.
Starnes tells you that “I found more blood fifty feet nearer the elevator on a nail.” Barrett,—Christopher Columbus Barrett, if you will, that discovered the hair that was identified, I believe, by Magnolia Kennedy, Monday morning, as soon as they began work, before anybody ever had had time to write a reward,—Barrett, who was not caught in a single lie, Barrett, who though he works for the National Pencil Company, had the manhood to stand up— I trust him and put him up against this man Holloway, who says that Jim Conley was his nigger.
This man Holloway, who made a statement to me in my office, when he didn’t see the purpose and the import and the force of the suggestion that this elevator key, after the elevator box was locked, was always put in Frank’s office, but when it became apparent that too many people saw this man Frank Sunday morning go there and turn the lever in the power box, without going to his office to get the key, then it was that this man Holloway, who we put up and for whose veracity we vouched and who betrayed us and entrapped us, after he saw the force of the suggestion, after he had told us that always, without exception, he had locked this elevator box himself and put the key in Frank’s office, throws us down and by his own affidavit as read in your presence here, made at a time when he didn’t see the importance of the proposition, changed his evidence and perjured himself either to have this jury acquit this guilty defendant, his boss and employer, or to get the reward for the conviction of “his nigger,” Jim Conley. Contrast him with Barrett,—Barrett, the man who discovered the hair on his machine early in the morning and whose attention was called to this blood there by the dressing room at a time when no reward is shown to have been offered and indeed, when you know that no reward was offered because no executive of this State or of this city offered any reward during Sunday or as early as 7 or 8 o’clock Monday morning. I say to you that this man Barrett stands an oasis in a mighty desert, standing up for truth and right and telling it, though his own job is at stake, and you know it. And you may fling your charges of perjury just as far as you want to, but I tell you right now, gentlemen, that Barrett, when he swore that he found blood there at the place where Conley said he dropped the body, told the truth; and when he said he found that hair on that machine, I tell you Barrett told the truth, and if there be a man in this town that rightly deserves and who ought to receive the rewards, if there are any, it’s this poor employe of the National Pencil Company, who had the manhood and the courage to tell the truth, and I hope if there be such a thing as a reward to be given to anybody, that this man Barrett gets it.
But not a single thing did Barrett swear but that either didn’t occur before any rewards were offered, or that weren’t substantiated by four and five of the most reputable witnesses that could be found. And Barrett didn’t make his discoveries May 15th, either, Barrett made them Monday morning, April 28th, and they haven’t any resemblance to a plant. They come so clean and so natural that the most warped and the most biased must recognize the fact that Barrett has told the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.
But you can wipe Barrett out of this case and still you have got an abundance of firm ground upon which to stand. Barrett isn’t shown to have lied, dodged or equivocated. Mrs. Jefferson,—and I’m only going to give you a few of the people that saw blood there—-Mrs. Jefferson saw a dark red spot about as large as a fan, and in her opinion, it was blood, and it was blood. Mel Stanford says he saw the blood at the dressing room Monday, dark spots that looked exactly like blood and this white stuff, haskoline, had been smeared over it. “It was not there Friday, I know,” said Mel Stanford, “because I swept the floor Friday at that place. The white substance appeared to have been swept over with a coarse broom; we have such a broom, but the one used by me Friday in sweeping over that identical spot was of finer straw; the spots were dry and the dark led right up here within five feet of where the smear was.” Blood and haskoline.
Jim Conley saw her go up and didn’t see her go down. Necessary, absolutely necessary, that this man should put her where he said in his telegram or letter the body was found. The discovery made Monday by Barrett and Jefferson and Mel Stanford and seen by Beavers and Starnes, but not only that, but reinforced by Darley, for Darley says “I saw what appeared to be blood spots at the dressing room, a white substance had been smeared over it, as if to hide it.” And Quinn says “The spots I saw at or near the dressing room looked like blood to me.”
