Friday, February 14, 2014

Leo Frank Got What He Deserved

Leo Frank (1884-1915), convicted murderer of 13 year old Mary Phagan (1899-1913), got what he deserved when he was lynched by a group of 25 men who were incensed that the governor of Georgia, John M Slaton, had commuted Frank’s death sentence to life in prison. Numerous juries and judges had affirmed that Frank was the wanton murderer of the young Phagan.
In short, Leo Frank, a Jewish transplant from Brooklyn working at the National Pencil Company, murdered Mary Phagan by strangulation and bludgeoning either before or after raping her on April 26, 1913. Phagan, a poor girl paid a few pennies an hour for working 12 hours shifts at the factory had arrived at the factory slightly after noon to collect her meager pay.
Frank married into the prominent Selig family after moving to Atlanta after graduation from Cornell University in 1906. His uncle, the major shareholder in the pencil company, gave him a job where he soon became the superintendent in 1908.
Frank’s reputation was of ill repute to put it politely. The plant security man, John Conley, found Frank at the plant engaged twice in oral sex with 2 different prostitutes. At his trial, 20 girls and women testified that he regularly made unwanted sexual advances toward them. Never once did the esteemed defense team cross examine the testimony given by these girls and women because they did not want to reinforce the prosecution’s claim that Frank was a violent deviant.
The American Mercury published on April 26, 2013, 100 Reasons Leo Frank Is Guilty, but we will present only a few salient points provided at The most noteworthy point is that Frank and/or his defense team lost every single encounter with the justice system from coroner to United States Supreme Court, and every stop in between. Never was an official dissenting opinion offered defending Frank.
The Frank’s maid, Minola McKnight, swore an affidavit in which she overheard Leo confess to his wife on the night of the murder that he was in trouble and wanted a revolver to kill himself, a request perhaps not aided by his drunken state of mind, but highly incriminating.
The Frank defense attempted to frame John Conley, the black security man, with the murder. The Pinkerton team hired by Frank to find the guilty party came to conclude that Frank was the guilty man, a fact underscored by a dishonest Pinkerton employee, W. D. McWorth, who planted evidence at the NPC factory in a lame attempt to lay blame on someone other than Frank, such as John Conley.
Perhaps the most damning witness against Frank was his wife Lucille, who though fiercely loyal during the trial, refused to be buried next to her husband. Evidence suggests that she came to conclude, along with the entire legal system, that her husband was a brutal murderer.
Finally, it was most telling that Frank offered a long winded defense of himself at trial, but not under oath. Although legal in Georgia at the time, the refusal to testify under oath must have impressed the jury in a very negative way.
An interesting note is that the transcription of the trial was stolen from the Georgia State Archives in the early 1960s, never to be recovered. The ability to steal the 3647 page document required the collusion of powerful persons – persons who did not want the truth to survive to the present time.
In 2013, Governor Nathan Deal pardoned Frank of his conviction, continuing the injustice first perpetrated by Governor Slaton, both men reprehensible enemies of justice. The victim has been traduced by wicked men who covet money more than justice.
It would be interesting to discover what makes men like Leo Frank and Jeffery Dahlmer tick. Fortunately Frank was caught before he could force himself on more young girls. Frank’s end fit the crime, and for that we salute the 25 men who did what the governor failed to do.
Reference, accessed February 14, 2014

Copyright 2014 Tony Bonn. All rights reserved.


Anonymous said...

Leo Frank died in 1915, not 1914.

It was slaton who commuted the sentence of Leo Frank.

Tony Bonn said...

Thanks for correction - we have updated his life span.