Mary Phagan case (was: Top Ten]
- Another thing about the case, even tho the black janitor (was his name Willie?) seemed to confess to the murder on his deathbed, he never came right out and said "I raped and killed Mary Phagan"...it was more a case of others putting words into his mouth, and he was probably too sick to clarify himself.
He DID seem to know something about the rape and murder, though, but the note that was found on Phagan's body doesn't make sense if Willie was the culprit -- what, did he viciously rape and brutally beat up Mary, and then get her paper and pencil and let her write a note implicating himself before killing her? Would he have let such a note remain on her body while he led police to it?
No, to me the existence of that note suggests that at least one other person was involved, and that that person was probably Caucasian, because I doubt a black man would write a note like that.
Also, while Willie DID have a history of domestic abuse with his various live-in girlfriends (all of whom were black), he did not have a history of rape, pedophilia, or even ever having tried to pick up a white girl or woman (something that would have gotten him lynched in those days)....
As I said, I think Willie knew something, and may have acted as procuror for someone else (or more than one other), probably the white men that witnesses saw with Mary later on Saturday, hours after the prosecution claimed Franks had killed her....and perhaps it was to Willie that the job fell of getting rid of Phagen after they were thru...
From: Rev COAL
Sent: Sat, 24 Dec 2005 05:25:40 -0800
Subject: Re: [40Whacks] FW: Top Ten [June]
Yes, that's the case I read; I didn't realize that there was a book out by Mary Phagan's family, I'll have to look it up -- it would be interesting to read their perspective. Do you remember the book's title?
They probably still think Leo Franks did it because Franks was his own worst enemy at times, acting decidedly peculiar when questioned, and somewhat evasive in some of his answers. But in the book that I read, some acquaintances/coworkers claimed that he was having an affair, and there WAS an eyewitness that a certain woman with whom Franks seemed chummy did visit him often at his office when others weren't around, and that she (and perhaps a female friend of hers) did visit Franks at his office that Saturday morning, just about the time that Mary Phagan came to pick up her paycheck...
So that might explain Franks' odd behaviour and reticence in explaining exactly where he was and exactly what he was doing after Phagan left his office. It might also explain why he didn't hear any struggle (if indeed there was one), because he may have been "preoccupied" at the time....
Sent: Fri, 23 Dec 2005 23:29:25 -0800
Subject: Re: [40Whacks] FW: Top Ten [June]
That was the case of Mary Phagan and Leo Franks was
the man who was lynched for it. I read a book by a
niece of hers I think it was called Little Mary
Phagan. The Phagan family inspite of evidence to the
contrary still claim that Franks did it. It was an
interesting case, after you mentioned it I looked it
up on the internet. Leo Franks was the only white man
until the 1960s who was convicted on a black man's
(the man who is the likely murderer} word, the case
also revived the Ku Klux Klan.
--- Rev COAL <ynrchyldzwylds_hobby@...> wrote:
> There was a similar case, high-profie at the time,=== message truncated ===
> in Georgia in the 1910s. I read a book about it
> last year, but unfortunately the name of the book
> escapes me at the moment.
> The case involved the rape and murder of a
> 12-year-old white girl. Objective investigation
> into the girl's background has since shown that she
> probably wasn't such a sweet innocent as the local
> newspapers at the time trumpeted her to be.
> She worked at a local textile mill and went in one
> Saturday afternoon to pick up her paycheck for the
> week, planning on then attending a parade in town.
> Her body was later found in the cellar of the mill
> with an oddly-worded letter, purportedly written by
> the girl, which seemed to allude to a black man.
> The only reason the body was found was because a
> black man who worked as a janitor/handman at the
> mill lead police right to the body, which was in a
> far corner of the basement where there was no light.
> This guy had a history of abusing women, and
> probably was the culprit -- altho eyewitnesses
> stated they'd seen the girl in the company of 2
> white men on Saturday night, and that apparently the
> men were trying to prostitute the girl, who was in
> But for various reasons the police charged the
> manager of the mill, who was Jewish, with the rape
> and murder. This guy was happily married, and there
> was nothing in his background showing violence or
> sexual depravity...but he was the last person known
> to have seen the girl alive (he gave her her
> The trial was a kangaroo court, with anti-semitism
> rampant. The manager was convicted and sentenced to
> hang, but his appeal dragged out for years and
> galvanized the Jewish community nationwide, with
> rallies supporting his appeal being held as far away
> as NYC....
> The manager ended up in the county prison (because
> of threats against his life, the local jail wasn't
> considered safe), and he actually had fairly cushy
> accomodations there, with his own private quarters
> and working as an administrator for the prison
> But just was he was about to be granted a new trial,
> a bunch of good ol' boys from Atlanta -- most of
> whom were politicians or successful business men, or
> related to politicians and successful business men,
> kidnapped the manager from the county prison and
> lynched him, which lead to much hew and cry from the
> Jewish and liberal newspapers elsewhere in the
> But the lynchers were never caught, let alone
> prosecuted -- altho they proudly took photographs of
> themselves smirking as they stood by the body of the
> mill manager hanging from a tree, pictures that were
> published in the local Atlanta newspapers (and
> reprinted in the book that I read).