Sometimes you have got to go into the enemy’s camp to get ammunition. It’s a mighty dangerous proposition, — Doctor Connally knows what a dangerous proposition it is to go into the enemy’s camp to get ammunition, he has been an old soldier and he will tell you that there is no more dangerous proposition,—I expect Mr. Mangum knows something about it, this going into the enemy’s camp to get ammunition; and yet in this case, conscious of the fact that we were right, having Darley tied up with an affidavit, we dared to go right into the enemy’s camp, and there we got the best evidence of the fact that Frank was more nervous than he had ever been known to be except on two occasions, one when he had seen a little child killed, and the other when he and his boss had had a falling out—this man Montag, who was so afraid something was going to be twisted in this case—and also Darley saw the blood. It was a mighty hard pill for Darley, it was an awful hard situation for him, but we drove it up to him and he dared not go back on the affidavit which he had signed, though he did modify his statements. All right; I’m not going to call over all these other people,— Mrs. Small and others,—though Mrs. Carson denied it, she went there,—who claimed to have seen that blood. But to cap it all, Mel Stanford says “I swept the floor,”— he’s an employee and he’s an honest man,—”it wasn’t there Friday.” Why? Because old Jim, when he went to move that body, put it there Saturday.
To cap it all, Doctor Claude Smith, the City Bacteriologist, says “I analyzed it and I tell you that I found blood corpuscles.” And now you come in with the proposition that that blood had been there ever since that machinist Lee saw that fellow Duffy stand there with his finger cut and let it spout out at the end,—a thing Duffy says never happened, and you know never happened, and we called on you to produce the paper this man Lee said he signed and you can’t do it, because he never signed one. Not only that, but your own employe, your own witness, Mary Pirk, your own witness, Julia Puss, your own witness, Magnolia Kennedy, your own witness, Wade Campbell, and your own witness Schiff and others whose names are too numerous to take up your valuable time to mention, all say that they saw this great big spot there covered over with something white, which we know to have been haskoline. Now, Harry Scott didn’t manipulate exactly right, so they got them some new Richmonds and put them in the field, and this fellow Pierce,—and where is Pierce? Echo answers where? And where, oh, where, is Whitfield? And echo answers where? The only man you bring in here is this man McWorth. Starnes denies, Black denies, Scott denies, every witness put on the stand denies, that around that scuttle hole anything was seen immediately after that murder.
Don’t you know that Frank, who went through that factory,—that Schiff, Darley, Holloway, don’t you know that they would have been only too glad to have reported to Frank that blood spots had been found around that scuttle hole, and don’t you know that Frank would have rushed to get his detective Scott to put the police in charge of the information that blood had been found here! But long after Jim Conley had been arrested, after this man Holloway had arrested him, after this man Holloway had said that Jim was “his nigger,” realizing the desperation of the situation, realizing that something had to be forthcoming to bolster up the charge that Conley did it, then it was and not until then that this man McWorth, after he had gone looking through the factory for a whole day, at about 3 :30 o’clock saw seven large stains, found the envelope and stick right there in the corner.
Now, he found too much, didn’t he! Wasn’t that a little too much! Is there a man on this jury that believes that all these officers looking as they did there, through that factory, going down in this basement there through that very scuttle hole, would have overlooked seven large stains which were not found there until May 15th? Scott said “I looked there just after the murder, made search at the scuttle hole, didn’t see blood spots there.” Starnes says the same, Rosser says the same, and these men Mel Stanford and Darley both say they had been cleaning up all that very area May 3rd, and yet the men who cleaned up and all these men never saw them and never even found the envelope or the stick. Why it’s just in keeping with that plant of the shirt at Newt Lee’s house.
