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An Unspeakable Crime(Age 14-18) [Library Binding]

Alphin Elaine Marie

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Book Description

Jan. 1 2010
Was an innocent man wrongly accused of murder? On April 26, 1913, thirteen-year-old Mary Phagan planned to meet friends at a parade in Atlanta, Georgia. But first she stopped at the pencil factory where she worked to pick up her paycheck. Mary never left the building alive. A black watchman found Mary's body brutally beaten and raped. Police arrested the watchman, but they weren't satisfied that he was the killer. Then they paid a visit to Leo Frank, the factory's superintendent, who was both a northerner and a Jew. Spurred on by the media frenzy and prejudices of the time, the detectives made Frank their prime suspect, one whose conviction would soothe the city's anger over the death of a young white girl. The prosecution of Leo Frank was front-page news for two years, and Frank's lynching is still one of the most controversial incidents of the twentieth century. It marks a turning point in the history of racial and religious hatred in America, leading directly to the founding of the Anti-Defamation League and to the rebirth of the modern Ku Klux Klan. Relying on primary source documents and painstaking research, award-winning novelist Elaine Alphin tells the true story of justice undone in America.

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Product Details

  • Library Binding: 152 pages
  • Publisher: Lerner Publishing Group; Reprint edition (Jan. 1 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0822589443
  • ISBN-13: 978-0822589440
  • Product Dimensions: 26.1 x 18.7 x 1.6 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 590 g
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #2,396,114 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Amazon.com: 3.5 out of 5 stars  6 reviews
12 of 16 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Another book on the Frank case, but weak on facts Feb. 21 2010
By Allen Koenigsberg - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Library Binding
In this latest book on the Leo Frank Case (152 pages), author Elaine Alphin takes for her title a post-lynching judgment by the Mayor of Atlanta (James Woodward): "a just penalty for an unspeakable crime." But she has recast that harsh approval of Leo's Midnight Ride, and added, "The Prosecution and Persecution of Leo Frank." This is clearly not a volume of subtleties and the reader is thus quickly informed of the writer's sympathies. It is mostly about the trials and tribulations of the accused and there is little (correct) about Mary Phagan herself.

The book is aimed at young people, and Ms. Alphin notes that in all the literature on the case -- despite the abundance of teenagers at so many stages of the events -- there has not up to now been a retelling aimed for that audience. It is clearly written, with fine production values, with a large variety of vintage photographs, and rarely have they been reproduced so well. She is obviously entranced with this "miscarriage of justice" and has traveled widely and visited several of the major Archives - all are cited in the back along with the previous major books, and is so current that the recent PBS-TV Special ('The People v. Leo Frank') is mentioned.

Some of the original material was of a salacious nature, but all is handled here tastefully. The major problem is that even high-schoolers are entitled to an accurate accounting of this iconic case, and that is where this latest publication falls short. The basic narrative of the crime, and its ultimate resolution at the end of the lynchers' rope, strikes our sensibilities to this day, and there are still many who would prefer that an innocent Leo Frank be the prime example of American justice gone wrong. But the Jury, in Georgia's longest trial, heard all of the evidence, and the author seems unaware that the Atlanta newspapers were an excellent source for the day-to-day testimony. As she notes, the stenographic Court Transcript has been lost for some fifty years.

For reasons unknown, Ms. Alphin has Mary Anne Phagan born in Marietta, Georgia and her biological father also dying there. But Mary was born in Florence, Alabama, on June 1, 1899 and her father had died several months before she was born - she was a posthumous child. Fannie Phagan (Alphin wrongly calls her `Frannie' throughout) raised her youngest daughter and siblings as a single parent and did not (re-)marry John Coleman until 1912 - she was essentially raised without a father. When Mary did not return home by 7pm, her step-father would indeed look for her on the evening of April 26, 1913, but the family never "called the police" as is claimed here. They would learn of their daughter's death only after a night of waiting, 5:30 the next morning, from one of Mary's chums.

We would not expect all material to be footnoted in a book like this, but the author (and her readers) would have benefitted from more explanatory Notes at the back. For example, on p. 11, it is claimed that Mary's body showed bitemarks on her shoulder when found. This is rather a unique statement and was not reported at the time - actually, it derives from one book ('To Number Our Days' by Pierre van Paassen) published years later, in 1964, describing a visit by that author to Atlanta in 1922. Van Paassen said these marks had been "x-rayed" and were still preserved in a court folder. But who could (then or now) x-ray such indentations in human flesh? And surely van Paassen's parallel claim (through lawyer Henry Alexander) that Leo Frank did not have a trial to overturn would make his report highly suspect. But Ms. Alphin does not question her sources, simply quoting what seems beneficial on each occasion - Oney's book does the same with this incident (p. 617). Van Paassen would argue that Leo's dental records (which he also says he saw in 1922) did not match the bites in Mary's neck and hence he was innocent of the crime. But this is one man's word at best and does not stand up to even minimal scrutiny.

Although this is (or should be) a case where the devil is in the details, they come thick and fast but are often unverified or wrong. Ms. Alphin states that Leo's father had retired by 1907 due to a railway accident, and that the family had their basic estate of $20,000 as a result of a financial settlement. However, there is no evidence for this claim, and the 1910 Census shows Rudolph Frank still working (as a salesman). Ms. Alphin does not give a source for this "accident" but it was only mentioned once, in a publication in 1947 by Burton Rascoe, who also gave no supporting details. When Rachel Frank (Leo's mother) testified at the trial, she explained her husband's absence by saying that he was too "nervous" to come to Atlanta and was broken down from his work.

