• Shawnie5

    “In 1983, eight-five year old Alonzo Mann, who had been Frank’s office boy, finally admitted a seventy year old secret: Frank had not killed Mary Phagan.”

    I have a bit of familiarity with this case, and I of course believe Frank was innocent. But this is not exactly what Alonzo Mann admitted. Why did you not finish telling the story?

  • Jack

    Frank was certainly innocent, but what an ugly trial it was on all counts. Frank’s lawyers ripped into Jim Conley, a black janitor who was likely the real killer, using the worst racist language. In commenting on his own innocence and Conley’s guilt, Frank himself used language that was not much better. And Frank was convicted in part because the jury couldn’t believe that a black man was smart enough to tell the elaborate tales Conley told in his own defense or in implicating Frank.

    Thus, ironically, it was racism against blacks as well as anti-Semitism that led to Frank rather than Conley being tried and convicted.

    Sometime I wonder whether the Great Depression wasn’t God’s judgment on our country for those kinds of sins.

  • Shawnie5

    Indeed, Jack. Nations as well as individuals reap what they sow.

    What caught my attention about this article was the author’s withholding of the punch line, so to speak: Who was the real killer, then? Alonzo Mann did not admit that Frank was innocent, but that he had witnessed Conley carrying the corpse, alone–which was not entirely inconsistent with the prosecution’s case since their story was that Conley had helped Frank dispose of the body. It is other inconsistencies in Conley’s testimony that indicate his probable guilt and Frank’s innocence.

    Strange that to this day the family of Mary Phagan insists that Frank was guilty. Probably the idea that someone got away with such a crime is too awful to contemplate.

  • Jack

    Yes, I noticed that, too, Shawnie. Initially, the first words I typed were meant to elaborate on what I correctly guessed your point would be, but then decided to wait and see your response.

    You’re absolutely right about Mann….his claims by themselves do not exonerate Frank (although his reluctance to say anything for all these decades suggests he thought they did). What convinces me of Conley’s guilt are, as you said, the other inconsistencies in his testimony.

    I don’t know what to make of the Phagan family’s claim. The bottom line is that if Conley did it, he wasn’t just an ordinary liar, but one who was capable of going deeper than deep in his layers of mendacity. And in the end, the racist jury just refused to believe that anyone, let alone a “black man,” was capable of a set of tales that elaborate. And indeed, they were extremely elaborate, evidence of very severe psychopathy if untrue.

  • There is a MOUNTAIN of evidence proving Leo Frank is guilty. Good enough for the coroner’s jury, the grand jury (which included four Jews), the trial jury, the Georgia Court of Appeals, the US Court of Appeals, and the Supreme Court of the United States. If you think that they were all motivated by “anti-Semitism,” then you are truly paranoid. See “100 Reasons Leo Frank is Guilty” and “The Aborted Apotheosis of Leo Frank” for a short education on the subject.


  • Garson Abuita

    Was Der Sturmer not available for citation? Please RNS readers, consult Wikipedia on The American Mercury. Then consult it on Leo Frank, in which you’ll find that the vast consensus of historians is Frank was innocent.
    Hey RNS, I realize my plea to switch to Disqus has fallen on deaf ears, but is there a reason you’re making it even harder to get a comment through? Launching nuclear missiles is easier at this point.

  • Jack

    B. Bradford, key evidence consistent with Frank’s innocence was withheld from the grand jury, so of course it chose accordingly.

    BTW, do you regularly quote from anti-Semitic rags, or are you one of their writers?

  • Jack

    Garson, I think “Bradford” is one of their writers, so that would explain it.

  • Mark Cohen

    “Their home was in the middle of what is now Turner Field in Atlanta” – This is false, the home was where an overhead highway meets an underpass (I checked). The best book on the case is NOT ‘And the Dead Shall Rise’ by Steve Oney, (2003) but instead ‘The Murder of Little Mary Phagan’ by Mary Phagan Kean (1989). No mobs shouted “Crack the Jews neck” outside the courtroom, Leonard Dinnerstein started this in 1968 (American Jewish Archive Journal, 1968), there are no contemporary sources sustaining this claim. Leo Frank was convicted in 2 hours, not 4 hours. There is no evidence it took Frank 10 minutes to die. The men who hanged Leo Frank were not wearing three piece suits and the people who posted with the lynched body of Frank were not the original lynchers, but gawkers who came afterwards. Leo Frank was not convicted because of Antisemitism, why don’t you read the trial brief of evidence (1913) with an open mind, no making Antigentile accusations.

  • The Frank forces tried to pin the crime on the Black watchman, Newt Lee, using a planted bloody shirt. Then they planted fake evidence (a bloody club and pay stub) trying to implicate the Black sweeper, Jim Conley. They were caught faking this evidence in 1913, and no one then or now disputes that it was faked.

    These are not the acts of an innocent man.

    They are still trying to convince people that Conley did it. Conley had just been paid more than five times what Mary Phagan had in her purse. They want us to believe he killed her for $1.20. Sure he did.

    And Conley would have had to kill her right next to the unlocked front door, in the highest-traffic part of the building, where anyone could walk in at any time, and where several people had walked by in just the last few minutes — and within 30 feet of his boss. Wow, what a plausible story.

    Besides the victim, there were only four people in the building. And three of them obviously didn’t do it. That leaves Leo Frank.

  • John D

    The Leo Frank Research Library at http://www.LeoFrank.org has the unabridged Leo Frank trial brief of evidence (1913) and Leo Frank Georgia Supreme Court records (1913, 1914). The archive there also has all the Atlanta newspaper reports from April to August 1913.

    Let’s have a full inquiry publicly into the facts of this case and hear the full prosecution version, not just the defense version.

    There is also a Leo Frank Case discussion forum by Jewish professor Koenigsberg http://www.leofrankcase.com

    Let’s review the evidence.

  • Danny

    Every court that reviewed the trial evidence (local, state or federal), Superior Court of Georgia, Georgia Supreme Court, United States Supreme Court all ruled Leo Frank had a fair trial. Today we can look at the trial transcript and see that Leo Frank changed his murder alibi and placed himself at the men’s toilet where the dead body of Mary Phagan had been found. He would be found guilty today if he had said the same thing (ie. placing himself at the scene of the crime, when he claimed before hand he never left his office).

    Murder of Little Mary Phagan (audiobook)

    Seriously, did Leo Frank confess?