Frank had been wrongfully accused of killing 13-year-old Mary Phagan, who worked at the pencil factory Frank ran. Gov. John M. Slaton commuted Frank two days before the execution. People rioted.
They ran the governor off, and he didn't return for a decade.
The state’s main witness was Jim Conley, a janitor at the National Pencil Company. He said he helped Frank dispose of the girl’s body.
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Frank was transferred from a Fulton County jail to the state prison farm in Milledgeville, where he survived a knife attack from a fellow inmate.
Then, on the night of Aug. 16, the mob came.
In an elaborate plan — cut telephone wires, circuitous routes to lose anyone tailing them, in and out in 30 minutes — they took Frank, handcuffed with his legs tied at the ankles.
From the editor of The AJC | Opinion: Tough decisions withstand time's test
Some say the first plan was to hang him in Marietta Square. They landed on the property of former Cobb sheriff William Frey — namesake of Freys Gin Road.
Frank’s body was found swinging from the limb of a hollow oak in the heart of the thicket adjoining Frey’s ginhouse. No one has been charged with Frank’s murder.
In 1982 on his death bed, 83-year-old Alonzo Mann, a former "office boy" at National Pencil, said Frank was innocent and that he'd seen Conley carrying Phagan's body to the basement of the factory on the day of her death. Conley, who died in 1962, had threatened to kill Mann if he spoke.
Lebow, the Marietta rabbi, said the Anti-Defamation League and other Frank scholars will be at the Aug. 23 event.
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