Several times, Ms. Alphin refers to Leo and his family as "relatively poor" (but he earned $150 per month as Superintendent of the National Pencil Co.); however, the record shows he had traveled to Europe twice (in 1905 and 1908). Leo's wealthy uncle, Moses Frank, is cited as having fought for the Confederacy, and this factoid is often mentioned in other books on the case, but it is not true and was only introduced (again without details) by one of Leo's lawyers (Reuben Arnold) in October of 1913. Leo would later deny it.

It is claimed that the Seligs were a "high society family" but Lucille's father was at the time a traveling salesman for the West Disinfecting Co., having earlier dealt in various liquor products. On p. 25, Lucille "announced her pregnancy" in the Spring of 1913, but no evidence from that period is offered. This remark apparently derives from Steve Oney's book (p. 85), where the event is instead dated months later to the early Winter of 1913, but leading to a miscarriage (cited Interviews of 1986 and 1998). Oddly, in all the voluminous correspondence between Leo and Lucille (and many other family members), there is not a single reference (oblique or otherwise) to this lost 'offspring' (a tragic result if true). Only 73 years later is this supposed 'miscarriage' mentioned.

When one is truly immersed in a murder case, even decades after the fact, one can look at original documents with a new eye. For example, Ms. Alphin seems to have used some of the unpublished Pinkerton Reports generated by the NPCo.'s hiring of that detective agency. But Oney did so as well, and both report that two men in the factory, Ely Burdett and James Gresham, knew more than they were telling. These two indeed worked at the factory, but never testified; however, their names were actually Earl Burdett and James Graham. In a remarkable coincidence, their fathers were in the Forsyth Street building just minutes before Mary was killed.

I could go on.... It is claimed that the ADL was founded as a result of Leo's lynching in 1915, but the newspaper backing up this assertion (illustrating the caption) is dated two years before, October 1913. Even then, the ADL did not state that it was established because of the crime, the trial, OR the lynching. Standard dates, such as the original Murder Indictment of May 24th (1913) and the lynching of Aug 17 (1915), are mangled and mis-cited.

The Jury had to confront many other details, some of which are omitted here. For example, Newt Lee had been told the day before (by Leo himself) to report early for his watchman's duties on Saturday, 4pm instead of the usual 5. But when Newt dutifully appeared, on time and after confronting a locked door, Leo sent him away, telling him not to remain in the factory, and only come back at 6pm (an hour later than usual).

Having said all of this, can we surmise more accurately than those who came before us, what really happened on Confederate Memorial Day in 1913? Solicitor Dorsey would argue that it was a crime of passion, that Mary stood up for her Southern honor, and that Leo violently reacted to her refusal. Was that scenario indeed the truth? And was Dorsey (and others) driven mainly by anti-Semitism? Even Steven Hertzberg, author of a well-regarded history of the Jews of Atlanta, exculpates him from this charge. Tom Watson's diatribes are mentioned and rightly excoriated, but Watson did not publish anything at all on the case until a year after the crime. And Jim Conley? Alphin makes him out to be a Machiavellian character, intelligent and articulate when he wanted, and folksy and charming at other times. Anyone who has studied the case for a while will surely acknowledge that Conley lied about several of his actions that day, but what was really being concealed? Did Jim bear a greater responsibility than he admitted, or was he instead the sole killer, lurking so close to his boss' office? Why did Leo not permit cross-examination after his own long-courtroom Statement - under Georgia Law, since 1868 (Title VI), it WAS allowed (unsworn), IF the defendant agreed.

It is likely that the case will continue to be debated for a long time, even by anonymous reviewers. But those who argue it and present their best efforts on either side are encouraged to get the details right. First the facts, then the interpretations, not the other way around.
9 of 13 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars An excellent example of how to re-write history to unjustifiably exonerate a serial pedophile July 7 2011
By Mark Cohen - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Library Binding
The Leo Frank Case (1913 to 1915) & it's aftermath, is an epic saga about one of the most sensational & incendiary criminal cases in the annals of early 20th century U.S. legal history. 'An Unspeakable Crime: The Prosecution and Persecution of Leo Frank', authored by children's veteran fiction writer, Elaine Marie Alphin, is supposedly meant to be a 21st century, non-fiction, reliable & accurate retelling of this true crime story, but sadly the book fails miserably to measure up to these presumed intentions. Moreover, this is not a book of subtleties & appears to reveal the author's agenda of incomprehensible maliciousness. For dispassionate scholars & students of law, who have studied the official legal records of the Leo Frank case at an academic level, Elaine Marie Alphin's book is point blank an unmitigated mockery of American legal history.

This book would more accurately be described as a looney racist diatribe directed against the people of Georgia & Southerners in general, falsely accusing them of blood libel, hate crimes & anti-Jewish conspiracies. Even more grotesque, Elaine Marie Alphin suggests that within the context of traditional White racial separatist Southern culture, the collective citizenry are so viciously anti-Semitic, that they knowingly conspired to let a "guilty" 27 year old Blackman go free for the crime of bludgeoning, raping & strangling a White teenage girl, so the public could instead, knowingly frame an "innocent" White Jew from Brooklyn. Elaine Marie Alphin supports this accusation of irrational prejudice with the "logic" that the people of 1913 Georgia feel a "guilty" Negro rapist & murderer, is not worthy enough to pay the price for the crime of defiling, mutilating & garroting a white teenage girl, so an "innocent" Jew had to be chosen instead for a blood sacrifice. Elaine Marie Alphin promotes these claims, despite the fact the consensus amongst Jewish & Gentile historians, is anti-Semitism was virtually non-existent in the South & Jews prospered during the Southern progressive era. The fact Leo Frank was Jewish & married into an established & well respected Southern family of German-Jewish descent, likely helped him significantly more than it hurt him. Moreover, Jewish-Americans were not generally known by the public back then (or now), to commit such conspicuously vicious, sadistic & perverted violent crimes against children, especially involving battery, rape, strangulation & mutilation.