> So the case was never really solved, altho the
> author of the book I read concludes that the black
> janitor was probably the culprit (the janitor on his
> deathbed 20 years later seemed to admit to it, altho
> he never came right out and said "Yes, I killed that
> little girl")...but no one followed up on the
> accounts of the eyewitnesses who claimed to have
> seen the girl some 8 to 12 hours after she was
> supposedly killed, in the company of 2 well-dressed
> white men who were trying to get her to do something
> (or in the case of the eyewitness who saw her close
> to midnite, apparently already having done, or been
> forced to, have done something) that had her in
> My guess, after having read the book, was that the
> black janitor WAS involved in some way -- he
> obviously knew where the body was -- but that he may
> have been working for the 2 white guys. They may
> have paid the janitor to hook them up with a young
> girl who they thought was willing to "play" -- as I
> said, even tho the papers at the time proclaimed the
> victim as an innocent little girl, investigation
> into her background showed that she came from a
> pretty gritty background and while perhaps not a
> prostitute on the side, she defininitely stepped
> over the boundaries of what was considered proper
> behavior for a young women of the Edwardian age....
> She probably was still a virgin (her undergarments
> were stained with blood that was probably due to her
> hymen being broken), but her social behavior
> probably led some to think that she was not -- so if
> Willie the janitor had been paid to find some girl
> for a pair of white sickos, when this girl showed up
> at the mill where he was working to pick up her
> check, he probably figured she'd be the right one to
> And since no one reported seeing her being abducted
> from the mill, whatever she was told probably made
> her leave willingly, whether alone to go to a
> certain address, or in the company of someone else.
> No one saw her with WIllie, and indeed he had some
> credible alibis/eyewitnesses who either saw him
> working alone in the mill at the time the court
> alleged the girl was murdered, and for later in the
> day/evening when other eyewtnesses claimed to have
> seen the girl elsewhere with some white men. The
> only time that Willie didn't have an alibi was for
> the few hours before he led authorities to the body
> in the mill basement in the wee hours of Sunday
> morning...but because they later decided that she'd
> been killed between noon and 1pm on Saturday, and
> Willie had been seen elsewhere in the building
> cleaning at the time, the authorities decided that
> that cleared him.
> But it was never really clear when the girl had been
> killed -- but when the body was discovered, rigor
> mortis hadn't set in yet, and didn't set in until
> later Sunday morning as various people came to view
> the body at a local funeral parlor (no morgue in
> those days).
> So that suggests a much later time of death, which
> lends credence to the eyewitness accounts of seeing
> the girl on the streets of Atlanta (and in one
> account at the train station in tears) Saturday
> evening and late Saturday night -- a time for which
> the Jewish mill manager had a solid alibi, having
> attended a performance of the Atlantic Philharmonic
> Orchestra in the company of his wife and inlaws and
> quite a number of Atlanta's hoi-polloi who
> remembered seeing him there.
> So someone (or more than one) got away with a
> viciously violent rape and brutal murder, for which
> an innocent man was lynched....
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Muriel Arnold
> Sent: Tue, 20 Dec 2005 09:20:37 -0800
> To: 40Whacks@yahoogroups.com
> Subject: Re: [40Whacks] FW: Top Ten
> MessageHi Laura:
> One very good reason for Hauptmann's innocence was
> the ladder used. There is no way, he being a
> carpenter, would have done such a crappy job on
> constructing, or even using that ladder. I would
> even question the prosecution's theory that they
> proved it came from the attic floor boards.
> If guilty, as the cops claimed, then $15,000 in
> question could have been his share of the blotched
> kidnapping plot. Then again, it could have been his
> friend's share, the one who had left the box for him
> to hold while he returned to Germany. Later,
> learning that he died (tuberculosis?), opened the
> box, seeing the money, decided to start spending it,
> a little at a time, in case his friend's relatives
> learned about it and asked him to send it to them.
> We have to remember that it was in the depth of the
> Great Depression.
> Was Hauptmann a patsy or a co-conspirator? I have
> no idea. You can't even judge by his actions in the
> courtroom. After watching and hearing him as he
> testified, again I'm tempted to side with his being
> innocent. But, if guilty, then like Bridget
> Sullivan, he deserved an Academy Award. I know I
> didn't do it.
> Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to all of you.
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: Laura James
> To: 40Whacks@yahoogroups.com
> Sent: Tuesday, December 20, 2005 9:44 AM
> Subject: RE: [40Whacks] FW: Top Ten
> Hi JT:
> That's a solid list. I'd consider adding:
Find your next car at http://autos.yahoo.ca
Yahoo! Groups Links
Yahoo! Groups Links