A key piece of evidence for me is the handwriting comparison. Although not mentioned in PARADE, two ‘letters’ or ‘death notes’ were left by Mary Phagan’s body. Sample handwriting was obtained from Leo Frank, Newt Lee and Jim Conley. You tell me which matches the ‘death notes’ …

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But, as usual, I am happy to be guided by facts and experts greater than me.

Hugh Dorsey not only put words into witnesses’ mouths but also ensured certain evidence never came to court. A good example of this is when journalist Pierre van Paassen stated in his 1964 memoirs that he saw courthouse records in 1922 containing evidence relating to teeth marks on Mary Phagan’s body.

But the X-ray photos of the teeth marks on her body did not correspond with Leo Frank’s set of teeth of which several photos were included.

Leonard Dinnerstein in The Leo Frank Case said

The new development which stirred Atlanta and those working to save Frank was the announcement, made on October 2, 1914, by William M. Smith, lawyer for Jim Conley, the state’s key witness at the trial, that his own client had murdered Mary Phagan.

Steve Oney, the ultimate authority on the case, concluded …

All I can tell you is that when I was writing the book, I would come into the kitchen at the end of the day and tell my wife that Leo Frank was guilty — especially when I was reading Conley’s testimony. It was so mesmerizing and specific, I’d think: He could not make this up. Then I’d walk into the kitchen the next week and say, “Leo Frank is innocent. This is a completely trumped-up case.”

For example, a year or so after the trial, Conley’s lawyer, William Smith, conducted a study of the “murder notes” and became convinced they were the original composition of his former client. There are other things, too. During the trial, the prosecution said that Frank had assaulted Phagan outside his office on the factory floor and that she’d struck her head against a lathe, where some of her hair had been found. It turned out that the hair did not come from Phagan’s head, and the prosecutor, Hugh Dorsey, knew it and withheld that information from the defence. The key physical evidence from the supposed crime scene was fallacious. To me, that’s incredibly damning.

In the end, though, so much of the prosecution’s case doesn’t hold water. I think you can tell by the end of the book that I’m pretty certain Frank was innocent.

I’m 95 percent certain Conley did it.

And finally, in his book The Jew Accused: Three Anti-Semitic Affairs (Dreyfus, Beilis, Frank) 1894-1915 Albert S. Lindemann wrote

The best evidence now available indicates that the real murderer of Mary Phagan was Jim Conley, perhaps because she, encountering him after she left Frank’s office, refused to give him her pay envelope, and he, in a drunken stupor, killed her to get it.

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