Sadly, this anti-Gentile propaganda hate book is specifically geared for the demographic audience of young adults: teenagers, high school & college students, which means all over the United States, classrooms of children are being falsely indoctrinated & demoralized with this disgustingly deceitful book.

What makes this book so hard to take seriously, is not only the fact Elaine Marie Alphin manipulates the official facts of the case, & fabricates evidence that doesn't stand up to even the most basic fact-checking, but she fails to mention Leo Frank made an astounding admission on the witness that amounted to a murder trial confession.

Leo Frank (1884 - 1915) was a clean cut, well dressed & Ivy League educated German-Jew from Brooklyn, who relocated to Georgia on August 6, 1908, because of an opportunity presented by his wealthy uncle Moses, who had asked his nephew to manage a manufacturing plant in the heart of downtown Atlanta. In 1913, Leo Frank was at the pinnacle of his career as general superintendent of the National Pencil Company, & Atlanta president of the 500 member Jewish fraternal organization known as B'nai B'rith (the organization responsible for founding the ADL, Anti-Defamation League in direct response to Leo Frank's conviction in 1913).

Leo Frank had been employed with the National Pencil Company from Monday, August 10, 1908, until Tuesday, April 29, 1913, when he was arrested on "suspicion" after botching a premeditated plot to frame his Negro nightwatchman for the grizzly murder of Mary Phagan. Before Leo Frank's arrest, he managed over a hundred pre-teen & teenage child laborers, who mostly came from poverty stricken families. The majority of Frank's employees were young girls, some of whom, had to drop out of school in their single digit preteen years, just to help their families make ends meet. This unfortunate reality existed because poverty was rife in the South during its early 20th century transformation from an agrarian economy toward greater industrialization. The child laborers working for Leo Frank, typically worked 10 to 12 hours a day, six days a week, in what we would call today, sweatshop-like conditions. One of those child laborers was 13 year old little Mary Phagan.

Mary Anne Phagan began working for the National Pencil Company in the Spring of 1912, at a meager hourly pay rate of 7 and 4/11 cents an hour (Alphin incorrectly cites Phagan's hourly wage). Phagan's work station was located on the second floor of the National Pencil Company, at the rear section of the building, in the metal department - known colloquially as "the metal room" - in a subsection called the tipping department. Using a knurling machine, Mary Phagan's job was inserting rubber erasers into the small hollow brass tubes attached at the ends of pencils. By April 21, 1913, she had clocked more than 2,550 hours.

On Monday morning, April 21, 1913, Mary Phagan was temporarily laid off (with 4 other girls working in the metal room) by the orders of Leo Frank, because the factory ran-out of brass sheet metal processed to form pencil eraser holders. One of the other girls laid off along with Mary Phagan was 14 year old Monteen Stover, who would unintentionally set off a chain reaction of events, inducing the unequivocal solution to the Mary Phagan murder mystery, becoming revealed at the most infamous trial in Southern history.

On Saturday, April 26, 1913, noontime, Mary Phagan arrived at the National Pencil Company to collect her reduced pay envelope from Leo Frank & find out if the shipment of brass sheet metal had arrived yet, the purpose of the question was to determine whether or not she would have her job back on Monday Morning, April 28, 1913, at 6:30 am. The brass sheet metal was normally stored in a closet under a staircase in the center rear of the metal room.

On the pretext of "seeing whether or not the metal had arrived yet", Leo Frank knew the answer was "no", but told Phagan "I don't know" and then lured her into the metal room to "find out". Using Phagan's uncertain job status as a species of coercion, Leo Frank offered to have sex with her, but she made the fatal mistake of refusing him and tried to get away.

The 5'8" tall Leo Frank exploded in a fit of rage on 4'11" Mary Phagan, pounded her in the face with his fists and slammed her head into the solid iron handle of a bench lathe belonging to his employee Robert P. Barret. Mary Phagan fell to the floor unconscious and Leo Frank, dragged her to the metalroom's bathroom, ripped open her dress from the hem to the crotch, tore open her knitted underwear up to the seam, and savagely raped her, but she woke up from unconsciousness while in the midst of being outraged, crying and pleading for Leo Frank to stop. And so he did, but given the implications if Mary told anyone, Leo Frank got up, and grabbed a 7 foot long and 3/4 inch thick packing rope - one that was hanging from a nail on the wall - and strangled Phagan to death.

In the Old South of 1913, rapists were often violently beaten, castrated without anesthesia and lynched by vigilante mobs, thus given these known circumstances, Leo Frank chose to permanently silence Mary Phagan. However, he made a number of incalculable mistakes that served as a text book example of what not to do when covering up a crime of extreme violence.

What Leo Frank did not know, is that while he was in the metal room, raping and strangling Mary Phagan between 12:05pm and 12:10pm, another little girl that Leo Frank also laid off five days prior, Monteen Stover, had arrived in his business office and waited there to collect her final pay envelope.

