Testimony of Newt Lee

Newt Lee, the night watchman at the National Pencil Factory, discovered the body of Mary Phagan. At one time during the investigation, he was considered a prime suspect.

Examination by Hugh Dorsey

Dorsey:  “When you appeared at the factory to report on afternoons what did you generally do upon going up to the second floor where Mr. Frank’s office is situated?”

Lee: “Say, ‘Howdy, Mr. Frank.’ He usually called, ‘Hello, Newt,’ and if he wants anything he calls me into his office.”

Dorsey: “What did he do when you went to the second floor on Saturday, the 26th?”

Lee:  “He came to the door, rubbing his hands and saying he was sorry I had come so early. I told him I needed sleep and was sorry, too. He said go out in town and have a good time because I needed it.”

Dorsey: “Could you have slept in the factory?”

Lee:  “Yes sir. In the packing room.”

Dorsey: “What did Frank say when you came back?”

Lee:  “I went to the door and told him I was back, and he says, ‘What time is it?’ And I says, ‘It lacks two minutes of 6:00.’ He says, ‘Don’t punch yet, there is a few worked today and I want to change the slip.’

Dorsey: “What did he do then?”

Lee: “Put in a slip for the time clock. It took him twice as long this time than it did the other times I saw him fix it. He fumbled putting it in while I held the lever for him and I think he made some remark about he was not used to putting it in.”

[Lee testifies at this point about his discovery of the body of Mary Phagan early Sunday morning and his unsuccessful attempts to reach Frank at home by phone.]
....

Dorsey: “When did you [next] see Frank?”

Lee: “I saw Mr. Frank Sunday morning at about 7:00 or 8:00. He was coming in the office.”

Dorsey: “How did he look at you?”

Lee: “He looked down on the floor and never spoke to me. He dropped his head down this way.”

Dorsey: “Was any examination made of the time clock?”

Lee: “Boots Rogers, Chief Lanford, Darley, Mr. Frank and I were there when they opened the clock. Mr. Frank opened the clock and said the punches were all right.”

Dorsey: “What did he mean by all right?” 

Lee: “Meant that I hadn’t missed any punches.”

Cross-examination by Luther Rosser:

Rosser: “You said yesterday, that when Frank put on the clock tape that Saturday it took twice as long as it did the other times you saw him do it. Why didn’t you tell the coroner it took twice as long as it did before?”

Lee: “I did tell them it took longer.”

Rosser:  “Then all this record [the transcript of Lee's interview with the coroner] here is wrong?” 

Lee: “I can’t help about those records.”

Rosser: "Were you down in the basement when the police found some notes?”

Lee: “They said something about a book.”

Rosser: “They read you something about the night watch doing it?”

Rosser:  “When he said ‘the night witch,’ didn’t you say, ‘Boss, that’s me?’” 

Lee: “No, sir. I said, ‘Boss, it looks like they are trying to lay it on me.’”



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