I don’t care how much you mix up this man Black. Boots Rogers says, Darley says, that Sunday morning, when suspicion pointed towards this man Newt Lee, that this man Frank, the brilliant Cornell graduate and the man who was so capable at making figures that certain parts of his work have never been fixed since he left that factory, when he knew a girl had been murdered downstairs, when he knew that suspicion pointed towards Newt Lee, took that slip out of the clock and stood there, looked at it, told those men, in answer to a question, if Newt Lee would have had time to have left and gone home after he killed that girl and changed his clothing, that old Newt didn’t have the time. Why did he say it then? Because he knew that Lanford and Black and the other detectives who were there would have examined that slip for themselves, then and there, and would have seen that these punches were regular or irregular. But he stood there, and because he knew he would be detected if he tried to palm off a fraud at that time and place, this man of keen perception, this man who is quick at figures, this Cornell graduate of high standing, looked over those figures which register the punches for simply twelve hours,—not quite twelve hours,—in that presence, surrounded by those men, told them that Newt Lee wouldn’t have had the time, but, ah! Monday afternoon, when he sees that there isn’t enough evidence against Newt Lee, and that the thing ain’t working quite as nicely against this man Gantt, who he told was familiar with this little girl, Mary Phagan, and then he suddenly proposes, after a conference with his astute counsel, Mr. Haas, that “you go out to my house and make a search,” and then, in the same breath and at the same time, he shrewdly and adroitly suggests to Black that Newt Lee, he has suddenly discovered, had time to go out to his house, and forthwith, early Tuesday morning, John Black, not having been there before because Leo M. Frank told him that Newt Lee didn’t have time to go out to his house, but after the information comes in then Tuesday morning, John Black puts out and goes to old Newt’s house and finds a shirt; that’s a plant as sure as the envelope is a plant, as the stick is a plant, as the spots around the scuttle hole. And the man that did his job, did it too well ; he gets a shirt that has the odor of blood, but one that has none of the scent of the negro Newt Lee in the armpit. He puts it, not on one side, as any man moving a body would necessarily have done, but he smears it on both sides, and this carries with it, as you as honest men must know, unmistakable evidence of the fact that somebody planted that shirt sometime Monday, at whose instance and suggestion we don’t know.
And that club business: Doctor Harris says that that wound could not have been done with that club, and Doctor Hurt says it could not have been done with that club, and not a doctor of all the numerous doctors, good men and good doctors as they are for some purposes, ever denies it. A physical examination of that shirt shows you that it wasn’t on the person when that blood got on it,—there is as much blood on the inside or the under side that didn’t come through to the outside. Lee didn’t deny the shirt, but he never did say that it was his shirt. Cornered up as he was, not a negro, one negro in a thousand, that wouldn’t have denied the ownership of that shirt, but old Lee was too honest to say that it wasn’t his shirt,—he didn’t remember it; and you don’t know whether it was his or not. Now this envelope and this stick is found at the radiator, at the scuttle hole, May 15th, after the place had been cleaned up, according to Darley and other witnesses, including Mel Stanford, and after, as I said, it had been thoroughly searched by Scott, Campbell, Rosser, Starnes and I don’t know how many others; and then you say that these things weren’t a part and parcel of the same scheme that caused this man to have Conley write those notes planted by the body to draw attention away from him.
Gentlemen, you can’t get away from the fact that blood was there, you can’t do it; now, can you? Just as honest men, now, honest men can you get away from that? If human testimony is to be believed, you’ve got to recognize the fact that blood was on the second floor, and that there was no blood at the scuttle hole ; that the shirt and the club and the spots were plants.
“She had left the plant five minutes when Lemmie Quinn, the foreman of that plant, came in and told me I couldn’t keep him away from the factory even though it was a holiday, at which time I smiled and kept on working.” Smiled and kept on working! “I wanted to know when they would have lunch, I got my house and Minola answered the phone and she answered me back that she would have lunch immediately and for me to come right away. I then gathered my papers together and went upstairs to see the boys on the top floor; this must have been, since I just looked at my watch, ten minutes to one. Mrs. White states that it was 12:35, that she passed by and saw me, that’s possibly true, I have no recollection about it, perhaps her recollection is better than mine.” She remembered it very well.
Now, this Minola McKnight business. Isn’t it strange that this man Albert, her husband, would go up there and tell that kind of a tale if there wasn’t some truth in it? Isn’t it strange that Minola herself, in the tale that they seek to have you believe was a lie, should have been sustained by Mrs. Selig, when she tells you “Yes, I gave her $5.00 to go get some change,” and Mrs. Frank gave her a hat? Do you believe that this husband of hers didn’t see that man Frank when, after this murder, he went home and was anxious to see how he looked in the glass, but as the people had gone to the opera, anxious to get back to keep his engagement with Jim Conley? And all this talk about Mrs. Selig, about this thing not having been changed. Gentlemen, are you just going to swallow that kind of stuff without using your knowledge of human nature?