After the murder of Mary Phagan, Leo Frank temporarily left the scene of the crime and returned to his office to collect himself. Moments later, Leo Frank stomped on his office floor and whistled to signal his Negro janitor, Jim Conley - who was sitting idly downstairs like a watchdog at the first floor lobby - to come upstairs.

Frank confessed to Conley what happened in the metal room to the little girl that went upstairs, screamed and never went down. At Leo Frank's behest, Conley curiously went back to see what had happened and got a rather shocking surprise. He found a dead girl in front of the bathroom door, her face was beaten, arms and legs were spread eagle, dress and underwear ripped open and a cord was sunk deep into the flesh around her neck.

Leo Frank asked Conley for help to move the corpse from the metal room to the factory basement. Once in the basement, Phagan was dragged face down across a hard dirt floor 140 feet from the cellar elevator shaft, to a location in the rear where garbage was regularly staged before it was incinerated in a large furnace. Afterwards, Conley returned upstairs where Frank gave him $200 on the condition he would stuff Mary Phagan's dead body into the basement furnace and thereby cremate the evidence, but Conley declined. In the fallout of this refusal and Leo Frank taking the $200 back, Conley instead wrote "death notes" in Ebonics. Conley later claimed they were made at the behest of Leo Frank, attempting to frame the murder of Phagan on Newt Lee the Negro nightwatchman. Lee a relatively new employee was scheduled to arrive at the factory in the late afternoon that same day, to start the night time security guard shift at the National Pencil Company. Lee was setup to eventually discover the dead body with the notes incriminating him.

When Newt Lee arrived in the National Pencil Company at his holiday re-scheduled time of 4:00pm, Leo Frank came bustling out of his office, appeared to be frantic, and told Newt Lee he needed to leave the factory for two hours and "have a good time". Newt Lee asked Leo Frank if he could please take a nap in the packing room, because he was tired, but Leo Frank refused and asserted that Lee had to leave the building. Newt Lee left as requested, returned to the factory at 5:55 pm and noticed Leo Frank was nervously fumbling and struggling to put Newt Lee's blank timesheet into the punch clock. The incident seemed out of place, because Newt Lee presumed Leo Frank had five years of experience putting time cards into the punch clock. The significance of why Leo Frank was acting so oddly with Lee's time card and the punch-clock, would be revealed two days later on Monday morning, April 28, 1913.

At 3:15 am in the morning of Sunday, April 27, 1913, during Newt Lee's regular half-hour security rounds throughout the 5 floor building (4 stories and a basement), he went to the segregated "Negro Toilet" in the rear of the basement to "make number 2" and after using the toilet, he stood up and spotted something in the distance, upon approaching it, he discovered the mauled body of a young white girl. Newt Lee hurried upstairs and called the Atlanta Police Station, reaching call officer W. F. Anderson at 3:24 pm. Lee was arrested after the Police arrived at the scene and found the "death notes" next to the cadaver of the unknown little girl. The notes written in Ebonics by Jim Conley accused Newt Lee of the murder. The notes physically described Newt Lee exactly, calling him the long, tall, slim and dark Negro "nightwitch" (misspelling nightwatch by one letter). Newt Lee was indeed a tall, slim and dark complected Negro nightwatchman known colloquially at the factory as the nightwatch.

On Sunday morning, April 27, 1913, Atlanta Police went to the Selig residence on 68 East Georgia Avenue, where Leo Frank was residing with his wife and in-laws. The police noticed Leo Frank appeared nervous, pale, fumbled with his necktie and collar, and kept asking for coffee. Leo Frank began firing off questions at the police officers faster than they could answer him. When the police asked Leo Frank if he knew his employee Mary Phagan, he denied knowing her, even though later it was revealed she had worked for him about a year, on the same floor as his business office, down the hall in the metal room.

The Atlanta police escorted Leo Frank to P.J. Bloomfield's mortuary to identify the body of Mary Phagan, where he vaguely claimed to recognize her, but still maintained not knowing her by name. Then the Atlanta Police took Leo Frank to his second floor business office at the National Pencil Company and asked him to check his log book to see if Mary Phagan had actually come into his office or not to collect her pay. Leo Frank checked his accounting book and said Mary Phagan had arrived in his office at 12:03pm on Saturday, April 26, 1913, received her pay envelope and left.

Moments later Leo Frank pulled out Newt Lee's time card from the punch clock with the Police present, examined the timestamps, and said it had been perfectly punched every half hour from 6:00pm on Saturday, April 26, 1913 to 3:00 am on April 27, 1913 (On the last day of the Coroner's inquest on Thursday, May, 8, 1913, Police Officer W.W. "Boots" Rogers testified to looking over Leo Frank's shoulder as he was examining Newt Lee's timecard and seeing it was indeed punched correctly every half hour).

At 8:00 am on Monday morning, April 28, 1913, Atlanta Police brought Leo Frank to the station house for routine questioning during the critical first 48 hours of the murder investigation. Luther Rosser and Herbert Haas, two expensive high powered Atlanta lawyers, arrived to represent their new client Leo Frank while the police interrogated him.

