Sensations in Phagan Case at Hand
The Atlanta Georgian
Tuesday, June 17, 1913
Out-of-Town Trips Believed To Be of Great Importance—Defense Has Strong Evidence.
Frank A. Hooper, associate counsel with Solicitor General Hugh M. Dorsey in the prosecution of the Phagan murder mystery, left Atlanta Monday for a trip to Indianapolis. Attorney Hooper was the third man closely connected with the Phagan case to leave town within a space of three days.
Colonel Thomas B. Felder, who took an active part in the hunt for the slayer of Mary Phagan until the dictograph controversy arose, left Sunday, saying that he was going to Cincinnati. He said that it was a business trip and intimated that it was related either to his quarrel with Chief of Detectives Lanford or directly with the Phagan case.
Solicitor Dorsey left the previous afternoon. He gave out that the prosecution entirely had completed its preparation of the Phagan case and that he was going away for a week’s rest at Atlantic City and New York.
At the Hooper home Tuesday it was admitted that Mr. Hooper’s trip was on business, but denial was made that it was in connection with the Phagan case or that there was any significance in his departure practically at the same time as that of Solicitor Dorsey and Colonel Felder.
Rumors are circulating, however, that material witnesses in the case have been uncovered and that their testimony may have a most important bearing in determining the person who strangled Mary Phagan. It is said that the sudden trips out of town of Solicitor Dorsey and his associate, Attorney Hooper, may not be unrelated to these new developments.
The prosecution has been aware for some time that the attorneys for the defense have been weaving a strong net of damaging evidence around the negro sweeper, Jim Conley.
But Attorney Luther Z. Rosser, following his custom of silence, has let neither the public nor the prosecution in on the secret of the source of this important evidence. He has scores of affidavits. That much is known by the prosecution, but by whom they are signed will probably remain a deep mystery until the Frank trial begins.
Report New Evidence.
Recent reports that new and startling evidence against the negro has been turned up by investigators for the defense are held responsible in some quarters for the sudden out-of-town trips of the Solicitor and his associate. It is explained that they are looking into some of the stories which have come to their ears.
They have heard, it is said, that the defense is in possession of statements from reputable and unquestionably reliable persons which place an overwhelming weight of circumstantial evidence upon the shoulders of the negro. These statements are said to have been overlooked or refused by the detectives working on the case.
Conley, meanwhile, sticks to the story told in his latest affidavit. He insists that the only part he had in the crime was assisting Frank to dispose of the body.
Chief Lanford and Harry Scott, of the Pinkertons, continue to express their belief in the absolute truth of the latest story of the negro, although he admittedly uttered a series of lies and misstatements and perjured himself in two other affidavits before he signed the one which the authorities now believe.