And you tried to mix old Albert up, and right here, I’m going to read you a little bit about Albert’s evidence: “Yes sir, he came in close to 1:30, I guess, something like that.” “Did he or not eat anything?” “No sir, not at that time, he didn’t, he came in and went to the sideboard in the dining room and stood there a few minutes, then he goes out ‘and catches the car.” “How long did he stay at the house?” “I suppose he stayed there five or ten minutes.” “About five or ten minutes?” “About five or ten minutes.” “What did he do at the sideboard?” “I didn’t see him do anything at the sideboard.” “Isn’t there a door between the cook room and the dining room?”
These gentlemen asked him, and Albert said, “Yes, this here dining room was open;” yes, they didn’t keep it shut all the time, said Albert. “And you know he didn’t eat anything in that dining room?” “Yes, I know he didn’t eat.” And this is the tale that had been told Craven by the husband of Minola McKnight, and Minola went down there and in the presence of her counsel, stated these things to these officers and she never would have done it if it hadn’t been the truth. Gordon was down there, and he could have said—and if he hadn’t said it then he’s unworthy of the name of lawyer—”Minola, if these things aren’t true, don’t you put your name to it, if you do you are liable to go to the penitentiary for false swearing; if you don’t, the writ of habeas corpus is guaranteed to every man, and in less than two hours, by an order of a judge of the Superior Court I’ll have you out of here.” And yet, George Gordon, with his knowledge of the law, with his knowledge of his client’s rights, sits there and lets Minola McKnight, the cook, who is sustained in the statement that she then made, but which here in this presence she repudiated, corroborated by her husband and sustained in many particulars by the Seligs themselves,—George Gordon sat there and let her put her fist to that paper, swearing to a lie that might send her to the penitentiary, and he was her lawyer and could have released her from that prison by a writ of habeas corpus as quick as he could have gotten to a judge, because any judge that fails to hear a writ of habeas corpus immediately is subject to damages and impeachment.
But Craven was there and Albert was there and this woman, McKnight, sitting there in the presence of her lawyer, this man that was so eager to inject into this case something that these men wanted in here all the time, but never could get until he got on that stand and swore that I had said a thing that you saw by the questions that I asked him never did occur, that I was afraid that I would get in bad with the detectives—I would get in bad with them if I would try to run their business, and I never will get in bad with them because I never expect to undertake to run their business; I’ve got as much as I can say grace over to attend to my own business.
And you go out there, now, and bring in Julius Fisher and a photographer, and all these people, and try to prove this negro Albert McKnight lied, and by the mere movement of that sideboard, which Mrs. Selig in her evidence says, even, every time they swept it was put just exactly back in the same place, —then you try to break down Albert McKnight ‘s evidence with that. Why, gentlemen, Albert says that that sideboard had been moved, and you know it had been moved, and Albert McKnight stood, not where these gentlemen sought to put him, but at a place where he could see this man Frank, who came home, there sometimes, as Albert says, between one and two o’clock, after he had murdered the girl, and didn’t eat his dinner, but hurried back to the factory to keep his engagement with Jim Conley, who had promised to come back and burn her body in the furnace. You tell me that Albert would have told that lie! You tell me that Albert’s wife, in the presence of Albert and Craven and Pickett, honorable, upright men, who worked for the Beck & Gregg Company, the same firm that Albert McKnight works at,—and do you tell me that George Gordon, a man who poses as an attorney, who wants to protect the rights of his client, as he would have you see, sat there in that presence and allowed this woman, for her husband, to put her fist to a paper and swear to it which would consign her to the penitentiary t I tell you that that thing never happened, and the reason Minola McKnight made that affidavit, corroborating this man, her husband, Albert, sustained as she is by the Seligs, biased and prejudiced and willing to protect their son-in-law as they were, is because it was the embodiment of the truth and nothing but the truth; and as honest, unprejudiced, unbiased men, you know it.