Leo Frank made a deposition to the police, that Mary Phagan was with him, having arrived inside his business office, "between 12:05 and 12:10pm, maybe 12:07pm" (State's Exhibit B, Leo Frank Trial Brief of Evidence, 1913). Oddly enough, Leo Frank also changed his account of examining Newt Lee's time card, about it being punched perfectly every half hour, and said Newt Lee's time card had 4 missed half-hour punches (Defendant's Exhibit A, Leo Frank Trial Brief of Evidence, 1913), thus giving Newt Lee several hours of unaccounted for time on the night of the Phagan murder. This newfangled evidence was beginning to look really bad for Newt Lee, but it also raised questions of suspicion against Leo Frank, who appeared to be incriminating his nightwatchman. Out of his own volition, Leo Frank stood up, disrobed, suggesting the police examine his body and laundry at his home; finding his body unblemished at the station house and his suit jacket without blood stains at his home, the investigators left and decided to continue pursuing other leads.

While Leo Frank was being interrogated at the Police Station during Monday morning, employees had already arrived at the National Pencil Company to begin their new work week after the holiday-like weekend. Upon arrival, metal room employee, Robert P. Barret, found an unusual tress of hair with dried blood, suspended on the solid iron handle of his bench lathe, while other metal room employees found a 5 inch wide fan shaped blood stain, smeared with powder, located in front of the girls dressing room, adjacent to the metal room bathroom.

Later that same Monday afternoon, after Leo Frank was released at his home, the police questioned a young boy named George W. Epps, he revealed that Mary Phagan had confided in private, that Leo Frank regularly sexually harassing her.

On Tuesday morning, April 29, 1913, at 9:00 am, the police went to Newt Lee's home and entered it using a skeleton key, they found nothing suspicious inside, but outside they discovered a bloody shirt bunched up and concealed at the bottom of Lee's garbage burn barrel in the rear of his back yard. When the police examined the bloody shirt closely, they noticed several things that were particularly odd. First, the shirt didn't look or smell like it had been worn, and second, it was also giving the appearance of having been laundered, this despite being bunched up and smeared with blood. Third, the blood was oddly smeared high up on the armpits on both sides in a contrived manner. It took the unsophisticated Atlanta police about 2 minutes to figure out the shirt was a plant meant to implicate Newt Lee for the Phagan murder. The chain of forensic discoveries began first with the "death notes" accusing the "nightwitch", next the odd time card debacle with Leo Frank over Newt Lee's time punches, forensic discoveries of blood and hair in the metal room, and finally the planted blood-soaked shirt at Newt Lee's shack, all of this gave the impression someone was trying to railroad Newt Lee. Naturally suspicion turned on Leo Frank who was the last known person to admit seeing Mary Phagan alive at the shuttered National Pencil Company on April 26, 1913.

Two hours after later, Leo Frank was taken to the police station, arrested at 11:35am on Tuesday, April 29, 1913, the last day of his freedom and he became the prime suspect along with Newt Lee. The police decided Leo Frank was to be held until the conclusion of the Coroner's Inquest, which began the next day.

The Official Coroner's Inquest:

On Wednesday morning, April 30, 1913, the Fulton County Coroner Paul Donehoo launched an investigation into the murder of Mary Phagan. Six jurymen were selected for the official Coroner's Inquest, they were sworn under oath, and ordered to visit the National Pencil Company for the purpose of examining the crime scenes and study the forensic evidence collected by Police. More than 160 associated witnesses were subpoenaed to testify under oath during the official 9 day Coroner's investigation. Several employees testified against Leo Frank suggesting he had lascivious behavioral tendencies toward some of his female child laborers, others said Leo Frank behaved himself like an upstanding citizen.

On Saturday, May 3, 1913, while the police were interviewing leads at the National Pencil Company, they stumbled upon a 14-year old girl, Monteen Stover, who showed up at the factory with her step mother looking to retrieve her pay envelope, because she had unsuccessfully attempted to do so the week before- on Saturday, April 26, 1913. When the police began questioning Stover, a major breakthrough in the Mary Phagan murder investigation was uncovered.

Monteen Stover told police she went to the National Pencil Company on Saturday, April 26, 1913, at 12:05pm to collect her pay and found Leo Frank's second floor business office completely empty. She went on to say that she waited inside Frank's office for five minutes, until 12:10pm, and left because she thought the factory was deserted. With this startling new information, Atlanta Police detective John R. Black and Pinkerton Detective Harry Scott, approached Leo Frank in his jail cell on Sunday, May 4, 1913, and asked him to confirm whether or not he had been in his office every minute from noon to 12:35pm. Leo Frank responded with an affirmative Yes.

If Monteen Stover was telling the truth, she had just broken Leo Frank's murder alibi, because Leo Frank said on more than one occasion, that he never left his office between noon and 12:35 pm on April 26, 1913, not even to use the bathroom (Atlanta Journal, 1913).

During the last day of the official Coroner's Inquest on Thursday, May 8, 1913, one of the questions the Coroner Paul V. Donehoo asked Leo Frank, was about whether or not he had left his office between noon and 12:25pm on the day of the murder. Leo Frank told the Coroner and his 6-man Jury that he didn't leave his office on that fateful day from noon to 12:25pm, but little did Leo Frank know that his inquisitors already knew about Monteen Stover. At the conclusion of the Coroner's inquest, the 6 man jury and the Coroner, voted unanimously 7 to 0 against Leo Frank, binding him over for murder to the Fulton County Grand Jury.

