Hooper Sees Conley for the First Time
The Atlanta Journal
Friday, June 27, 1913
Attorney Who Will Aid Solicitor Hears Negro Sweeper Recite His Story
Frank A. Hooper, the attorney who will assist Solicitor Hugh M. Dorsey in the prosecution of the case against Leo M. Frank, indicted for the murder of little Mary Phagan, interviewed James Conley, the negro sweeper, for the first time on Friday morning.
The attorney talked with the negro in the office of the police board for nearly an hour. Detective Starnes, who has been working under the direction of the solicitor, was the only officer with him.
Mr. Hooper simply made the trip to hear from Conley’s own lips his story of the crime, and the interview is said not to have been occasioned by any new developments in the case.
Mr. Hooper said that he had the negro tell him the “whole story.”
“The negro talks in a clear, straight-forward manner,” the attorney declared, “and his statement had the earmarks of the truth on it.” Mr. Hooper characterized the negro as a “good witness.”
While Solicitor Dorsey has interviewed Conley a number of times, he has never made any statement relative to the value of the negro’s story in a court room nor has he said anything relative to the manner in which the negro tells his story.
The statement of Mr. Hooper, however, shows that the state places confidence in the negro’s story, despite the fact that friends of Mr. Frank say that there are many weak spots in his narrative about the actions of Frank and himself on the day that Mary Phagan met her death in the pencil factory.
The name of the detective employed by the solicitor during the early investigation of the Phagan case, and refered [sic] to by Mr. Dorsey as one of the best detectives in America, was made public Friday for the first time. He is Frank B. Pond, of St. Louis, formerly a Pinkerton, and man of much experience in criminal work.
The solicitor has declared that Pond gave him many valuable suggestions, while he was at work on the case.
However, it is said that Pond has developed little in the case, which has not been made public.
Pond is now in Houston, Tex. While here he registered under different names at several of the hotels in the city, and it is said that the city detectives, thinking that he was employed by friends of Frank, shadowed him during his stay here.