And you know he didn’t eat anything in that dining room, yes, I know he didn’t eat. “Don’t you know you can’t sit in that dining room,” says Mr. Arnold, “and don’t you know you can’t see from the kitchen into the dining room, you know that, don’t you I” ”Yes sir, you certainly can see;” and the very evidence of the photographs and Julius Fischer and others who came here, after that sideboard had been moved, sustains Albert McKnight, and shows that once that sideboard is adjusted, you could see, as Albert says, and he did see because he would have never told that tale unless he had been there and seen it. “You can see in there ?” “Yes sir, you can see; look in the mirror in the corner and see all over that dining room;” that’s what Albert swore. And if there’s anybody in the world that knows how to get up a plan to see from the kitchen into the dining room or to hear what’s going on among the white folks in the dining room, it’s a negro. And Albert told too straight a tale, he told too reasonable a tale. “Don’t you know that you can’t look in the mirror in the corner and see it?” Albert says “I did do it, I stayed there about five or ten minutes while he was there and looked in that mirror at him, Mr. Frank.” “You stayed there in that kitchen on that occasion and looked in the mirror at him that five or ten minutes he stayed there?” “Yes sir.” “By looking in that mirror you can see what’s going on in that room?” “You can see if they are eating at the table.” “Don’t you know that you can’t see in that room by looking into that mirror?” “Yes sir, you can see in there.” “You can see all over the room?”—tried to make him say that—”No, not all over it exactly.” “But you can see even when they are eating at the table?” “You can look in that mirror and see in the sitting room and through that dining room,” said Albert, “to a certain extent.” And he says he never was in the dining room in his life. That’s reasonable. “You were right side of the back door of the kitchen?” “Yes, sir.” “Let me give you a little drawing; now were you sitting right in front of that little hallway between the two rooms, in front of it?” Says Albert, “Not exactly.” “You were sitting right here against the wall, weren’t you?” And he said “Yes sir.” “I don’t know whether it’s fair or not,—that’s a fair statement.”
And Albert says, “I don’t know whether it’s fair or not, but I know I saw Leo M. Frank come in there some time between one and two o’clock Saturday, April 26th, and I know he didn’t stay but about ten minutes and left to go to town.” And he tells you the way in which he left, and Frank in his statement says that, while he didn’t get on that car, he went in such a direction as Albert McKnight might have naturally supposed he went down there. “Minola she went in there but stayed only a minute or two in the dining room, I never looked at the clock.” “You don’t know exactly what time?” “No, but I know it was obliged to have been something after one when Mr. Frank came there and he came in and went before the sideboard and then went back to town.” And he says “I don’t know exactly whether he did or not because I have never been in the house no further than the cook room.”
Then he says “”Who did you tell?” “I told Mr. Craven.” “Who is Craven?” “He is the boss at the plow department at the Beck & Gregg Hardware Company;” and that’s the way the detectives got hold of it, and try all you will to break old Albert down, I submit to you, gentlemen, that he has told the absolute truth and stands unimpeached.
I regretted more than you the necessity for your being carried over another week or, rather, another Sunday. I was even more exhausted than I anticipated, and this morning my throat and voice are in such shape that I fear I will not be able to do the case the justice it demands. I thought myself, had we not had the adjournment that I might have been able to finish my speech and His Honor charge you Saturday afternoon, but I am sure such would not have been the case.
When we closed on Saturday, I was just completing a brief analysis of the statement made by this defendant. I’m not going into any exhaustive analysis of that statement, because it is not necessary to further inconvenience you and I haven’t the physical strength, but there is certain language and certain statements and assertions made in this statement by this defendant which merit some consideration.