Leo Frank would not learn about the devastating testimony of Monteen Stover until Saturday, May 10, 1913 when the Atlanta Constitution leaked the story. The significance of that one last uncollected pay envelope left in his moneybox on April 26, 1913, would finally come to a flashback of realization in his consciousness, when he remembered Conley describing another girl going up stairs and coming back down after Mary Phagan arrived.

The Grand Jury:

From May 9, 1913 to May 24, 1913, a Grand jury of 21 men, reviewed the voluminous evidence that had been gathered during the nascent Mary Phagan murder investigation, and heard testimony from a number of witnesses. At the conclusion of the 2 week long investigation, the Grand Jury unanimously voted 21 to 0, indicting Leo Frank of murder. Three of the unanimous voting members of the Grand Jury were Jews, putting serious doubt into the century long accusations the indictment was because of anti-Semitism.

In total, for three and a half months, since his arrest on Tuesday, April 29, 1913, Leo Frank swore to his murder alibi, that he never left his office that fateful noontime period when Mary Phagan came into his office at minutes after noon on April 26, 1913, but ultimately something very unusual happened during the month long Leo Frank trial that began on July 28, 1913.

Monteen Stover testified at the trial about having gone to Leo Frank's second floor business office at the National Pencil Company on April 26, 1913, and looking for him at 12:05pm to collect her pay envelope and not finding him there. Stover went on to say, she waited for five minutes until 12:10pm, and then left because she thought the factory was deserted. The defense never tried to impeach Monteen Stover about coming to collect her pay envelope, because they considered it the truth, based on Leo Frank's accounting books, which indicated she was indeed owed her wages. What was most ironic about Monteen Stover's testimony, is she was a positive character witness for the defense, contrary to 19 child laborer employees who testified Leo Frank's character for lasciviousness was bad.

On August 4, 1913, Jim Conley gave three days of lurid testimony at the trial, describing in detail how Leo Frank entertained prostitutes at the National Pencil Company. Conley told the court, Leo Frank confessed privately to him about assaulting Mary in the metal room, because she wouldn't agree to have sex with him. Conley described going back into the metal room at Leo Frank's request, to see what happened, and found Mary Phagan dead in the bathroom area of the metal room, which was adjacent to Mary Phagan's work station. What was so significant about the bathrooms located in the metal room, is they were the only set of bathrooms existing on the second floor (State's Exhibit A, Defendant's Exhibit 61, Leo Frank Trial Brief of Evidence, 1913).

On Monday, August 18, 1913, Leo Frank mounted the witness stand at 2:15pm, and gave a four hour unsworn statement to the Jury and responded to all of the evidence and accusations against him. Leo Frank refused to be examined or cross examined by defense and prosecution attorneys, but 30 minutes into his statement, at 2:45pm, he suddenly changed the murder alibi he had sworn to for three and a half months, the one where he claimed to have never left his office between noon and half passed noon. Leo Frank gave the court a jaw dropping explanation in response to why Monteen Stover had found his second floor office empty on Saturday, April 26, 1913, between 12:05pm and 12:10pm - Leo Frank told the Judge and Jury he might have "unconsciously" gone to the bathroom in the metal room during this time!

Leo Frank reversing his murder alibi was an astonishingly incriminating admission, because he had formerly made a deposition to the Atlanta police that he was in his office alone between 12:05pm and 12:10pm when Mary Phagan arrived at 12:07pm (State's Exhibit B, Leo Frank Trial Brief of Evidence, 1913). If you had been sitting in the Jury box and paying attention, you would have felt cold shivers down your spine, because of the forensic and circumstantial evidence all pointed to the metal room.

Leo Frank's trial admission entrapped himself beyond escape, because all the 5" wide blood and bloody hair found tangled in the metal room -described by metal employees at the trial- pointed to the metal room as the real scene of the crime, not the basement where Phagan had been dumped. More importantly, Jim Conley said he found Mary Phagan dead in the metal room bathroom area after Leo Frank confessed to assaulting her. Even more startling were the "death notes" found next to Mary Phagan, that described her going to the bathroom for "making water" (urinating), in the only place she could have possibly done so, which was the metal room bathroom, as there was no accessible bathroom on the first floor of the National Pencil Company at the time of the murder and Phagan would not have gone to the rear of the basement to use the segregated "Negro Toilet". Everything came around full circle at the trial when Leo Frank placed himself at the scene of the crime, when the crime occurred, and where the body of Mary Phagan was initially found dead by Jim Conley. The rest is history.

After the testimony portion of the trial ended on August 21, 1913, 4 days of closing arguments were delivered, and it took two easy hours of Jury deliberation. Leo Frank was convicted of murdering Mary Phagan on Monday afternoon, August 25, 1913, and on August 26, 1913, Leo Frank was sentenced to hang by the presiding Judge Leonard Stickland Roan, with the execution date scheduled for October 10, 1913.

Leo Frank appealed to the presiding Judge Leonard Strickland Roan for a new trial, but it was soundly rejected after another month of deliberation. Leo Frank appealed his case to the Georgia Supreme Court asking them for a new trial, but the court's majority decision ruled against him and GA Supreme Court said the evidence against Leo Frank was more than sufficient for a conviction.

On March 7, 1914, Judge Benjamin Hill, having thoroughly sifted the Leo Frank Trial Brief of Evidence, appropriately re-sentenced Leo Frank to hang on his 30th birthday, April 17, 1914. Only mathematical certainty of someones guilt warrants such an execution date.