This defendant stated to you, after His Honor had excluded our evidence and properly, I think, that his wife visited him at the police station. He says that she was there almost in hysterics, having been brought there by her father and two brothers-in-law and Rabbi Marx—no, “Rabbi Marx was with me, I consulted with him as to the advisability of allowing my dear wife to come up to the top floor to see those surroundings, city detectives, reporters and snapshotters.” He doesn’t prove that by a living soul and relies merely upon his own statement. If they could have proven it by Rabbi Marx, who was there and advised him, why didn’t they do it? Do you tell me that there lives a true wife, conscious of her husband’s innocence, that wouldn’t have gone through snap-shotters, reporters and everything else, to have seen him—
I must object to as unfair and outrageous an argument as that, that his wife didn’t go there through any consciousness of guilt on his part. I have sat here and heard the unfairest argument I have ever heard, and I can’t object to it, but I do object to his making any allusion to the failure of the wife to go and see him; it’s unfair, it isn’t the way to treat a man on trial for his life.
Is there any evidence to that effect?
Here is the statement I have read.
I object to his drawing any conclusions from his wife going or not going, one way or the other, it’s an outrage upon law and decency and fairness.
Whatever was in the evidence or the statement I must allow it.
“Let the galled jade wince”—
I object to that, I’m not a “galled jade,” and I’ve got a right to object. I’m not galled at all, and that statement is entirely uncalled for.
Frank said that his wife never went back there because she was afraid that the snapshotters would get her picture—because she didn’t want to go through the line of snapshotters. I tell you, gentlemen of the jury, that there never lived a woman, conscious of the rectitude and innocence of her husband, who wouldn’t have gone to him through snapshotters, reporters and over the advice of any Rabbi under the sun. And you know it.
Frank says in his statement, with reference to these notes written by Conley, “I said I know he can write.” How long did it take him to say it, if he ever said it. “I received many notes from him asking me to loan him money, I have received too many notes from him not to know that he can write.” In other words, says Frank, in his statement, I have received notes signed with his name, purporting to have been written by him, and he says they were written by a pencil. Frank says he said “I told them if you will look in the drawer in the safe you will find the card of a jeweler from whom Conley bought a watch on the installment plan.” He corroborates Conley there, with reference to the watch incident and what occurred there in his office when Conley told him not to take any more money out. “Now, perhaps if you go to that jeweler you may find some sort of receipt that Conley had to give and be able to prove that Conley can write.”
Scott says that no such thing ever happened. But if Frank knew so well that this man Conley could write, in the name of fairness why didn’t Frank, when he saw those notes at the police station, found beside this dead body, then and there say “this is the writing of James Conley?” Why didn’t he do it? Scott denies that any such thing happened, or that they came into possession of any information from Frank that led to knowledge on their part that this man Conley could write. And up to the time that they discovered this man Conley could write, this man had kept his mouth sealed and it was only the knowledge on the part of the detectives and the knowledge on the part of Conley that the detectives knew he was lying about his ability to write, that forced him to make the first admission that he was connected with this crime.
He says he knew that Conley could write. Why, then, did he keep his mouth shut until the detectives discovered it, when he knew that the notes found beside that poor girl’s body was the one key that . was going to unlock the Phagan mystery? You know why.
Ah, you did know that Conley could write. You knew it, not only because he wrote the notes for you, through which you sought to place the responsibility for this crime on another man, but you knew it because he checked up the boxes of pencils, and he had written you numerous notes to get money from you, just like he borrowed money from those other people in that factory. You knew that the most powerful fact that could be brought to light showing who committed this dastardly crime was to find who penned the notes placed with the body; and yet, although you saw them, according to your own statement, at police headquarters and saw them there the very Sunday morning that the crime was committed, not a word, not a word, although the notes themselves said that the crime was done by a negro. It is not necessary to discuss that further.
Frank says, with reference to this visit of Conley to the factory, after Conley had gone through over yonder and demonstrated in detail, as told you by Branch, and in the same length of time and almost to the minute that Conley himself says it took, too, though Conley only knows the clock registered four minutes to one and don’t know anything about the balance of the time.