On March 9, 1914, one of the most widely read daily newspapers in Georgia, the Atlanta Constitution, published an indepth and authorized 'Question and Answers Interview of Leo Frank', where Leo Frank essentially repeated his astonishing August 18, 1913 murder-alibi-reversing trial statement, admitting he had gone to the bathroom in the metal room, to explain why Monteen Stover had found his second floor business office empty on April 26, 1913, between 12:05pm and 12:10pm. The jailhouse admission was considered another murder confession, because the State's prosecution team had built it's case that Leo Frank strangled Mary Phagan in the metal room on April 26, 1913, between 12:05 and 12:10pm, based originally on Leo Frank's stenographed deposition to the Atlanta Police (State's Exhibit B, Monday, April 28, 1913), where Frank stated that Mary Phagan had been with him alone in his office "between 12:05pm and 12:10pm, maybe 12:07pm". Jim Conley also never retracted his trial statement that he found Mary Phagan dead in the metal room (in-front of the metal room's bathroom) at the behest of Leo Frank.

Did Elaine Marie Alphin ever bother to examine State's Exhibit A and Defendant's Exhibit 61? The 3D model and architectural floor plans ratified at the Leo Frank Trial, both reveal that the only bathroom available on the second floor was in the metal room, as there was no other bathroom on the second floor. Isn't it interesting, that the "death notes" describe Mary Phagan going to "make water" (urinate) in the only place she could have gone to use the toilet, which was the second floor metal room? There was no toilet accessible on the first floor, and the one at the rear of the pitch-black basement was for "Negroes Only". Everything kept pointing to the metal room, even the statements by Leo Frank after the trial.

During Leo Frank's court appeals process to the Georgia Supreme Court and United States Supreme Court, between 1913 and 1915, a number of former employees of the National Pencil Company came forward to reveal Leo Frank often sexually preyed upon the pre-teen and teenage child laborers who worked for him between 1908 and 1913. One of the most lurid incidents cited in the Georgia Supreme Court case file on Leo Frank, reveals what Leo Frank did to one of the teenage girls who formerly worked for him. Sometime in 1912, after raping one of his former teenage employees and impregnating her, Leo Frank plunged his teeth so hard and deep into the inner most region of her thy, adjacent to her genitals, that he permanently scarified her. The teenage pregnancy landed the girl in a home for unwed mothers. A dreadful turn of events, considering Leo Frank never had any children with his wife Lucille Selig. Maybe Elaine Marie Alphin can write a sequel to her abominable book about the Leo Frank Case (Publication Date: March 1, 2010), called: 'What ever happened to little baby Leo Max Frank Jr?' Too bad she missed the the opportunity to publish it during the 2012 centennial of this ghoulish incident that occurred back in 1912.

The Georgia Supreme Court case files on Leo Frank, also reveals a criminal conspiracy of threats, manipulation and bribes made by the cash flush Leo Frank legal defense team to former employees of the NPCo, using every illegal and underhanded method to get them to change their incriminating affidavits and testimony they provided at the trial that resulted in the conviction of Leo Frank.

In 1954, Leo Frank's wife, Lucille Selig Frank, had her Last Will and Testament notarized and registered with the local Government of Atlanta, Georgia, in it she requested cremation, instead of being buried in the empty grave site reserved for her to the immediate left of Leo Frank's grave in the Mount Carmel Cemetery, Queens, NY. Steve Oney, writes that Lucille told her family before she passed away, to disburse her ashes at a local park in Atlanta, but a local ordinance forbade it. Lucille was later buried between the head stones of her parents Josephine and Emil, in the Oakland Cemetery, Atlanta, Georgia. If Lucille Selig Frank believed her husband was innocent, she would have requested to her family or in her will to be buried with Leo Frank or at least have some or all of her ashes spread by his grave.

In 1986, the Anti-Defamation League of B'nai B'rith (also known as ADL) founded as a result of the 1913 Leo Frank conviction, was able to get the Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles to grant Leo Frank a Posthumous Pardon, 71 years after his death, but the Tribunal was very specific in stating they were not exonerating him of the murder of Mary Phagan. The Tribunal essentially acknowledged Leo Frank was the murderer of Mary Phagan, by not disturbing the verdict of the Jury, but in keeping with the tenets of popular culture political correctness, they forgave Leo Frank of the crime. Millions of Gentiles - Black and White - were quietly outraged by this highly political pardon, but nothing was said about this silent anger of the citizenry in the media. Today, the pardon remains as a permanent scar of betrayal on the face of Georgia and her citizens.

Leo Frank was a serial pedophile, vicious rapist and malicious strangler. Elaine Marie Alphin, using every deceptive tactic to unjustifiably exonerate Leo Frank in the minds of little boys and girls is an injustice to every child in this world who has been beaten, sexually abused or murdered. Elaine Marie Alphin has written a book with absolutely no integrity, no honor and no honesty in her retelling of the Leo Frank Case. This book should be considered a betrayal of the truth, meant to deceive children and young adults who read it. What would possess a children's book writer to knowingly do such things is incomprehensible and unforgivable. When I think about this book,'An Unspeakable Crime: The Prosecution and Persecution of Leo Frank', written by Elaine Marie Alphin, it reminds me of every pedophile scandal mentioned in the media and all the people who enabled it by either spinning it, ignoring it or pretending it wasn't happening or real.
9 of 14 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars One-Sided, As Usual with this Case July 4 2010
By Robert Chadwick - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Library Binding
The Leo Frank / Mary Phagan case is perhaps one of the most complex true-crime cases ever to present itself for review. Like many books, articles, plays & other treatments of this case since the time of the crime, the emphasis here is placed on the supposed (and certainly some actual) injustices suffered by Leo Frank. However, too little time is given to the victim, Mary Phagan, and just as importantly to the reasons Leo Frank was suspected, arrested and convicted in the first place.