He says, with reference to the visit of Conley to the jail, when Conley wanted to confront him, “I told them if they got the permission, I told them through my friend Mr. Klein, that if they got the permission of Mr. Rosser to come, I would speak to them, would speak to Conley and face him or anything they wanted, if they got the permission of Mr. Rosser. Mr. Rosser was on that day up at Tallulah Falls trying a case.” But Mr. Rosser got back, didn’t he? Mr. Rosser didn’t remain at Tallulah Falls. I tell you, gentlemen of the jury, measuring my words as I utter them, and if you have sense enough to get out of a shower of rain you know it’s true, that never in the history of the Anglo-Saxon race, never in the history of the African race in America, never in the history of any other race, did an ignorant, filthy negro, accuse a white man of a crime and that man decline to face him. And there never lived within the State of Georgia, a lawyer with one-half the ability of Mr. Luther Rosser, who possessed a consciousness of his client’s innocence, that wouldn’t have said “Let this ignorant negro confront my innocent client.” If there be a negro who accuses me of a crime of which I am innocent I tell you, and you know it’s true, I’m going to confront him, even before my attorney, no matter who he is, returns from Tallulah Falls, and if not then, I tell you just as soon as that attorney does return, I’m going to see that that negro is brought into my presence and permitted to set forth his accusations.
You make much here of the fact that you didn’t know what this man Conley was going to say when he got on the stand. You could have known it, but you dared not do it.
May it please the Court, that is an untrue statement; at that time, when he proposed to go through that dirty farce, with a dirty negro, with a crowd of policemen, confronting this man, he made his first statement—his last statement, he said, and these addendas nobody ever dreamed of them, and Frank had no chance to meet them; that’s the truth. You ought to tell the truth, if a man is involved for his life; that’s the truth.
It does not make any difference about your addendas, and I’m going to put it right up to this jury —
May it please the Court, have I got the right to interrupt him when he mis-states the facts?
Whenever he goes outside of the record.
Has he got the right to comment that I haven’t exercised my reasonable rights?
No, sir, not if he has done that.
Nobody has got a right to comment on the fact that I have made a reasonable objection.
But I’m inside of the record, and you know it, and the jury knows it. I said, may it please Your Honor, that this man Frank declined to be confronted by this man Conley.
That isn’t what I objected to; he said that at that meeting that was proposed by Conley, as he says, but really proposed by the detectives, when I was out of the city, that if that had been met, I would have known Conley’s statement, and that’s not true; I would not have been any wiser about his statement than I was here the other day.
You can comment upon the fact that he refused to meet Frank or Frank refused to meet him, and at the time he did it, he was out of the city.
We did object to that evidence, Your Honor, but Your Honor let that in.
I know; go on.
They see the force of it.
Is that a fair comment, Your Honor, if I make a reasonable objection, to say that we see the force of it?
I don’t think that, in reply to your objection, is a fair statement.
Now, may it please Your Honor, if they don’t see the force of it, you do —
I want to know, is Your Honor’s ruling to be absolutely disregarded like that?
Mr. Dorsey, stay inside of the record, and quit commenting on what they say and do.
I am inside of the record, and Your Honor knows that’s an entirely proper comment.
Your Honor rules—he says one thing and then says Your Honor knows better —
Your Honor knows I have got a right to comment on the conduct of this defendant.
Of course, you have, but when they get up, I don’t think you have any right to comment on their objections as they are making them to the Court.
No, I don’t think so.
Isn’t everything that occurs in the presence of the Court the subject matter for comment?
No, I don’t think you can comment on these things. You can comment on any conduct within the province of this trial, but if he makes an objection that’s sustained, why, then, you can’t comment on that.
Does Your Honor say I’m outside of the record?
No, I don’t, but I say this, you can comment on the fact that Frank refused to meet this man, if that’s in the record, you have a right to do that.
This man Frank, a graduate of Cornell, the superintendent of the pencil factory, so anxious to ferret out this murder that he had phoned Schiff three times on Monday, April 28th, to employ the Pinkerton Detective Agency, this white man refused to meet this ignorant negro, Jim Conley. He refused upon the flimsy pretext that his counsel was out of town, but when his counsel returned, when he had the opportunity to know at least something of the accusations that Conley brought against this man, he dared not let him meet him. It is unnecessary to take up time discussing that.
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