To be sure, no human being should ever be lynched by a vigilante mob, even if such actions are performed in the name of justice. Our system of justice must be the final authority on crime and punishment even though it is sometimes flawed. Nevertheless, there were reasons for the arrest and conviction of Leo Frank that had absolutely nothing to do with the fact that he was Jewish; and it is simply inaccurate to present this case as purely an example of anti-semitism.

Leo Frank's supporters like to focus on Jim Conley and the role he played in the Leo Frank / Mary Phagan drama. He certainly did play a huge role ... possibly a more complex one than is generally acknowledged. However, Leo Frank was indicted by a grand jury composed of twenty-three men ... five of them Jewish ... while Jim Conley was still only a minor blip on the radar of this case. Obviously Jim Conley was not solely responsible for Leo Frank's conviction; but to Frank's supporters, the other evidence is glossed over as if it never existed in the first place.

Whether Leo Frank was actually guilty or innocent is something we will most likely never know for sure. Certainly the Georgia Board of Pardons never saw any convincing evidence to grant a pardon based on the evidence ... old or new. They did eventually grant a posthumous pardon based on the failure of the penal system to protect the rights of the accused while in custody and to "mend old wounds". Without any hidden meaning or agenda, I must say that this action always seemed like simply a way to shut everyone up to me. Since there was no really convincing evidence that would justify a pardon based on innocence, one was found to pardon him just to appease his supporters. After all a person can only be pardoned once.

I would really like to see a book come along written in modern times that lays out this entire case; but this one isn't it. Unfortunately one has to return to accounts written of the case in 1913 and the years immediately after to get a clear understanding of the totality of this crime. Steve Oney came close to writing the perfect modern-day account of this case. As Steve Oney came to believe in Leo Frank's innocence, it's OK for any person to come to the conclusion that Leo Frank may not have been guilty. However, it's not OK to overlook all the evidence against the accused just because he happens to be a member of a minority group.
4 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Compelling History at its Best April 6 2010
A Kid's Review - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Library Binding
As someone from a family who takes history very seriously, I have been familiar with the details of the Leo Frank case for a long time, and I thought it a great pity that no recounting of the case existed for teen readers like me, because so many teens were involved in the trial, so I was excited to see this book coming out. Now that I've read it, I've got to say it exceeded my expectations. Rather than condescending to simplify the information to a young person's level, like so many writersdo, Ms. Alphin elevated the reader to the complexity of the case.

I was really impressed at the quality of original research evident in the book, at the detailed endnote citations, and at the excellent period photographs and newspaper reproductions. These focus the reader's attention on the impact that period media had on the trial and its aftermath, and make you think about how the same is so true today. I think this book will encourage readers to think about the impact that we can have on current events, and teachers should like it because it invites debate and discussion.

So I suppose the early review by the gentleman claiming that this book is weak on facts shouldn't surprise me, as this case is still a hot topic in more places than around our dinner table, especially on holidays when the whole family is together. In the 21st century, one of those places is the internet, and I've seen that this reviewer has a website dedicated to misrepresenting the facts of the case. He similarly misrepresents the book he claims to review here, making it sound as if the material in the book is not footnoted when it is, stating that the author seems unaware that newspapers were an excellent source for the trial, when she consistently cites newspaper sources. And he challenges information such as the Frank miscarriage, which a family interview states. The fact is, anybody can write anything on the internet without having to face the type of fact-checking that a publisher requires before releasing a book such as this, so I've got a lot more faith in the book's sources than his.

Hopefully other teen readers, and teachers who work with teens, will decide for themselves where injustice and responsibility lies. Misrepresentation of facts convicted Leo Frank of Mary Phagan's murder. Fear of challenging those people who stuck with those flawed facts destroyed the appeal process. Blind belief in those flawed facts led to an illegal lynching. As Ms. Alphin makes clear, the reader's judgment is a matter of conscience.
1 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Unspeakable Crime Feb. 7 2011
By Jewish Book World Magazine - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Library Binding
Elaine Alphin's An Unspeakable Crime: The Prosecution and Persecution of Leo Frank, carefully documents the trial and lynching of the Jewish factory superintendent, falsely accused of the 1913 rape and murder of teenager Mary Phagan in Atlanta. The account reads like a Law and Order episode gone terribly wrong. Alphin has clearly researched the trial, the anti-Semitic sentiments in the community, as well as the lies and corruption that ultimately led to Frank being found guilty and later lynched. Her prose is clear and concise. She provides a thorough chronology and back matter, supported by arresting black and white photos, including one of Frank hanging from a tree. This book reads like a mystery. How did Phagan's body end up in the basement? Was an African American worker involved? But this book is also a tragedy. Alphin writes, "Atlanta's Mayor Woodward called Leo's lynching for Mary Phagan's murder `a just penalty for an unspeakable crime'. But was Mary's murder the only unspeakable crime? Wasn't Leo's lynching an unspeakable crime also?"
Leo Frank's story is shocking, but young readers should know about this piece of history. The case revitalized the KKK and prompted the formation of the Anti-Defamation League. It should prompt excellent discussions about prejudice and anti-Semitism in our world today. For grades 8 - adult. Sara Aronson

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